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Don’t Give Up! 6 March 2014

Posted by Dr Moose in Chaplaincy, Life, Ponderings, University.
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As I wrote yesterday, Lent is now upon us, something I commented on to a number of my regular lunchtime drinks crew today. I know that raising slightly more faith-oriented conversation is something I don’t do often enough, so today was a bit of an experiment. After all most of them have twigged that I’m the Chaplain by now, and I’ve explained the rationale often enough.

The question, “are you giving up anything for Lent this year?” produced an interesting set of replies, all good-natured, which I suspect tells you something about how well-rooted the idea is within contemporary British society, even though I’m not sure how many would actually know what Lent was really about or for. Only one student said she wasn’t a Christian, which in itself was interesting. The chief responses were, “No, I’m not giving anything up”, the substances of sugar and chocolate were named as prime candidates for the chop, and also an expression of what almost looked like mild guilt, “I suppose I should really, shouldn’t I?”

When I proposed that maybe they should make a positive change in taking something different up, rather than giving something nice up, the consensus seemed to be, “I’d never thought of that before”. Dr Moose, it seems, wins on the novelty vote.

But why not? It’s not as if for most folks it’s a religious observance in the first place, but a traditional, customary one. And didn’t Jesus self-description include coming we might have “life in all its fullness”? Too often our attitudes to Lent can focus on surrendering the nice but un-virtuous (or if we are honest, engaging in a 40-day detox under the guise of spiritual discipline), fully expecting to go back to our old ways once Easter has come (all that chocolate at Easter as a reward for a chocolate-free Lent…). Hence posting to my Chaplaincy Twitter feed the following.

#LentTip Don’t Give Up, Take Up! At day’s end, stop, ponder best bits, thank God. Bad bits? Pray for strength to leave them behind. Forgive.

Easily said, I know, but change is so much easier one step at a time.

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