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Top 10 Things to Give Up for Lent

March 7, 2011

Lent begins this Wednesday which means you have less than 48 hours to figure out what you’re going to “give up” for the next 40 days.

It can be difficult trying to figure out just the right thing to give up for Lent. So, in the spirit of good ‘ole fashion American Chrisitanity we have decided to do all the work for you.

Presenting the Top 10 Things You Should Give Up For Lent:

10. Charlie Sheen

Honestly, this might be the most difficult one of all. After all have you read his tweets?? Also, tiger blood is very addicting and we all need something to fight off the warlocks with. But, for the sake of humanity, your soul, and Charlie Sheen you should probably give up Charlie Sheen for Lent.

9. Book reviews for books that haven’t been released

It may be your spiritual gift to decide for others what they themselves think, but can we agree to put that gift on hold at least for Lent.

Of course, this one shouldn’t be too hard as HarperCollins pushed up the release date for Love Wins since it has skyrocketed up Amazon’s best seller list.

Wait a second….doesn’t that mean that love wins is “winning”?? Could it be that Charlie Sheen actually wrote Love Wins?? Or maybe Rob Bell and Charlie Sheen are actually the same person!! Ahh!! My head is going to explode!!

8. The King James Version of the Bible

Speaking of books, can we (and by “we” I mean the fundamentalists) please agree to give up using the KJV as the primary version of the Bible. As shocking as this might be the Bible wasn’t written in King James English. Equally as shocking NO ONE ON PLANET EARTH speaks King James English. Furthermore, thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls we have MUCH older texts to translate from then King James’ people did.

Long story short it is a profoundly outdated version of the Bible. You can keep using to quote Psalm 23, but can we keep it at that at least for Lent. Or better yet, as Matthew Paul Turner points out this year is the 400th anniversary of the KJV, so in celebration let’s give it up for Lent…….and then never pick it up again!

7. Bieber Fever

Justin Bieber is everywhere. So much so that it has apparently led to the creation of a new disease called “Bieber Fever.” For the sake of public health can we please agree to give up Justin Bieber at least for Lent? After all what’s so great about that amazing hair cut, his boyish charm, catchy tunes, and……..dang it! Now we’ve got Bieber Fever!! Forget it, the Biebs can stay for Lent!!

6. Pretending to see Jesus EVERYWHERE

Apparently Jesus is turning up everywhere lately. He’s been in a rocking chair, a tree, a Cheeto, and even on the back of David Beckham. Considering no one actually knows what Jesus looks like can we please give up seeing Him everywhere, at least for Lent?

5. KFC Double Down

We’re always looking for a food item to give up for Lent. So, look no further than the KFC Double Down. Then again, if eating too many of these sandwiches is a struggle for you then you probably have bigger problems than what you should give up for Lent.

4. The Internet

Tired of getting shown up by all of your friends when it comes to who gave up what for Lent? Then here’s your chance to be the best Christian during Lent this year. Give up the internet! We mean the whole thing. That way when your friends start telling you about how they gave up watching TV, using facebook, or tweeting their every thought you can look down all of them with pride and declare “I have up the whole freaking internet!” After all, do you really need it for anything?

Oh wait, how are you going to read American Jesus?? NEVERMIND!! KEEP THE INTERNET!! KEEP THE INTERNET!!

3. Predicting the Second Coming of Jesus

Don’t get us wrong, there isn’t much we enjoy more than a good Third Eagle of the Apocalypse video. But it seems that everybody else is jumping on the prophecy bandwagon too. Apparently, most of them are in agreement that Jesus is coming back in just a couple of months, May 21st to be exact. Which is really amazing since even Jesus said He didn’t know the date He would return.

So if you’re looking for something easy to give up for Lent try this one, after all it looks like the date has already been figured out for you.

2. Giving up cliche things for Lent that in no way help you grow in your faith

I’ll confess. I’ve been guilty plenty of times for giving up random and inconsequential things for Lent. We all do it. Maybe it’s chocolate, caffeine, or Justin Bieber. (dang that Bieber fever!)

At the end of the 40 days of Lent we pat ourselves on the back for not doing x, y, or z, but in reality what have we really accomplished? Honestly, nothing. The whole idea of Lent is to prepare ourselves for Easter. Self denial during Lent should be about trying to understand in part the self denial which Jesus undertook that led Him to the cross. Sure it might be difficult for a few days to go without a Coke, but if we really want to prepare ourselves for Good Friday and be ready to truly celebrate on Easter Sunday then maybe we should try giving up some of things that Jesus gave up: pride, ambition, greed, hate, jealously, time…..

