Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lenten Lessons

I gave up Facebook for Lent this year.  I normally don't observe any "fasting" for Lent as I am not Catholic and it certainly wasn't a big tradition in our family.  But since becoming involved in our new Church four years ago, I've started. Last year I gave up cheese, and let me share with you that Easter Brunch last year was delightfully heavy on the cheese.

So far, I've learned two Lenten Lessons.  First, giving up FB was a lot easier than I expected at the beginning.  The reasons I gave up FB is that I spend a lot of time on it during the day, just jumping on and off to see what is going on.  I thought it would be good for me to use that time doing other activities.  What I've ended up using that time for is Twitter, so it's not really a time savings.

However, after a few days, I realized that what I really missed about FB was hearing how everyone was doing.  I thought I'd miss the feedback I receive on my status updates (likes, comments, behind the scenes emails), and trust me, on Twitter I am getting NONE OF THAT!  It's like throwing out bon mots to an empty forest, where trees are falling left and right but no one is responding to my tweets.

Instead, what I really miss is hearing what everyone else is doing.  What would happen if someone had a birthday and I didn't get to tell them Happy Birthday.  What about X's job?  Y's mom who is sick?  Z's relationship?  What funny or sad or interesting things am I missing from my friends.  I feel LONELY but not because no one is paying attention to me, but because I don't get to pay attention to them.  (((frowny face))

The second lesson I've learned is lesson is FEAST DAY!!!  Lent represents the 40 days Jesus fasted in the wilderness (I believe).  If we include all the Sundays from Mardis Gras to Easter, it's actually 46 days.  So Sunday is a feast day in which we get to enjoy that which we've given up. WOOHOO!  I did hop onto FB as soon as I got home from Church last Sunday to feast on my friends' status updates.

The real lesson, however, comes from my realization that I always think that God(dess) is much more severe and strict that s/he really is.  Richard Rohr says that if we would call the police on a neighbor who treated his/her children as severely and with so much punishment as we think God does, we need to rethink our understanding of God and his/her relationship with his/her children.

A Feast day!  Of course!  Forgiveness and sacrifice and openness to learning on a journey. How wonderful is that?

I don't like to talk about my spirituality on my blog, even though it is very important to me.  The main reason is that many Christians in their effort to be "Christ like" can be discriminatory and sometimes even hateful. (Or as we say in the south, they can act ugly.)  And sometimes by focusing on the goal of getting to heaven, they forget about the really important work of creating peace and justice right now on this earth.

My God isn't like that.  And I am happy to have found a church that believes in and encourages diversity in all forms (open to all and closed to none); we have important and active LGBT members of our church and it  was honestly this that made clear this was the church for us.

Our church also fully expects that there will be conflict between members as we all figure out our different beliefs in God and Christianity.  The local newspaper calls our church "liberal," which I think is simplistic.  We are definitely not conservative; there were lots of Obama stickers around our church on any Sunday in the last 5 years. But there are plenty of Republicans, libertarians, and even Tea Party folks sitting in the pews and working at the Room In the Inn with the Democrats in our church.  And even though the woman who started Planned Parenthood in our city is a founding member, there are plenty of other choices among members, also.

I like our church a lot. I would like to talk about it more, without always having to add the caveat that we are different than other churches and it is actually kind of a cool place to hang out and grow and do right in this world.  So there.  Caveat added.  I will link back to this post again should I ever need/want to discuss my spirituality.

Until then, THREE DAYS TO FEAST DAY, BABY!!!!  I will also have a glass of wine.  ;-)

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