spirits that speak



This is actually a post that may be more fitting for my other blog, but I haven't posted here in a while.

Every year around this time, the same things occur to me. We are in the season of Lent. Many people celebrate Lent. I'm sure some more sincere than others, but that's not easy to determine. I have had several discussions (sometimes arguments) with people who participate in Lent a certain way. I don't know if I'm way off or not, but most of it doesn't strike me as being meaningful.

I'm not sure if those who I've come across that celebrate the season have done any research, but the common approach to observing Lent in North America is to give something up. That is just the traditional thing to do, regardless of why Lent exists or the reason it began. But, fine, I won't argue with that angle (if you're curious about Lent, you can always do a little research...the internet is your friend).

It's not the common North American approach to observing Lent that I necessarily have qualms with anyway (even though it is seemingly half-hearted). What I normally have difficulties with is what people give up. Almost everyone that I have personally spoken to about what they give up is usually giving up something that isn't that hard for them to do so. For example, someone who talks about the majority of TV programming being unhealthy is often the person who gives up TV for Lent. It would be like me giving up pizza pops. I like pizza pops, but really don't find a craving for them ever.

It's not my intention to be judgemental about people who observe Lent. I'm 100% sure there are those who take it very seriously and part with something that they can barely stand to give up for the very long month-and-a-half, using that time for deep reflection. I'm also sure that many who give up what isn't even that difficult for them also have good intentions. However, I do question exactly how meaningful it is for someone to give up McDonald's when really, even though they eat there once a week on average, they don't like it anyway and only go there because it's on their way home from work.

Lent isn't about proving something to yourself. It's not about finding out how much restraint you have or pushing your own limits for the purposes of self-betterment. If someone were to do even the smallest bit of research on Lent they would find out that it's about far more than just giving something up...or even being hard on themselves when they fail miserably at it. If you won't do it to honor of the meaning it originally had, why bother?


  • I hear what you're saying. I have given up things for Lent, but I have found that most of the time I get too focused on what I gave up and my own "sacrifice" (if I can even call it that!) and I miss the whole point, which I think is about refocusing on Christ. I think the idea of fasting from something to to make more room for the refocusing is noble, but I sometimes find the fasted item becomes more the focus, which just messes the whole thing up for me. I'm starting to lean toward adding things in, rather then giving something up. ie. add in more moments of meditation and reflection. For me that's had more meaning.

    By Blogger agapetos, at 11:51  

  • excellent point, beloved :)

    good post, brother :)

    By Blogger Shiny Beamer, at 15:28  

  • i totally agree with your post; i work with a girl that is catholic, and also a single mother. she gave up shopping. despite the fact that i'm sure she likes to shop, i'm quite sure that with a child, and on our salary, she spends a whole lot extra on herself anyways. is it the act of going to the store to look at things, and wasted time that was given up? it all seems meaningless to me either way. johnny, finding all these posts this morning is practically like Christmas in March, i'm so happy to see all the posts!

    By Blogger pxpaulx, at 08:20  

  • again, glad to see you're reading once in a while. but posting is hard. i've been thinking about expanding the theme of this one even more to include reflections about music i listen to sometimes.

    By Blogger johnny m, at 10:54  

  • i must say i enjoyed the movie reviews you've put up here; i can hear you and dave going back and forth in the comments (i.e. voices in my head!) - that was always fun when dave would rile you up! band/album thoughts would be an awesome addition. i'm all over the map musically these days. we went to the Christian bookstore here a couple weeks ago, and i ordered the new Anberlin CD; i like it quite abit, didn't think i'd like much of the tooth and nail stuff, but alot of it wasn't too bad. though i'm not always as eloquent as dave, i'll be keeping up here as much as i can, hopefully i can access this at work, thats where i do most of my surfing these days!

    By Blogger pxpaulx, at 21:07  

  • oh, as an aside to the previous post, i ordered the cd from tooth and nail after listening to it in the store - i can't stand paying store prices for anything anymore, if i like something i go home and buy it online. i would have just downloaded the album, but tooth and nail stuff is scarce on msn music and they generally have the best prices. i hate apple and itunes and wouldn'tve checked there for it anyways! i got rachel the limited edition SF59 songbook for her birthday - it has lyrics and chording for their entire collection upto their latest album; gives me an excuse to teach her guitar! that was alot more than an aside, wasn't it???

