A bit about me when it comes to Lent; When I was younger I attended a Presbyterian church, and if anything there was emphasis on Christmas and Easter but that was it. It is with a heavy heart that I grew up in a community that made catholics, in particular roman catholics, to be outside of faith, the rhetoric of “catholics aren’t Christians” was drilled into my head. For the record, catholics I have met and catholics I have worked along side of me are followers of Christ as well. They have traditions that are different than mine and mine from theirs, but there is so much common ground that it is a shame that some followers of Christ still like to perpetuate an Us versus Them paradigm between denominations.
It was my early 20s I started learning more about denominations outside of the Protestant ones I knew. I delved into Greek Orthodoxy with vigor and learned their traditions and the accounts of the Desert mothers and fathers. I also started learning about Richard Rohr, Henri Nouwen, St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Theresa, Augustine, and other figures within the Roman Catholic tradition and it was a breath of fresh air to work outside the framework that was constructed for me and to start constructing my own framework of faith.
I am a free range follower of Christ, I cannot/will not be aligned with a particular denominations but I pull a little here and there. When I pray I try to keep my hands open and eyes to the sky, I also sometimes do the sign of the cross and I do that with imagery of Christ off the cross as well as Christ on it at times. I burn incense, play some Taizé music, and meditate… And yet through all these diverse traditions, they shape me in my walk of following Christ and living out a life according to what is attributed to what he said and what he did.
During this Lenten season I want to delve more into liturgical traditions, books of prayer, books of spirituality, but also the I want to partake in Atheism for Lent. I’ve given thought as to what I want to give up, and for me it’s giving up my spirit of cynicism/skepticism, because too often I don’t give people the full benefit of the doubt, I get caught up in word games and semantics and it makes for me coming across as very abrasive. I also want to elevate online discussions offline; I realize that with some issues I start or add to via Facebook it stays there and yet so much goodness could come from talking these things out in community and in real life OFFline.
I also want to give back in some fashion and I’m not sure how yet; I have been the “hands and feet of Christ” for a long stretch of my life, but I want to give weight to be his eyes and ears for a while. I’m not looking at this as some kind of a spiritual exercise that I start and stop once Easter gets here, but rather starting a posture that I can take with me for life.
I might be juggling a lot, but I want to practice these things out of servitude and desire not out of obligation. I recognize in my own journey there have been times where my beliefs was built on a foundation of works and a checklist mentality; did I pray today? Check! Did I read the Bible? Check! Did I…and so on, and so forth.
I also want to elevate my blog, because even though I am first-person narrative so much of the time and I strive for honesty in what I write, I want to write more of the darker side of who I am. I don’t write to have a squeaky clean ending, but sometimes I get caught up in nostalgia and how I wished it went and I put a more positive spin on things. They say you’re only as sick as your secrets, and I am at a place where I am able to bare some of those wounds, some of my internal scars without turmoil. Sure it might open me up to some hurt, it might open up some wounds again, but I want to be more real with myself and you the reader. Care to take this journey with me? If we walk this path together, we won’t be alone…