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Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

Buzzfeed has now managed to create a quiz for everything.

Not only can you find out what city you’re supposed to live in or what career path you should follow (that quiz was actually more helpful than my high school guidance counselor), but you can also find out what characters you are – everything from Scandal to Biblical heroines.

abigail

I got Abigail. Who I’ve hardly heard of.

And, on an even more timely note, there’s also a quiz to tell you what you should give up for Lent. Because these kinds of decisions are just so hard to make on your own.

I’m a sucker for quizzes and gross generalizations, but even I think that maybe Buzzfeed is going a little bit too far.

That said, I took the Lent quiz (because once again I’ve left my Lenten decision until the last minute) and discovered that Buzzfeed thinks I should give up television.

According to the quiz:

No one pops more culture than you. You’re a trendsetter when it comes to taste, but this Lent is an awesome opportunity to open up to some new challenges. Turn off the telly and put yourself out there!

Let me stop you right there. This result is about as wrong as when you told me I was Olivia Pope. (I wish.)

Olivia-Pope

As if I could wear that much white and not spill on it

I don’t think trendsetters go to bed at 9pm or spend their weekends at home, in the suburbs, reading Jack Reacher novels. (For that matter, neither does Olivia Pope.)

And all this culture that I’m popping – does that include watching Jeopardy and NCIS? Because, if that’s the case, maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m a pop culture maven.

It’s far more likely, though, that these quiz results are skewed – or just not very scientific in the first place. Shocking, I know, but I’m not sure how my favorite fruit is going to predict what I should give up for 40 days.

Which means that, once again, I have to make this decision on my own. And, once again, I will likely vote to give up nothing.

My Lent give-ups have run the gamut in the past, from TV to gossiping to cursing to chocolate to diet coke to alcohol. The diet coke ban has become permanent, the alcohol has been on hold for the past 8 months, and, at the risk of perpetuating a stereotype, don’t even think about taking away my chocolate when I’m four weeks out from having a baby.

So this year, like last year, I will focus on giving. Obviously, I won’t be going to Nepal again, but I will focus on the activities that I’m already involved in – giving my time and my attention and support to causes that I love.

That’s not to say I’ll never give up something tangible again. And there might come a time that I need a hiatus from TV. But for right now, this focus on giving is the best way for me to celebrate the season.

Take that, Buzzfeed.

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This may be the first Lenten season I can remember that I’m not actively giving something up.

I thought about it. I reflected on past years, giving up swearing, M&Ms, diet coke, and alcohol – all of which were both challenging and rewarding.

I thought about giving up something food-related again…and then realized that we’ll be in Nepal in two weeks, where I won’t be eating any of my regular foods anyway.

I considered giving up TV or social media…but again, it would really just be for the two weeks before we leave. We won’t be watching TV or obsessively scanning Facebook in Nepal.

I toyed with giving up other things, but kept coming back to the same conclusion: it would really only be my choice for two weeks, and then it would become a necessity for my current living situation.

So this year, I’m giving up giving up.

This year, I’ll spend two weeks reflecting on the Lenten season while in my comfort zone, and the final four weeks will be spent halfway around the world.

I can only imagine that the time in Nepal will teach me more about the true meaning of the season than a lack of diet coke or alcohol ever did. And maybe it will be the start of a new tradition.

Maybe instead of giving up, I’ll just start giving.

And this year will be the first step.

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Last week, with Lent just around the corner (today), BNF and I were discussing last year’s sacrifice: Diet Coke.

You’re not going to do that again, right?” he asked me. Absolutely not. It was a literal headache for me, and I’m sure I wasn’t too pleasant for him to deal with.

But that still left the Lent options wide open for this year.

What about cheese?” I suggested.

Why are you punishing yourself?!”

The point is fair. I do love cheese. But I also haven’t been eating a whole lot of it while on Weight Watchers, so it seems silly to deliberately give it up.

And then…”How about alcohol?”

BNF suggested it, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t think that I’d take him seriously.

I wasn’t sure about it either at first.

My first thought was whether or not I actually still drink enough for it to be considered a sacrifice. Let’s be honest, I may be 26, but I don’t go out like a 26-year-old. Frankly, I rarely go out at all.

And then one recent happy hour with friends happened and I realized that just because I don’t go out often, doesn’t mean I don’t go out (too) hard. And that this particular Lenten sacrifice is probably long overdue.

Side note: Not true. I did briefly consider the fact that Lent falls over St. Patrick’s Day, I just decided that it’s one holiday I’m willing to miss out on.

I half-assed it once in college. I gave up beer for the 40 days, but ended up playing beirut (and other drinking games) with jungle juice. That didn’t turn out well for anyone.

So this year, I’m all in. No alcohol until Easter (April 8th).

I’ll still go out (as often as I do now), but I suspect that my tab will be lower and my memories less hazy for the next month and a half.

And that? Not such a bad tradeoff.

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…of Lent, that is.

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow, and I’ll begin once more the time-honored tradition of giving something up. I know that there’s a general feeling of, “well, giving up a particular food, etc. isn’t going to make me a better person,” and I get that. But one of the main points of Lent, as I understand it, is sacrifice. And what counts as a sacrifice to you, or what will make an impact on you, is a personal decision.

