This year I tried to give up something for Lent. Two years ago I attempted to give up cussing, but that only lasted half a damn day. This year I took a 40 day fast food and coke embargo. I was a weird experience. I found out how dependent on easy food I am. I'm a stress eater and not having easy access to food was hard. Also, I love coke. Beer, cocktails, slurpies, martinis, cider, shakes, or juice-nothing tastes better than a coke on tap (I don't care what any fool says, coke is better than that piss water Pepsi). I went to In 'n' Out today. It was amazing. Luckily, the 40 days has given me a new appreciation for less heart burn (though I had a lot of red wine yesterday, causing that trend to change).
But after the 40 days, I found that it did not cause me to reflect on the cross. I hate to say this but I am numb to the Christian calender. This may be a flaw, but I find such dogmatic things to be a huge distraction to understanding the Bible. I love the Lord and continue to search meaning in the scriptures and books on theology and biblical interpretation, but I cannot find God within the walls of a church. It has a become a huge distraction. When I was a music major I began to hate music. Thus, I switched to a different degree and found a new love for songwriting. I do not mean to demean those that still find God in church practices. I am not even making a declaration that I will not take part in them. I truly believe that I must be within a community in order to understand God-I am simply distracted by Sunday morning politics. In Karen Osiek's book Beyond Anger, she discusses the importance of feminists within the church as well as those who choose to leave the church. Both make important statements: there is hope within and there is hope from without. I find myself somewhere between there. I believe that the American church can become something amazing, but it is not there yet. I am within my church to, hopefully, find the reasons for those traditions and, also, become part of the change I always whine about.
Lent can be a powerful event, but for now it didn't bring me closer to God-just lowered my belt size. I haven't left my church and do not plan to (and hopefully if any from my congregation read this will not see such vulnerability as a negative). I am simply a guy with Donnie Darko synrdrome-I see something wrong but am paralyzed to change anything because I was shot down when I tried to make such changes.