Lent Gets a 21st-Century Update
Religion News Service
March 2, 2011
(RNS) -- For Janis Galvin fasting for Lent has long meant saying no to candy for the 40 days before Easter. But when the season begins this year on March 9, it's apt to mean something more: walking when she'd rather drive, for instance, or turning the thermostat way down.
Galvin, an Episcopalian, will join with about 1,000 others who've signed up for the 2011 Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast, a daily regimen for reducing energy consumption and fighting global warming.
Lent is getting a makeover, especially in some Protestant traditions where it hasn't always drawn strong interest. The carbon fast is one of several initiatives aimed at reinvigorating Lent by linking themes of fasting and abstention to wider social causes. . . .
Fasting from anything is never an easy sell in a culture that values convenience, according to Jim Antal, who heads the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.
But as a spiritual practice, he said, personal sacrifice can be a key driver in advancing larger movements.
"We're trying to deal with the mingling of individual Lenten disciplines with social change," said Antal, whose conference is spearheading the carbon fast. "And that is precisely what will save the Earth -- if individuals who begin to get it... begin to say, `Gosh, I need to change my life, and I need to become an activist."'
This sort of thing come up every year lately. It is the moral equivalent of a pile of the stuff that periodically falls out of the east end of a horse going west.
Whatever you might think of the church tradition of Lent, this nonsense has nothing to do with it. It is, rather, simply a rather transparent way of co-opting ‘church’ things for the purposes of radical, leftist political causes.
Speaking in the very broadest use of the term, I am surprised intelligent people take the ‘church’ seriously anymore. Salvation to these kinds of people means nothing more than ‘saving’ the earth from a harmless substance that is an integral part of the life-cycle as designed by God.
But there I go, talking about God ‘designing’ something. We can’t have that, our course. Instead, we have some idiot Episcopalian ‘turning the thermostat way down’ to ‘save the earth’ as a supposed act of worship.
There is so much of this kind of material piled here and there today in the religious landscape that it can be very difficult – as with that stuff that falls our of the west-bound house - not to step into it.