I don’t observe Lent because
1- It suggests that real repentance need only take place for a short period of time before Easter.
2- It smells like a bit of ‘works righteousness’ and more importantly isn’t even scriptural.
3- Those who observe it seem to enjoy the days leading up to it far more than they appreciate Lent itself. As though the only reason to observe Lent is so that they can become thoroughly fleshly during Fat Tuesday.
4- Those who observe Lent remind me of the Prius driving, Tree Hugging, PETA joining, Mac owning smug set that has an awfully good time telling others how superior they are because they drive a Prius and hug trees and love all creatures and use a Mac and observe Lent.
5- But most of all, I don’t like Lent because it’s just downright silly to think that giving up chocolate or your iPod or your favorite dish or an hour of comfort make any sort of substantive, lasting, theological difference. I’ve never known anyone who, after Lent, was any different than they were before Lent. It’s simply, when you boil it down to its true essence, an opportunity for people to feel better about themselves. As though Easter, the climax and denouement of Lent, were about you feeling better about yourself.
UPDATE: Gee people, calm down. Some of you Lent-ians are acting like I’ve killed a baby or put a crucifix in a bottle of urine and called it art. I’ve not. I’ve merely stated that I don’t care for a particular practice observed by some segments of Christianity. I doubt you’d be as upset if I said I didn’t like bunnies at Easter (which I don’t, by the way). So your rancor leads me to wonder- why get all bent in defensiveness for a practice that has NO biblical foundation? But perhaps since it has no biblical authorization so you feel a special need to specially plead for it.
UPDATE II: You know, you Lent-ian’s sure are a nasty lot. No post has generated as much hate mail as this one. You guys obviously don’t take the Lenten notion of ‘penance’ as seriously as you would like to believe. You can stop sending your hate mail. It certainly hasn’t made me change my mind about your little observance. In fact, it’s reinforced my belief that Lent is simply an opportunity, for many, to mask their hypocrisy with a splattering of ash and a sense of ‘I observe Lent, I’m special’ ness. So, Doug and ‘halden’ and the other hatemongers of lentianity, enjoy your 40 days of spiritual growth. You clearly need it.
UPDATE III: I’ve posted Calvin’s observations on the subject of Lent. So, Doug, ‘Halden’, go ahead, call Calvin a moron too.