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Giving things up for Lent?

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:19 AM   #1
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Default Giving things up for Lent?

Is anyone giving anything up for Lent?

I'm living in a Catholic country at the moment, where all my friends (even the non-practising Catholics) are giving up something for Lent. I feel like a massive hypocrite for even considering joining a religious ritual as an atheist, and on a more practical level, I'm not sure if I might be overloading myself. Giving up sugar and sweeteners as part of my diet plan, and then something else (alcohol!) for Lent is quite a lot to commit to... However, I always go off plan when I drink, and I drink every weekend night I see my friends. It would be good for me...

Is anyone giving something up for Lent as well as following the South Beach diet?

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:22 AM   #2
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I didnt even know what Lent was? But i think..if i were to equate it to my belief as a Christian(pentecostal charasmatic) then that would be equal to "fasting"..to abstain or to give up something in order to purge your life and get closer to God...is that about right?? do i have the right idea? Cause people who fast give up everything from junk food to bread to carbs..to dessert..to tv..to drinking..ect...
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:04 AM   #3
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I didnt even know what Lent was? But i think..if i were to equate it to my belief as a Christian(pentecostal charasmatic) then that would be equal to "fasting"..to abstain or to give up something in order to purge your life and get closer to God...is that about right?? do i have the right idea? Cause people who fast give up everything from junk food to bread to carbs..to dessert..to tv..to drinking..ect...
Hi sorry, Lent is the period between Ash Wednesday (this coming Wednesday) and Easter. Maybe it is a European thing? Traditionally Sundays are not considered part of Lent. I'm not too sure about the religious connotations, but the majority of my friends see it as a social tradition.

Yep, you're completely right - giving something up as a form of penance is the idea. I thought I might jump on the bandwagon and give up alcohol, but I'm a bit hesitant about overloading myself. Are you participating?
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:55 AM   #4
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Lent is a Christian Tradition of prayer and fasting 40 days before Easter. The famous Mardi Gras in New Orleans and other cities is the last big celebration just before Lent starts.
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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Default I'm not catholic either

But have always used the time frame of lent to work on self improvements. While I am Christian, this is more of a personal decision. I'm very goal oriented and the six weeks of lent is the perfect time frame. Sometimes i give things up and sometimes like this year I add things in. For me it is really about adjusting the real life me to the me I strive to be.
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:13 AM   #6
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Claire -

As a Christian that practices the tradition of giving something up for Lent, I can tell you that the purpose of it (at least as I was raised) is to show your dedication and commitment to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by giving up something you enjoy from Ash Wednesday (when Jesus retreated into the wilderness to fast) and Easter (when Jesus rose from the dead after dying for the sins of the world.) Kind of like a "Hey, you died for me, I can give up alcohol for you for a month and a half."

My question to you if you choose to follow this tradition is: Why are you doing it? If you're a self-proclaimed Athiest, I don't really see the point, unless you are just trying to appease those around you. However, it also is a personal choice whether or not to follow this tradition, and at least in the States, isn't something we go around holding people accountable for. If you're Catholic here and don't give something up (as my fiance chooses not to) we don't beat you over the head until you give something up.

It's a time for self-reflection and dedication to Christ. IMO, if you're Athiest, I don't think you really need to follow this tradition, no matter what the country you live in dictates.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:55 PM   #7
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Claire -

As a Christian that practices the tradition of giving something up for Lent, I can tell you that the purpose of it (at least as I was raised) is to show your dedication and commitment to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by giving up something you enjoy from Ash Wednesday (when Jesus retreated into the wilderness to fast) and Easter (when Jesus rose from the dead after dying for the sins of the world.) Kind of like a "Hey, you died for me, I can give up alcohol for you for a month and a half."

My question to you if you choose to follow this tradition is: Why are you doing it? If you're a self-proclaimed Athiest, I don't really see the point, unless you are just trying to appease those around you. However, it also is a personal choice whether or not to follow this tradition, and at least in the States, isn't something we go around holding people accountable for. If you're Catholic here and don't give something up (as my fiance chooses not to) we don't beat you over the head until you give something up.

