It’s that time again. Yesterday, some of you were walking around with ash on your head to celebrate the life of Jesus. For others, this is a time for you to judge the stupid who get their pores clogged by some old man in goofy pajamas.
I like the time of Lent. It’s like a second shot at your New Year’s Resolution. I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions or follow Lent. I think they are both reasons to be an asshole the rest of the year. Or a good excuse to be let down. Religion shouldn’t be a failsafe to being a jerk off. You can’t stop cursing and eating meat on Fridays for 6 weeks and go to heaven. I won’t believe that nonsense.
Many people struggle with the concept of faith and all of the church’s nonsensical rules. This is definitely one of the times I tend to agree with those silly atheists. I would actually prefer talking to an atheist over one of these fair weather Christians that go to church 6 times a year. You know the type. Christmas, Easter and a wedding or two. Sometimes I think that Lent is just a marketing tool for the fish monger unions.
I understand the concept of Lent and the whole preparation for Easter thing. I get it. I do. The whole self-denial thing is a great way to teach discipline. Check out my friend Lori’s words on that. She’s a nut-bag who denies herself french fries 364 days of the year, but she gets it.
The kick off of Lent is Ash Wednesday which comes after the less publicized Shrove Tuesday. Why is Shrove Tuesday less popular? Well because that’s the day you are supposed to repent and confess. It’s a day full of self-examination, not just a day to eat pancakes. Never heard of this Shrove Tuesday? It’s okay, you aren’t a barbaric heathen. It’s really Fat Tuesday. Remember now? Yeah. That’s right, you were busy funneling Ciroc out of any orifice other than your mouth to acquire more beads from some frat dudes named Blaine and Landon.
The goofy cross on the head is a symbol of human mortality. You know, in case the whole aging process didn’t work. Human mortality, huh? Makes sense. The cross is the thing that took out that zombie Jew. The ash-on-the-face is to show God that you are ready to repent. You know what else works? Doing the right fucking thing. You know if God is all powerful…he can hear your thoughts, right? He doesn’t need you to get on your knees and say things out loud or in a specific way. Quit being a dummy.
That is really the reason why I like to study all sorts of theology and spirituality. It helps you be a better person. It teaches you tools on how to do the right thing in your life. Some of us do not know how to do the right thing naturally and that doesn’t make us inherently good or bad. Bad people can do great things if they put their mind to it.
This is the internal war that my conscience has on a daily basis. Am I a good person doing bad things or am I just a bad person? I’m not going to ramble off all of my qualifications for being a shitty person but if you know me, you would know that I have earned my bus pass to eternal damnation. I think that is what attracts so many people to religion. The idea of forgiveness. The idea that you can live 78 years as a dirt bag and confess your sins on your death-bed is a pretty solid concept. I would love to be a sociopathic megalomaniac dying a slow death and disclose some secrets to some stranger who apparently forgives you in His stead all the meanwhile I just hedged my bets and had no intention of changing.
That is why this year I am going to actually follow this concept of Lent. However, I am not going to be sacrificing anything. The idea of sacrifice breeds resentment and implies there isn’t enough to go around. I do not want to resent God. That’s like an ant resenting me for burning his family with a magnifying glass. It’s a waste of energy. The Universe is abundant. There is enough for everyone.
That is why I am going to take on noble qualities rather than sacrifice something or give up a bad habit. I may be missing the point here but I practice self-discipline in tons of other ways. I know I would like to live my life doing some good things instead of simply not doing bad things. Just like Denny from “Choke.”
That’s why for the next 6 weeks, I will practice: self-honesty, focus, optimism, bravery, empathy, dedication and passion.
So while you have stopped drinking fizzy drinks for six weeks, I am practicing to be a better person. Who do you think your God will favor?