    By Blogger pxpaulx, at 21:11  

  • i'm curious about what you mean by "all over the map". mainly because i've always pegged you as being mainly a "rock" type (with any variations happening within that very broad genre).

    the goal, i guess, in writing also about reflections on music that i listen to, is that the observations will be general enough that they make sense to most people (regardless of the song that inspired them), but specific enough that you can see where the inspiration comes from (wow, apparently i like run-on sentences).

    way to stick it to the "middle" man by buying direct from the label. and it sounds like that sf59 book would be a lot of fun. how's it working for you?

    again, i want to say i'm really glad that you joined the small group of people that reads my blogs. it's always nice to hear from people in comments if i don't normally hear from them by other avenues. and i don't actually know anyone that can be as "eloquent" as dave, since he's been in school for a very long time and has had much practice in the art of PC dialogue (though i think he may be slumming when him and i converse).

    By Blogger johnny m, at 08:57  

  • p.s. paulie, not sure if your G4TechTV channel is the same as ours, but you may want to know that anberlin is going to be on "Attack of the Show" coming up soon. I realize you don't have the channel, but you may want to try and acquire a video of the performance somehow.

    By Blogger johnny m, at 09:38  

  • I'm not THAT into anberlin! maybe i could find it online. we just have basic cable, i dont think we get techtv here anymore anyways (i loved that channel!) i kinda liked Emery too, they're both doing a show downtown on april 7th, and even though going to shows makes me feel very old now, i think i might go just to buy more of their music and take some pictures (we got a new camera and it would be fun to experiment with it)

    We haven't cracked open the SF59 book really yet, it is cool though and i hope to sometime soon. actually, i broke my ankle at the beginning of january, so even though i'm well on my way as far as recovery goes, by the end of a day of work i don't have much energy to do anything else.

    well, i guess if it doesn't have a guitar bass and drums i generally don't listen to it; but, at least its not punk punk punk anymore. i like alittle johnny cash once in awhile (though my collection is slim - american IV covers album and johnny cash christmas! - maybe dave could point me in the direction of where to start appreciating some more Cash). maybe it is the same old, same old. coldplay, blindside, millencolin, alittle weezer have all been making the rotation in my playlists lately (even mxpx once in awhile, i actually liked their last album). its hard to just find something new and listen and buy, even if you want something different, how do you know what? but i've been buying some new stuff lately, its good to change up the daily soundtrack of our lives once in awhile (could that sound any cheesier?)

    on another note i was upset to find i can't access your site online at work, i'd post way more, but this is probably frequent enough anyways! i go on a couple of forums at work;

    www.elementownersclub.com and www.steves-digicams.com

    i love that car too much, and like i said before i got a new cam and have been into that lately, so i post and lurk in the panasonic forum for tips and techniques.

    i picked up a facedown (i think?) records sampler for a buck and it had a couple of comeback kids songs on it; i had no idea cliff is/was (they still a band?) in that band, although i remember you talking about them once or twice. then i saw john paul's name as the producer, that was cool! as soon as the weather is consistently nice, we'll have to come up for a visit, maybe sometime in april. enjoy the post!

    By Blogger pxpaulx, at 20:35  

  • cliff is no longer with comeback kid, but they are still touring the world (i mean that literally). i actually like the figure four songs more. but i do believe that john had a hand in the comeback kid tracks.

    looking forward to seeing you guys again. let me know when the plan becomes a little more solidified...i need my krispy kreme fix!!!

    By Blogger johnny m, at 08:44  

  • i think sometime later in april would be good; Rachel's job isn't going that great at the moment (the company is having a hard time finding funds because its small and their sort of in between products at the moment) - i don't think it'll stop us from coming or anything though. i've got the buy one get one free dozen coupon in our entertainment book and i'll save it for you! mmmmmmm, krispy kreme. my friend Chris from Toronto has ended up in Calgary, so we might take our vacation for the year and head out there for alittle more than a week in late may/early june too. i was wondering how far of a drive calgary was from winnipeg? i would think a day is enough, isn't it? anyways, thats it for now - Rachel wants to go on the Lost (tv show) message boards - her ritual after a new episode!

    By Blogger pxpaulx, at 21:19  

  • wow, it sucks that things aren't going so good with her job. i really hope it goes a lot better.

    looking forward to krispy kreme (must win lottery and open location in winnipeg). they just don't have any donuts that you lose with. i mean, they're all better than anything you can get here.

    as far as calgary goes, 11-12 hours driving is all you should need. a lot of people can do it in 10...but that's if you're really pushing it.

    oh, and tell rachel to call a counselor about her "lost" addiction... ;-)

    By Blogger johnny m, at 09:00  

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