It’s crunch time.
Lent is only a week away and you need to find something to give up for 40 days.
Last year we gave you our list of the top 10 things you should give up for Lent. It was more successful than we could have imagined: over 30,000 hits in 3 days and it reached the #1 result on Google for that topic (which is just crazy). So, we’ve decided to make it an annual thing.
After all, we really do love the season of Lent (for real) and we want to do everything we can to help you find something to give up (sort of for real) during this important time in the church calendar.
So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here is our list of the Top 10 Things To Give Up For Lent 2012….
10. Oh By The Way “Musicians”
As in “I wear the most ridiculous thing possible as an article of clothing, my “concerts” are primarily over the top, offensive choreography, all of my decisions are based on what will generate the most buzz, and oh by the way I’m also a ‘musician’.”
I don’t doubt that somewhere buried deep down underneath all of the, um, mess there is genuine talent. But why bother with this nonsense when there are people like Adele, The Civil Wars, or Mumford & Sons in the world? Look, if you’re not ready to make that step, the least you could do is catch a little Bieber Fever. It’s highly contagious and easy to catch. Never say never! We should all be Beliebers!
Sorry, I got distracted. What was I saying again? Oh yeah…
The future of civilization itself rests upon your ability to give this one up, not just for 40 days, but forever. So stay strong. The world is counting on you!
9. The 2012 Apocalypse
Speaking of the future, one of the families I saw on Doomsday Preppers the other day was convinced that later this year the magnetic poles will reverse positions and the continents will be set adrift. In other words, they were convinced that the John Cusack movie 2012 was, in fact, a prophetic documentary. But that’s not the saddest part. The saddest part is waayyy too many of us think the same thing!
The world will come to an end someday, but don’t bet your future on a John Cusack movie. Maybe a Daniel Day Lewis or Morgan Freeman movie, but not John Cusack.
If you have already stockpiled for the apocalypse, try giving some of your 30 tons of freeze dried corn away to friends and neighbors. Yes, it may turn out to be your “coming out” party as a doomsday prepper, but they will quickly think better of you when they realize you’ve made the decision to stop basing your life on a John Cusask movie.
8. _____________ ing
First there was “planking”, then it was “Tebowing”, and now there’s “Bradying”. When will the madness stop?! Will we have to come to the point when Christian teenagers finally pick up the trend and start posing standing up, knees bent with their head bowed, arms stretched open wide and call it “Jesusing” ?! (Trust me, that will happen eventually)
The _______ing phenomenon must come to end and what better time to stop ridiculous poses than Lent! So over the next 40 days, pray to God for the strength to say “no” whenever you are tempted to strike a _______ing pose in a picture. If we can all commit to this, the world will be a better place.
But if you can’t make this commitment, then let’s all start “Jesusing” and we can just call it evangelism!
7. Paying In Exact Change
Little known fact: you do not get a trophy or even a discount for paying in exact change at the grocery store or any other store for that matter.
Based on my experiences at the grocery store many people do not seem to be aware of this. They will stand in line for what I’m pretty sure is at least an hour counting out their change, asking the cashier exactly how much they owe, counting out more change, then digging around in their pocket or purse to find that nickle they know they have, before asking the cashier yet again how much it is they owe, and then finally paying.
This is absurd and unnecessary. It’s the 21st century. Get a card and save us both the time. What? You don’t trust yourself to be responsible with a debit card, let alone a credit card? Well, let me be the first to formally welcome you to adulthood. It’s time to learn some responsibility. At the very least, learn how to round up, hand the cashier a twenty, and trust that the computerized register can actually do basic math.
Just think of what you’ll be able to do with all that time! You could send a tweet to let your friends know how efficient you are, use that extra time to travel and take a leisurely, 30 second longer walk to your car, or you could even write a really, really, ridiculously short novel. The possibilities are endless!
6. Your New Year’s Resolution
I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution this year. To be honest, I haven’t made one in a long time. Not because I think they’re a particularly bad thing, but I know that by the time February comes around I will probably break that resolution.
Many of you probably made some sort of resolution this year. Well, if you’re still going strong, then congrats….it’s time to quit!
Look, you weren’t going to last much longer anyway. And any weight you might have lost will just be put back on once the holidays roll around again. Do yourself a favor, quit now and start enjoying life! Besides, the world will be ending come December 21st, so all that extra effort to quite smoking and “add a few years to your life” is really just a waste of energy.
Forget your resolution and use the time we have left before the Mayan Apocalypse to treat yo self!
If you’re a woman, married to a woman, work with women, or simply know someone who is a woman, then you’re probably familiar with Pinterest.
That’s not to say there aren’t a few men on Pinterest too, but if dogs are “man’s best friend”, then Pinterest has quickly become women’s best friend.
