Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lent and Truitt

The season of Lent is upon us. For seven years now, I have been drawn into this season of the year--a season of intense prayer, fasting, and repentance. For most of life, Easter was more about the Easter bunny than it was about a celebration of the risen Lord. I am from a tradition that mostly downplayed the significance of Easter by claiming that we celebrate the risen Lord every Sunday. Okay...hopefully the power of the Risen Lord is driving us, compelling us, and inviting us every day. But there is something powerful about working our way through a season of repentance, intentional prayer and fasting as we journey toward a day of experiencing the empty tomb.
Throughout my Lenten experiences, I have given up meat (thought I was going to die), cokes (I'm from Texas where coke=sodas), Around the Horn and PTI, sweets, energy drinks, and beef. This year, I am setting aside energy drinks again, as well as one other thing that I won't go into details about.
THE PURPOSE isn't just to give something up--but it is to give something up with a purpose. This season, I am on a quest for humility. Pride is always trying to creep into my thoughts and actions. I want humility to permeate my entire being. I want to be clothed in the humility embrace by Jesus. It is from a humble heart that I want to enter into the pulpit, into relationships, and into every speaking engagement.
Nouwen writes, "The season of Lent, during which winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance, helps us in a special way to cry out for God's mercy."
(If you observe the season of Lent, let me point you to a fabulous resource. It needs to be on your shelf. Henri Nouwen, "Show Me the Way.")
Yesterday, Kayci took Truitt to the doc. He is 26 1/4 inches long and 17 lbs 5 oz.
When I got home from work, Kayci and I tested his speed, agility, and strength.
At 9 months old, he was tested in the 5 yard dash and the dead lift:
1st 5-yard dash--27.4 seconds
2nd--24.3 seconds
(It is hard to keep him going straight)

Dead Lift--5 lbs.


Rick Ross said...

I admire your spiritual discipline.

Dude, my grandson is going to be passing me up sooner than I expected!

Anonymous said...

One of the difficulties growing up in the Church of Christ is how we treated Lent and Easter. It never made sense to me that if the whole Christian world was focused on the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, why shouldn't we? There is something very powerful about giving up something with a purpose-it means putting yourself second.

Anonymous said...

That reminds me of a statement somewhere in Burton Coffman's commentaries, something to the effect that people are always trying to get to heaven by their diet. What is the relationship between energy drinks and humility?

Josh Ross said...

I think you are missing the point of my post and of Lent.

This isn't about a relationship between energy drinks and humility. The fact that I am giving up something that I enjoy on a regular basis (energy drinks) in order to draw me into prayer and reflection is what is important. The purpose of a fast is to give up something for a reason/purpose. I am abstaining in order to trigger intentional thoughts which will lead me to intentional prayer.
That is what I have done.

Josh Ross said...

Anonymous #1--you are right on!

Rick Ross said...

It seems like Jesus thought there was some kind of connection between "diet" and deeper spirituality. He didn't say, "And if you fast" -- He said, "And when you fast."

I think the apostles and the early church saw a connection, too -- since we see times of fasting in the book of Acts.

What was the connection between their fasts and deeper spirituality? My guess is that it varied among those who committed themselves to it. But those who never tried it never found out. They probably just made fun of those who did.

Word of advice, Josh: I had an old preacher friend who said any anonymous comments he got went straight into the garbage.

Anonymous said...

I think giving up something would trigger craving for that particular thing more than intentional thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Anon. # 1

Not to belabor the point, but you remind me of the ancient Israelites. "Everybody else has a king so why can't we." The truth is, Easter started in the second century and Lent in the fourth. In some cultures lent starts after three days of overindulgence, probably patterened after Roman orgies. After that they give up cokes for 40 days. Can you say hypocrite?

Josh Ross said...

Anonymous #1,
I appreciate the history lesson. :) Church buildings didn't exist until the 4th century. Communion wasn't seperated from the table until well into the 2nd and 3rd century. We could go on and on...
Hypocrite? You really want to come on a blog hiding behind the word "anonymous" and call people hypocrites? You think you are proving some point? You think you are making some kind of intellectual case?
If you want to write this kind of stuff, and if you want to start name calling, be a man/woman about it and use your name.

Since you mentioned the name Burton Coffman, I assume that you are either a member at SWC or have ties to Central or SWC. If you have a problem with something I have written, feel free to email me, call me, or talk to me before or after a worship service. Just don't hind behind "anonymous." That is cowardly.

Everyone else that has joined in this blog is concerned with the formative aspect of Lent. There is no denying that people have engaged in fasting (which is biblical) and prayer (which is also biblical) and seeking God (which is also biblical) throughout this season.

Josh Ross said...

The prior post was not meant to anonymous #1, but to the 8th comment. Sorry about that.

Josh Graves said...

This is fun :)

Jeff said...

Great idea to require some form of name.

I never thought about Lent inspiring so much emotion because I've never really thought about Lent. I don't know much about it and don't understand it.

I do think I understand this though. Most of us are a part of a culture who don't take the time to give up anything and squeeze God in when we can. I realize there are many, many people more spiritually minded than me and am so thankful for those people. I am on a path to knowing God more closely and your comment on Lent, while somewhat lost on me because of my lack of understanding, inspires me to consider things I can give up.

Is an energy drink or meat or my Wednesday night Mexican meal really something worthy to give up? I submit that if something that simple can make me think about my Lord while I would normally be doing something else, it is successful. I would further suggest that giving up something that simple is one step on the path of doing what Christ said we would need to do to follow him - give up everything.

For those who would judge that something simple is too small, I would think they must have already given all they have and salute them. I hope to one day join them in giving me all to Christ and encouraging those who are still taking their first steps.

Josh Graves said...

Boss Ross,

Don't waste your time with Anonymous #2. He's not interested in real dialog.

Steve Dye said...

After reading this discussion, I’ve been pondering these questions:

Whose soul is more valuable to Jesus ... Anonymous #1’s or Anonymous #2’s?

Whose soul is more valuable to those of us who claim to imitate Him ... Anonymous #1’s or Anonymous #2’s?

Holy Father, thank You for wasting so much time on my calloused, rebellious, wounded soul. Thank You for looking deep into the broken man that I am and nurturing the holy man that You are creating in me. And thank You for every human who humbly imitates You in their relationships with me even though You, they and I know that I don’t deserve it.

Please grant me the grace to be Jesus to every soul I encounter in this world ... to those who encourage me ... and to those who challenge me in my faith. Teach me to give them the same room to make mistakes and to grow that You give me. Teach me to gently walk with them toward Jesus the way so many continue to walk with me. In Jesus’ name, please let these things be so.

Steve Dye
Breckenridge, Texas