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Showing posts from February, 2012

Warning: Religious Content Ahead.

Lent is upon us, at least for those of us in the variations of the Christian faith that observe the season of preparation for Easter. Many choose to interpret Lent as a season of scourging, of punishing yourself, carrying the woe of humanity's murder of the Christ, etc.

Not me. And not too many Episcopalians anymore, ashes on the forehead notwithstanding.

Lent is a season of reflection, a forty-day period of meditation and self-improvement. If you give something up for Lent, there should be a reason beyond "I'm giving up something for Lent." Otherwise it is a hollow exercise, a public self-flagellation that serves no real purpose. In the traditional Ash Wednesday readings, Jesus tells us not to engage public displays of religion, that it is only the hypocrites who give alms before an audience and expect the applause for their sacrifice.

For that reason alone, Ash Wednesday always made me a little uncomfortable - it's a physical sign of our faith, literally stampe…