That said, I’ve decided this year to give up something new. It may not sound like much, but it’s kind of a big deal to me.

Last year I wrote:

While talking to my mom about it yesterday, I mentioned trying to give up Diet Coke and she immediately looked worried. “But, won’t you get a headache without your caffeine in the morning? What will you have instead?” And it’s true. I don’t like coffee; I get bored with tea. Diet Coke is what gets me going. (In fact, I have one on my desk at the moment. So, I guess I won’t be giving that up…)

This year I’m done rationalizing.

I drink Diet Coke like it’s water. I have one every morning, like coffee, and usually another one (or two) throughout the course of the day. Particularly during classes.

But not after today.

 

Goodbye, my friend

I realize that terming this a sacrifice may seem extreme. But think about something that you have or do every day, something that’s part of your routine. Now think about stopping cold turkey. I can’t imagine that it’s easy – and I don’t think it’s supposed to be.

So, in the spirit of Mardi Gras indulgence, I’m sipping on my current Diet Coke, knowing it’ll be my last until Easter Sunday (April 24th). And I’m prepared for the headaches and the caffeine withdrawal (I think).

I’m just not sure that the boyfriend’s prepared to deal with me like that.

Wish him luck – he might need it more than I will.

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, and, like any good procrastinator, I’ve yet to decide what I’m giving up this year.

Last year I asked for your suggestions and finally settled on giving up swearing and M&Ms. And failed miserably on the swearing. Who knew I had such a potty mouth? (Don’t answer that.)

While talking to my mom about it yesterday, I mentioned trying to give up Diet Coke and she immediately looked worried. “But, won’t you get a headache without your caffeine in the morning? What will you have instead?” And it’s true. I don’t like coffee; I get bored with tea. Diet Coke is what gets me going. (In fact, I have one on my desk at the moment. So, I guess I won’t be giving that up…)

The problem is, along with anything I think of to give up (TV, Facebook, Diet Coke, etc.), I immediately think of the reasons why it’s just not possible (Lost, certain communications, withdrawal). Maybe I should just give up rationalizing for 40 days instead?

In any case, unless anyone has another inspired suggestion (which I’m completely open to), I think I’m going to try this whole (non) swearing thing again.

  1. At this point in my life, my vocabulary should be big enough to avoid curse words for at least 40 days.
  2. I really don’t like failing, and after my poor performance last year, I feel the need to redeem myself.

So here we go. Wish me luck.

(Oh, and of course I’ll be giving up the office M&Ms again this year. It’s kind of tradition now.)

Oh someecards...it's like you know me.

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I’d been seeing a lot of commentary regarding Bill Maher’s new movie (I’m hesitant to call it a straight up documentary), and had been reading things about it that both piqued my interested and annoyed me at the same time. So, of course, I had to see it. To be honest, there were a few moments in the beginning when I wanted to get up and walk out of the theater. But once I resolved myself to stay, I was glad I did. In all fairness, I laughed out loud nearly as much as I cringed. And when I cringed, it wasn’t so much because I was offended, but because Maher had clearly found (in several cases) interviews solely designed to prove his point.

After coming home and processing, I remembered a conversation in which a friend had recommended I see Jesus Camp. So, being on my religious movie kick, I decided to Netflix it. I watched it the other night with, what had to be, an incredulous look on my face the entire time. While Religulous made me cringe and laugh, Jesus Camp made me cringe and cry. It actually pained me a little bit to see kids crying after being yelled at by an adult for being hypocrites and sinners. I’ve been to God camp (I never called it Jesus camp before, and I especially won’t, after this) for the past ten years and have had extremely positive experiences – that don’t involve tears.

I won’t get into every detail that bothered me (we don’t have all day), but I was astounded when the pastor stood up and said, “Okay, now it’s time to speak in tongues. Ready, go.” (I’m paraphrasing, but it’s not too far off.) The last time I checked, you can’t force yourself to speak in tongues. But hey, what do I know?

I figure that there has to be a happy medium to the two extremes of Religulous and Jesus Camp – something that gently pokes fun at the religiously intense but doesn’t make a total mockery of believers. And then it hit me: Saved!

What a fabulous movie. You have super goody-two-shoes Hilary Faye who is “a warrior on the front line for God.” You have her brother, Roland, who doesn’t believe in God and consistently mocks his sister and her friends. And you have Mary, who gets pregnant in high school (trying to turn her gay boyfriend straight) and comments on the virgin birth: “I know this is wrong, but do you ever wonder if she just made the whole thing up? I mean, it’s a pretty good one. It’s not like anyone can ever use virgin birth as an excuse again. I don’t really think she made it up, but I can understand why a girl would.

Honestly, I think Saved! reflects more reality than either of the other two films. People doubt. They question. They turn away, and sometimes they come back. Sometimes they don’t. And it’s all a personal decision. If you believe, you don’t need Maher telling you that you’re either stupid or arrogant. And if you don’t believe, you don’t need Pastor Becky Fischer telling you you’re going to hell.

Watching Mandy Moore ruthlessly trying to save everyone she meets, and throwing the Bible at them when “necessary,” though? That makes me laugh, every time.

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