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The Wagon

March 1, 2007

It’s been a full week since Lent began. I’m still getting the hang of the whole deal; for instance, I was unaware that I could have Sundays to indulge in the thing that I’ve given up. I’m not sure that I’m going to take advantage of the allowance, since I’d already gotten used to the idea that I won’t be drinking at all (communion excepted) until Easter. It would seem like cheating to start having a beer on Sunday.

The primary reason that I decided to participate in Lent this year was that I needed a focusing agent, and badly. My spiritual life had become too wrapped up in repetition and stagnation, my responsibilities at church creating a convenient cover-up for the hollowness within. Giving up something that provides me with a lot of joy forces me to bring Sunday’s message home every day of the week, and in so doing obliges me to find more ways to apply my faith in everyday situations.

There have been a couple of unintended consequences. First, as mentioned earlier, I’ve been inundated with other temptations over the past week. I don’t like the term “spiritual warfare”: to me it carries Jesus Camp-esque connotations of fear and struggle that aren’t Biblical. (If God is who He says He is, and can do what He says He can, then what business to we have confronting some mysterious boogeyman who bears the real responsibility for our own sin?) That notwithstanding, there has been something supernatural going on lately. It’s an almost tangible thing, and one that I’ve not been perfect at resisting. Whether it’s my own sin rearing it’s ugly head, or something else, the rest of Lent promises to be interesting.

The other consequence of giving up drinking has been a sudden influx of cash. I don’t drink to excess when I go out, but a few five or six dollar beers a night will add up pretty quickly if you’re not careful. I think that by the time Easter rolls around, I will have saved enough money that I can afford to get a little something for Vesper. How’s that for leveraging one addictive thing into another?

I hope to give occasional updates on this whole Lent thing over the next month or so. I don’t want it to be a repetitious, “Everyone went out and I drank a Coke. Again.” thing, but if there are any new observations you can count on finding them here. This is a No Moping Zone, even when I can’t have a New Belgium 1554.

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