It's a time for self-reflection and dedication to Christ. IMO, if you're Athiest, I don't think you really need to follow this tradition, no matter what the country you live in dictates.
Sorry? Were you talking to me? I dont proclaim to be an athiest? or have i misunderstood and you were talking about in general? I am a Christian(raised pentecostal-charasmatic growing up and still follow it) and we do 40 days of prayer..but for the fasting part, thats all a personal decision and usually its food..or a type of fast..and in this case..food is not a type of fast i do when i do feel called to fast... But when i do..its personal and it will mean somthing to me..but ya..never heard of "lent" before.. is it european? and i dont know much about catholocism either???
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:15 PM   #8
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Weezle was referring to the OP, not you, Heather. Lent doesn't have to be fasting - it can be taking up something, like drinking more water!
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:36 PM   #9
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Portahardy, I assume you live in North America. Have you never heard of Good Friday or Easter ? Lent is not just a European tradition. I have lived my entire life in the US amd am Presbyterian but have attended other Protestant Churches , they are all familiar with Lent but may observe it in different ways.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:50 PM   #10
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Claire, I'm not on SBD, but I wanted to add a comment to your thread.
I'm a lapsed Catholic, but last year I gave up alcohol for lent after talking to a friend who was giving up coffee for lent. It was a spur of the moment decision made the day before lent, but it felt right to me so that's what I did. If you want to join the hundreds of thousands of people observing lent, why not?
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:53 PM   #11
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I recently joined a new episcopal church that fairly strictly observes Lent and I have been thinking about what I was going to give up. The idea is to give up something that you are attached to (something that may separate you from God - it could be a food or drink you are compulsive about, or it could be an emotion or attitude like anger, resentment) and take the 40 days to connect more deeply with God as you do the difficult work associated with giving up something you are attached to. Even if you are not a practicing Christian you can view the Lenten period as a period of spiritual or emotional reflection. We all retreat into bad habits as a way of shielding ourselves from something. If you give up one of those habits, you will struggle, and it is all about being present to that struggle rather than taking cover in the bad habit.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:13 PM   #12
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Portahardy, I assume you live in North America. Have you never heard of Good Friday or Easter ? Lent is not just a European tradition. I have lived my entire life in the US amd am Presbyterian but have attended other Protestant Churches , they are all familiar with Lent but may observe it in different ways.
I suspect the tradition of observing Lent has waned for recent generations. I'm about the same age as PHG, and, although I've heard of Lent (usually in movies set c.1960) there's more information about it in this thread than I've been in exposed to in the last 24 years of my life.
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:05 PM   #13
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I was raised by a family that's half Catholic, and I'm familiar with Lent. I usually give something up even as a non-Catholic, as I like a challenge. I don't do it for the 'right' reasons, according to some, but it works for me. My boyfriend is from a very Catholic country where the entire week ('semana santa' or holy week) preceding Easter involves daily church, parades, marches, prayer, and other such traditions, but had never heard of Lent until I asked him in 2005 what he was giving up. It depends on local culture, and at least in my observation has been a purely Catholic phenomenon. Also note he is a devout practicing Catholic. There are crucifixes, images of Mary, and rosaries all over our house but he had never heard of Lent or Fat Tuesday.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:08 PM   #14
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RMP, I'm so confused by what you say. How can he never have heard of Lent if he is a practicing Catholic? Is he from a Latin American country (not that it is any of my business) or some other place sort of outside of the 'Catholic' North American/European mainstream? I have never heard of a Catholic who practices in America who had not heard of Lent.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:10 PM   #15
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LOL! Yes, he is. A rural town in the state of Jalisco, in Mexico. (I usually refrain from bringing up his nationality due to the widespread prejudice in today's society... You would be amazed at the way he is treated because he has a tan and an accent. This seems like a safe enough group of chicks though!) As odd as it sounds, he had never heard of it. I had to explain to him how the whole thing went!!!

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