Well, it’s that time of year again.
TIme to scramble to find something to give up for Lent because you forgot Lent started today until you opened up Facebook and saw everyone’s posts about what they were giving up.
Have no fear. I’m here to help.
For the third year in a row, here is my Top 10 list of things to give up for Lent this year….
10. Healthy Eating
Lent is traditionally a time of fasting. Many modern Christians have put a spin on that and turned it into a time of de facto dieting, giving up everything from sodas to chocolate to fast food. Well, I say let’s put a spin on things again and give up healthy eating for Lent. Embrace your inner child for the next 40 days and consume all the junk food and culinary decadence you possibly can. Eat ice cream for breakfast. Go to McDonald’s three times a day. Don’t just eat a slice of pizza, eat the whole thing. After all, didn’t Jesus say unless you become like little children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven?
9. Coffee Enemas
This is a real thing. Seriously. I didn’t believe it either. I knew colon cleansing was a thing, I just didn’t know coffee could be part of that equation. Since most of us probably ingest our Starbucks in the proper hole, let this Lent option be a ministry opportunity. If you know someone addicted to coffee enemas, suspect you know someone who is addicted to coffee enemas, or just want to embarrass a close friend or family member in public, take the time over the next 40 days to talk to them about their addiction. Put your hand on their shoulder and let them know you’re there for them….just do it loud enough so everyone around can hear, ’cause, you know, accountability and stuff. Offer to pray for them. And then take them down to Starbucks and show them how coffee is meant to be consumed. Just keep an eye on them while you’re there. Addiction is a tough thing to break. You don’t want to find yourself embarrassed when your friend has dropped their pants in the middle of the store and is trying to shove their latte up where the sun don’t shine.
8. Ken Ham
Speaking of things that are lodged in our system, this Lent it’s time to cleanse ourselves of Ken Ham. You know Ken Ham. He’s the Austrialian guy who runs the Creation Museum in Kentucky and insists that people once domesticated velociraptors. Look, we all loved Jurassic Park and, sure, it would be awesome if we could have pet dinosaurs, but for the sake of Christian dignity, can we please stop pretending that a random guy from Australia with absolutely no scientific training whatsoever knows more than the entire scientific community? Seriously, God won’t be mad if you decide to “believe” in evolution for Lent. After all, He invented it.
7. Dating Taylor Swift
Now, you may not think this one affects you, but give it time. At the rate she’s going Taylor Swift will have dated and broken up with everyone on the planet by the end of Lent. Which means you need to prepare yourself now. She’s gonna come along your way sometime in the next forty days, sing you a song, and try to sweet talk you into a date. But you must resist! And the only way to keep yourself from being turned into her next number one single is to decide now that you’re giving up dating Taylor Swift for Lent before it’s too late!
Maybe this is just me, but I’m tired of winter. My house is still buried under 2 feet of snow and I haven’t been able to get warm since September. Besides, baseball’s Spring Training has officially started, which means spring itself is just around the corner, which means summer isn’t that far off. So, if you’re like me and you’re tired of all the cold, then fight back against the cold hard grip of Mother Nature and give up winter for Lent. Put on some shorts, wear flip flops to work, find somewhere and go for a swim. Sure, it may technically still be cold outside, but as they say in show business “you gotta fake it till you make it.”
5. Social Taboos
You may think you’re free, but your not. Our lives are enslaved by unspoken rules forced upon us by an oppressive society. So, this Lent say “no” to social taboos and “yes” to freedom! Frustrated by that awkward silence in the elevator? Strike up an equally awkward conversation with the stranger next to you. Tired of holding in that fart in public? Be bold and let it go. Annoyed that you’re expected to get dressed to go out in public? Live every day of Lent like you’re going to Wal-Mart and stop bothering yourself with insignificant things like combing your hair, putting on deodorant, or wearing pants. Christianity is about freedom, so this Lent embrace the freedom you have in Christ.
4. Believing Everything You Read On The Internet
Maybe you’re thinking this one is just for your parents, and maybe it is. But if your Facebook wall is anything like mine, it’s filled with people freaking out over the most absurd news stories, “facts,” and memes. So this Lent, let’s have parents and children unite together and stop believing every ridiculous thing you read on the internet. That Facebook post you read about some horrible thing the government is doing? Not true. That article someone forwarded you from a website you’ve never heard of about the evils of the medical community? Not true. That email you go promised you riches? Well, that one’s real, you’ll just need to send that money you were asked to send to me, not the Nigerian prince.
3. Giving Up Giving Up Facebook
Today on Facebook you’re gonna see a lot of people announce they’re giving up Facebook for Lent. Don’t fall for it. They’ll be back. They always come back. As my wife likes to say, “Giving up Facebook is the adult temper tantrum.” They may try to hide their attempt to be cool under the guise of devoting more time to God for Lent, but don’t be fooled. It’ll only last a few days, maybe a week. So, turn the tables on them. Show them how cool you are and give up giving up Facebook for Lent. Spend so much time of Facebook that everything else in your life falls apart. Sure, you may have nothing left in 40 days, but at least you’ll have the pride of knowing you stuck to your commitment while everyone else caved and went back to Facebook after just a few days.
2. The Gospel Coalition
This one is as much for me as it is for you. You know that crazy uncle everybody has who doesn’t have a filter and says whatever pops in his head no matter how awful or ridiculous it may be, and then somehow blames you for not having thick enough skin and getting upset about what he said? Well, that’s how a lot of us feel about The Gospel Coalition. Now, you may love it. You may think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. But for the sake of Christian unity and sanity let’s all agree to ignore them for the next 40 days. That way we could at least have the possibility of talking about the gospel as if it wasn’t the sole property of a bunch of middle-class Reformed white guys. And who knows, if we all give up The Gospel Coalition for Lent, then maybe by the end of it we’ll all be able to come together around the same table and agree…..that Jesus thinks women are people too.
1. Being Pope
Sure, there’s only one guy in the world who can give this up for Lent and he already has. So kudos to Benedict for thinking up the greatest thing to give up for Lent ever in the history of giving up stuff for Lent…..on the other hand, if he’s not going to be pope, someone needs to be. Which means there’s an opportunity for you to get in on this action. Apparently all that’s required for someone to be elected pope is that they be a baptized member (male, sorry ladies) of the Roman Catholic Church. So, if you’re not Catholic already go ahead and get yourself baptized. Once baptized, or if you already are, gather around a few close friends and hold your own conclave. Make sure they elect you pope. Once elected, throw on a cool hat and a sweet robe, after all you’ve gotta enjoy it for a little bit, I mean you’re the pope after all. Then, when your friends least expect it, but before midnight tonight because all this has to happen before midnight tonight to count, announce your resignation. But make sure you post it to Facebook! After all, if all your Facebook friends don’t know what you’re giving up for Lent, it doesn’t count.
Grace and peace,