1B. Shouting

Most of us are pretty good at being polite in public. Or at least we can fate it well. If we disagree with someone it usually takes a long time for the conversation to devolve into shouting. Apparently that isn’t true online. Read something online you don’t like? Then obviously you need to respond in the comment section immediately with slander, WORDS IN ALL CAPS, and as many exclamation marks as possible. Can we all please agree to give this us for Lent, or even better, for ever?

Which leads us to…

1. Hating everyone that doesn’t agree with you

When it comes to Christians hating other people most of us immediately think of groups like Westboro Baptist church or people like Steven Anderson. But the truth is that hating others has become one of the defining marks of the American Church. No funny one liners here. This has to stop. Just because someone in another tradition/denomination/church doesn’t agree with you particular theological outlook doesn’t make them a heretic. The Christian on Christian violence has to come to an end.

Likewise, and perhaps more so, we have to learn to love people outside the church especially when the say and do things we profoundly disagree with. This is life Jesus lived and then called us to “go and do likewise.” This doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t disagree. We can and sometimes we should, but we have to learn to do it with love and respect and that doesn’t mean adding a tag line to your blog comment “i say this in love” followed by “your’re going to hell”. Love has to be practiced not just talked about.

So if we are going to give up for Lent this year let us give up our hate for one another and never pick up it again.

 

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39 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2011 8:11 pm

    I was thinking of going *back* to KJV for a little while. After reading this article, I’m determined to.

    And I don’t hate you, either.

  2. Jeremy @ confessions of a legalist permalink
    March 7, 2011 9:12 pm

    I wish I could give up hating people that disagree with me, but the burden I carry is too great. By giving up hating them, I would actually be giving up truly loving them. Shouldn’t they give up being wrong instead?

    • Lyndi permalink
      March 8, 2011 10:44 am

      God NEVER commanded us to hate anyone. He did, however, command us to LOVE everyone.

      • Mary in Portland permalink
        March 8, 2011 7:51 pm

        Reminds me of the old saying that the Christian is to “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”

    • anon-y-humor permalink
      March 8, 2011 3:38 pm

      Jeremy – I am so glad you keep loving them enough to keep hate pounding their bad ideas out of them!! Keep the faith, soon they will give up being wrong!

      I love you for that (even though I do not know you).

      From now on (even beyond Lent) I agree with everything Jeremy believes and likes and does – so that I will know I can never be wrong!!

    • Dustin Pierce permalink
      March 9, 2011 9:39 pm

      I don’t believe Jesus said ANYTHING about hating anyone and in that way inversely loving them? I’m preeeeetty sure after reading some of the book he gave us, he said to give UP hate and go for love..

  3. Shannon permalink
    March 8, 2011 12:52 am

    The UK’s Guardian ran an article recently with various authors talking about how the KJV had shaped them–its cadences and rhythms, the fact that it becomes much easier to understand when read aloud, a reminder that it’s meant to be a communal book. One writer said it had given regular folks outside the elite access to Shakespeare because it’s the same language.

    So no, I don’t think I’ll give it up. I’ll happily continue to avoid The Message and any Bible targeting a specific demographic (teens/single moms/empty nesters/bikers) but I will avoid the philistinism of hating on the KJV.

  4. March 8, 2011 8:22 am

    Thanks! I really enjoyed this post!

  5. DannyJayFuller permalink
    March 8, 2011 9:13 am

    I’m giving up violence this year, in all forms. Video games, literature, music, TV and movies and real life. For too long, violence has always been my go-to because it’s always proven to achieve the desired effect and it provides an ineffable thrill that you can’t get anywhere else. Thanks to that, my fight or flight reaction is permanently set to flight and when presented with a problem, violence is often my first resort if it’s even remotely appropriate. I would never think to negotiate my way out of being shot, walk away if physically struck, let somebody have what they try to steal from me, etc. I’m hoping, during Lent, to have a shift of sorts from that mindset and as a result to open my mind to a more Christlike lifestyle on the whole and thus open a door for God to show me and tell me more of what he wants me to know and do in his name. It won’t be easy, but I’m already preparing. The big issue is I’m a hardcore gamer and it’s hard to find GOOD non-violent games. 😛 So far, I’ve got Harvest Moon, Game Dev Story, Need For Speed, umm… I’ll get more as time goes by, I guess.