Whenever I look over to my wife and ask her what she’s doing, she almost always responds “Just looking at something on Pinterest”. Now, our kitchen has become the testing ground for countless recipies. In the past few weeks alone I’ve eaten everything from pull apart cinnamon roll bread, to blueberry muffin cake, to honey lime grilled shrimp. The amount of food is as insane as it is diverse.
So ladies, for Lent his year you should give up……wait a second.
My wife is a lady.
If she gives up Pinterest, then I won’t have anymore delicious new foods to enjoy!
Don’t give up Pinterest!! I repeat, DO NOT give up Pinterest!!
4. Divinely Appointed Presidential Candidates
One of the four men pictured above will be the Republican candidate for President. Which one is, of course, yet to be determined.
What has been determined for 3 of these candidates is that their Presidential campaign has been ordained by God.
At least that what’s they have claimed and what many of their supporters believe. The thought then, is that by voting for that candidate the vote is casting their ballot for God’s will. Of course, this isn’t true and nothing does more harm in an election than “playing the God card” to get votes.
There will be plenty of time between now and November to debate about which candidate loves Jesus more, but for Lent can we at least stop trying to determine who God’s anointed candidate is supposed to be?
Think about it this way: If indeed God has called a tone deaf wooden robot, a serial adulterer who has a thing for ditching seriously ill spouses, a guy in a sweater vest with not much else going on, and your eccentric old grandfather who thinks it’s still 1776 to run for President of the United States, then I think God is sending America a clear message. God wants Barack Obama to be reelected.
3. Mark Driscoll
This one might be the hardest one of them all. At least for me. Not, as some commenters have suggested, because I am “obsessed” by the guy, but because as the great Forrest Gump once said, he’s “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” Except this box of chocolates is full of crazy, hateful theology.
I think that Matt Appling is right when he says that people like Driscoll and John Piper tend to create a culture of tabloid Christianity. On the other hand, they have profound influence over countless pastors and I think that they should be held accountable when they say things that are anything but Christian. Part of me wants to believe that if we all just ignore them, then maybe they’ll just go away. Of course, that won’t happen though. Celebrity preachers don’t know the meaning of the word “anonymity”.
So, here’s what I’m thinking. Let’s all, both fans and critics alike, give up Mark Driscoll for Lent. No talking about him, no listening to him, no watching his videos, and no reading his books. And if that works, then maybe we can figure out a way to give him up forever and restore hope to the future of the church!
Of course, if that doesn’t work, then we’ll just get Mark Driscoll and N.T. Wright to fight it out in the octagon for the future of the church. You may think Driscoll would be the obvious winner, but that’s just because you don’t know about Wright’s ninja skills!
2. Christian Sobriety
I’m not talking about not drinking.
I’m talking the apparent inability for so many of us in the Church to laugh at ourselves. The great Heath Ledger once said “Why so serious?” True, he was talking to Batman, but he just as easily could have been talking to Christians. It’s ok to laugh. It’s even ok to poke fun at each other every once in while. This may come as a shock to your system, but Jesus actually had a sense of humor. He even cracked a few jokes in the Gospels. Granted, Jesus had a 1st century sense of humor and those jokes kind of fall flat today, but we’ll give him a pass. After all, he did die for the sins of all mankind, so we sort of owe him one.
In response to our lighthearted take on a Mars Hill Church job application, one of our commenters wrote, “The church needs to be able to banter like this. That’s what family does; they hold up mirrors to each other.” I could not agree more.
It’s ok to look back at old, cheesy Christian music videos and laugh, just like it’s ok to look back at our parent’s prom pictures from the ’70s and laugh. Laughing at ourselves keeps us humble and reminds us that we’re not perfect. That is a very good and a very Christian thing to do.
So this Lenten season, let’s all try to remember how to laugh again. There are plenty of things to take seriously in life, but goofy Christian culture is not one of them.
If giving up Mark Driscoll for Lent is difficult, then giving up “me” is next to impossible. But if you can figure out how to do, then it just might change your life.
You could give up chocolate, or caffeine, or maybe even red meat, but at the end of the day, or should I say 40 days, what good does that do? You’ll go back to eating chocolate, drinking things with caffeine, and enjoying steak as soon as the calendar rolls over to day 41.
But what if you did something truly radical this year? What if you gave up yourself for Lent? What if for the next 40 days you put others needs before your own? What if instead of “looking out for number 1”, you started looking out for others, friends, family, neighbors, even strangers? What if for the next 40 days you woke up every morning and the first thought that went through your head was “How can I serve the people I encounter today”? What would happen?
If you could find the courage to give up yourself this Lenten season, instead of “stuff”, then you may just find that when Easter finally rolls around there will be another resurrection to celebrate. Having died to self over the past 40 days you will be able to join with Paul in declaring “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I that live, but He who lives within me.”
If that happens, then it won’t just be you that’s changed. In becoming the hands and feet of Christ you become the means through which God extends God’s redemptive grace to the world. If you can find the courage to give up yourself for Lent, then you might just end up changing the world.
Grace and peace,