Lent Mathematics

I've never been a Lent guy. Growing up, I thought it was for the Catholic kids. While they were eating fish sticks on Fridays, and giving up soda, I was enjoying my hamburger, drinking a Coke, and thanking God that my parents were Baptist.  

Although some people probably make too big a deal about Lent ( see Matthew 6:16-17), I think the idea of giving up something you enjoy to focus on your connection with Christ is a good thing. Using a personal sacrifice to remind you of His ultimate sacrifice can be meaningful - as long as it's not just a religious ritual. So, I'm going to try it this year. 

As I thought through what I would do, I read what Mark Batterson said about this yesterday

This year, for the first time, I'm going to try it. I'll be subtracting Facebook for 40 days. Facebook has been a really good way to connect with some of my friends and see what they're up to across the globe, but frankly, it has also become a distraction from my ability to meaningfully connect around more important things. 

When I'm studying here at work, and get "writer's block," it is too big a temptation to click over to facebook and check up on what my friends are doing. It's a temptation at stoplights to whip out my iPhone and read my notifications - a temptation my wife loves to make fun of (it has become a Pavlovian reflext: when the light turns red, I reach for my iPhone). 

So, I'm taking facebook off my phone, and resisting the urge to check in. That's what I'm subtracting. 

With the time I save, I'm going to do a different kind of social networking. I've started a "Bible in 90 days" plan, and am going to try to see if I can't even go faster than that. It turns out to be about 15 chapters a day, which is an investment of about 30 minutes. I easily spend that much time on facebook every day. 

See, there's a kudzu effect to things that really aren't that important. If you don't set good boundaries, they overgrow everything. Lent provides a good opportunity for me to trim back some kudzu. 

I'm actually looking forward to the challenge, and would love to have some people run with me, starting today. Honestly, I like the fact that the thing I'm going to sacrifice will burn a little; I think it will help me stay focused on some things that are more important to me. 

5 comments:

Brad Leake said...

"I've never been a Lent guy. Growing up, I thought it was for the Catholic kids. While they were eating fish sticks on Fridays, and giving up soda, I was enjoying my hamburger, drinking a Coke, and thanking God that my parents were Baptist."

Haha. My thoughts exactly.

Mark Hancock said...

Thanks, Chris. I read Mark's blog yesterday, too, and had the same thought - but I didn't go so far as to act on it!

I have recently, though, just outright canceled the data plan on my Blackberry just to keep from getting emails while I'm looking into my wife's eyes or ministering to a College kid.

It's made a real difference. It reminds me of my present-priority, which should be the person sitting right in front of me!

Have a great day.

Brenda Liniger said...

Chris, I was a Lent kid growing up and it was always a challenge to come up with something to do different or to give up for 40 days. One year I actually gave up listening to music in the car and talking on my cell phone in the car, it was supposed to be quiet reflection time and while I did find myself in prayer a lot in my car I also found myself noticing how many bad drivers there are out on the road!

chloeadele said...

so I think I'm going to give up your blog.

yeah right. who am I kidding??!!

WAIT! Can I give up washing the dishes?! Coz that would be sweet!!!

:)

Deren W said...

Wow, Chris, you must read supa-fast. I'm giving up curse words (all kinds, not just four letter). Pray for me!