    • Mary in Portland permalink
      March 8, 2011 7:56 pm

      Check out the current film “I Am,” if you haven’t seen it yet. Relates to a lot of the stuff you are thinking about. (It could be part of your Lenten reading/learning/opening the mind — which is the other part of Lenten practice besides giving things up. I really liked your post.

      • Dannyjayfuller permalink
        March 9, 2011 6:28 am

        Thanks, I’ll check that out. If it keeps my mind off of the fact that I won’t be playing dIssidia for a good while, it can’t be bad 😛

  6. March 8, 2011 10:28 am

    First time visitor and not a Fundamental Christian, but I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I usually give up non-related things like chocolate, actually, but find that through following that practice, I manage to find a greater spiritual resolve. It keeps me mindful in times when I might tend not to be.

  7. bob bobness permalink
    March 8, 2011 11:11 am

    i want to eat KFC now and I don’t even like kfc! 🙂

  8. March 8, 2011 2:58 pm

    Is this suppost to be a joke????

  9. March 8, 2011 3:01 pm

    xIthink that this web site is funny and a bit usful but really???? is it worth it

  10. March 8, 2011 4:53 pm

    Oh. My. God. I laughed out loud at this post. (And I guess I should give up taking God’s name in vain for Lent………)

  11. March 9, 2011 11:54 am

    I love what you are doing. I don’t love the comments so much, unless I’m too dumb to figure out they are joking. Perhaps. This is really great!

  12. March 10, 2011 8:18 am

    May 21st? Seriously? That means I have a few days to do all the things I wanted to do and can totally ignore all those others things I don’t want to do!

  13. March 10, 2011 2:51 pm

    Superb information and facts! I have been hunting for something like this for a while now. Thx!

  14. David permalink
    March 11, 2011 8:59 am

    First, I really enjoyed the list and your commentary. It was a refreshing take on the tradition of Lent. Keep up your slightly off centered view of the world intact and you will go far.

    The one exception, though I would not necesssarily remove it from the list, is the King James Bible. I agree with the basic premise that it should not be the held as the Word of God standard that many fundamental Christians adhere but your reasoning is quite faulty.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls have no bearing on the matter as they only reference the Old Testament . The Jewish scribe who passed the the Scriptures to us over the centuries had a very complex and precise method. For this we are very thankful.

    Textual criticism of the modern translations of the Bible begins and ends with the New Testament. The argument stems around thethe idea that “older is better”. This viewpoint is a little shaky. If you read your Bible everyday the pages wil get tattered and worn. Eventually, you will replace it with a new copy. Early Christians shared their copies of the scriptures from church to church adding to the wear and tear. This is why there are so few early copies of the NT. Most modern translations of the NT come from a a fairly recent compiling of greek manuscripts that predate some of the ones used for the KJV. The problem is that the condition was very good and that they were found in area of the world known for a particular sectarian belief. The fact that the texts were found in great shape demonstrates they were rarely used. A study of the Greek will also show some areas ,though really few, that are influenced by the sect found in that region. This would be like accepting a radical Muslims translation of the Koran over a copy that is used by the masses just because it was a little older.

    All this said, people who spend all their time arguing whose translation is better are missing the point.

  15. March 11, 2011 4:55 pm

    Zack,
    I couldn’t agree with you more on the 3rd item you’ve listed. I saw the apocalypse predicting “evangelists” (if that’s really what they are calling themselves) at the Gasparilla Festival in Tampa equipped with huge signs claiming that everyone was going to hell. I am a PR student, and I cant help but wonder what devastating effects a campaign like this can have on PR for the Christian church. In my opinion, its not very good PR to threaten people and tell them they are going to hell. Maybe an approach that offers understanding and optimism would be a more effective approach. Just a thought.
    -Alexa

  16. Rose Troth permalink
    March 13, 2011 6:58 am

    I am sure tha whoever commented about giving up the KJV bible is somewhat insane!

  17. April 21, 2011 1:10 pm

    This is a very awesome post. I love this. I have never celebrated or honored Lent in anyway. However, if I ever did, those are some very good options for things to give up. I can totally understand giving up Charlie Sheen. His career is just over and its just so sad.

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