Lent 2010: What to do…?

“What are you going to give up?” That’s a pretty popular question during the days leading up to Lent. And it’s certainly been talked about a lot today on Twitter/Facebook and it’s been interesting to see what people are doing. Some folks are giving things up, some have decided to take something on…everyone has their own way of working their way through Lent. I never grew up practicing the tradition of giving things up, but when I got to college, it became “the thing to do.”

During my first year of seminary, a few of us decided to take something on for Lent, and we were deliberate about keeping Sabbath during Lent. It was a really good experience and I think we all got a lot out of it. That was probably the best Lenten experience I’ve had.

In our world of Facebook/Twitter/social media, there seems to be an interesting conversation taking place about giving up social media for Lent. Indeed, I’ve been asked numerous times, “So – are you giving up the Internet for Lent?! Haha.”

And while that certainly would be interesting, as someone who supplements my income by doing some web design on the side, it wouldn’t be the most prudent thing for me to do (i.e. “Why don’t you give up going to work for Lent? Huh?”). I posted something about this today and Tyler Braun was quick to reply on Twitter:

Bruce Reyes-Chow posted something interesting this morning, and I think he’s going to blog about it more later this evening. He wrote this on Facebook this morning:

“If giving up one’s Social Networking interaction means giving up a meaningful experience of community, then could/should folks also give up going to church?”

If social media is in fact a form of community (and for most people, that’s a given…), is giving up community, people, really how we want to spend Lent?

I wish I was going to be at Landon’s church tonight to hear him preach, but he was giving some teasers this afternoon on Twitter, including:

So no, I won’t be giving up social media for Lent. I may try to be a bit more aware of the amount of time I spend on it, but I won’t be giving up part of my community for Lent.

A friend on Facebook pointed me to Busted Halo’s website today and specifically their Lenten project called Fast, Pray, Give. Each day they offer examples of how you can fast from something, a guided way of praying for something specifically and a way in which you can give something as well. Looking through their description and the examples they have for today – the first day of Lent – I’m sold on it. I think it will be a great way of incorporating some new (and old) spiritual practices into my life over the next 40 days. I’ll also be blogging a short reflection each day during Lent about the practices of that day.

I don’t think there is one right way to “do Lent.” For some people, giving up chocolate might be just the thing that helps draw them closer to the holy. For others, deciding to do a daily devotional each morning at 6am might be the way to go. But for me, at least for this year, I’m going to be spending 40 days with the folks at Busted Halo fasting, praying and giving.

If you’re interested in what they’re doing, here are some helpful links for you:

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