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Monday, February 25, 2008

Observing Others Observing Lent

I was at a party this weekend, and a man and a woman were talking about what they were giving up for Lent.

The woman says, "I am giving up all sweets." Pretty standard sacrifice, from what I understand (and a tough one for that day, as the desserts were absurdly good).

The man replied, "wow, that's better than me. I am giving up 'good' coffee."

This was greeted with semi-stunned, semi-mocking silence.

By way of explanation: "I stopped drinking the Vanilla Latte Cappuccinos from Starbucks."

Really? "Good coffee?" Maybe I'm missing the point, but that doesn't seem like a particularly strong sacrifice. Now I'm not a Christian, so I checked in with some of my Christian friends - they agreed, giving up "good coffee" ranks pretty high on the "Lame Lent Sacrifices" scale. A hair lamer than, "no processed pork products" and a smidge less lame than, "no new cars for the next 40 days."

You could really take two very different points away from this:

1) There is something to be said for following the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law. Think about it...

2) On the flip side, this could be a magnificent example of the principle of "Kaizen," or the idea of small, incremental improvement and progress. Little steps are better than no steps, I suppose.

Some people would make a comment here about consumerism and how for many people these days giving up Starbuck's cappuccinos really is a big sacrifice. I won't make that argument though, because I consider frivolities like NetFlix, digital cable, and wine to be necessities...

I'm sure this isn't the most absurd Lent sacrifice (just watch the movie, "40 Days and 40 Nights," for what may be the most ridiculous - and they expect us to have sympathy for the main character!) but it certainly made me laugh.

P.S. Steven Seagal has been in many, many movies, most of which are awful. However, in "Hard to Kill," he says my favorite Lent joke (granted, it's the only Lent joke I know). He is about to eat a midnight snack, and his wife says, "what about your diet?" His response: "I gave it up for Lent." Brilliant! That's comedic gold...

1 comment:

Susan said...

I think things that people give up for Lent have become lamer and lamer as I get older. I actually heard someone a couple of Fridays ago trying to justify eating chicken, saying it was similar to fish. ("Real "meat" that you can't eat on Fridays has 4 legs, right?")
I like your blog so far--I added you to my favorites list on my blog.