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Posted Monday, February 20, 2012, at 5:22 PM

I'm often at a loss for what to put up as a new poll on our web site, and last week I put one up asking whether readers planned to give something up for Lent. Probably not the best possible poll question, but it's what I could come up with on short notice.

I've never personally given anything up for Lent, but I have friends and family who do, and I was kind of shocked at a couple of comments left at the T-G web site:

The first was a two-word comment: "not Catholic." Lent may be more heavily observed by Catholics than others, but it is not exclusive to the Catholic church, by any stretch of the imagination. There are a number of protestant denominations that observe the liturgical calendar -- seasons like Advent, Epiphany and Lent. That includes the United Methodist Church, of which I'm a member. By definition, any church observing Ash Wednesday is observing the beginning of Lent.

Now, recognizing Lent as a season in the liturgical calendar is not exactly the same thing as giving something up for Lent; there are individuals who do the former but not the latter, and I guess that describes me up to this point. But to imply that Lent is just a Catholic thing displays a lack of knowledge about other denominations.

But the really troubling statement was this:

"Saved folks don't do Lent."

Really? Even if you or your denomination don't follow the liturgical calendar, in what way is it in conflict with being saved? I don't understand that at all. Lent is generally not observed from a legalistic standpoint -- as something you have to do to earn God's favor, which would be contrary to most Christian theology -- but as a spiritual discipline, something that benefits the practitioner. If it's not your particular spiritual discipline, that's fine; but it's hardly the kind of pivotal issue that justifies questioning someone else's salvation.

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Good point John. There are a lot of things I do not know about other religions and making uninformed assumptions can be harmful to everyone.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Feb 21, 2012, at 8:10 AM

Hummm, Lent is fasting for 40 days from Ash Wednesday til Easter. I don't know anyone who can go without 3 meals a day let alone 40 days without any meals.

I hear people complain because they can't eat or drink anything from Midnight until they get their blood test the next day.

That only consists of doing without breakfast for crying out loud.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Wed, Feb 22, 2012, at 12:52 PM

Hi John, former Methodist now Catholic here...Lent gets a bum rap when it is viewed as a time to "give up" something. In practice, lent is a time to prepare ourselves for the sacrifice God made for us in the death and rebirth of his Son at Easter. It is not neccessary to give up anything. Some choose other ways to celebrate lent such as adding 15-30 mins of prayer time to their day or performing additional charity work, etc. Most importantly, anything you choose to do as your lenten obligation should help keep your mind focused on the Easter miracle.

The fasting regulations for Lent are not difficult to observe. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday should be observed by taking just one meatless meal or two very small meals(if age and health allow). Additionally, each Friday should be observed with meatless meals (fish is ok).

-- Posted by BadgerCat on Sat, Feb 25, 2012, at 3:31 PM

Where is all this documented in the Bible? I'd like to read up on it... Thanks!

-- Posted by onenamil on Mon, Feb 27, 2012, at 1:49 PM

Paul told us in the bible that we don't have to eat fish on Fridays any more.

The only time you had to eat fish is when you have guests over who still believe you are suppose to eat fish on Friday or if you are invited to eat at someone home on a Friday and they believe you are suppose to eat fish on Fridays.

In other words you are suppose to eat fish on Fridays only to prevent Christians who believe you are suppose to eat fish on Fridays from thinking you are not a good Christian.

The Bible says anything that is sold in the market can be eaten.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Sat, Mar 3, 2012, at 5:22 PM

Speaking of not eating...

why did the T-G stop putting the Smart Source Coupon inserts in the Sunday papers?

Or is that just for Bell Buckle T-G Papers that cost just as much as the other T-G papers?

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Sat, Mar 3, 2012, at 5:26 PM

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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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