Let’s Grovel in an Old-Time Lent

By Blogger Chuck Redfern

I feel awkward; gauche, even. I’m unqualified for my task: I’m calling for an old-fashioned Lent, a Lent gone viral, a mother of all Lents, a nation-wide Lent in which we marinate in mind-bending guilt and covenant in a vow of silence punctuated with mournful wails. Viking-besieged abbots will view us from the past and envy us.

But that weight of ineligibility: I can feel it. I’ve rarely observed a genuine Lent.

It’s my parents’ fault. They practiced the season with mischievous austerity. There was the pervasive aura of dank fish, of course — and the obligatory Lenten suppers, and the faded purple altar cloths, and the penitence and the remorse — but it was all needled with giggles and snickers. We just couldn’t feel bad. Maybe it was the cheery Southern California weather; maybe it was my mother’s wit (imagine your own mother whispering jokes, then telling you not to laugh in church); or maybe it was my family’s mere Episcopalianism: We were the “almost Catholics,” inept at the high art of pre-Vatican II guilt. We snuck Hershey kisses during our fasts. I was totally ruined when I became a teenaged born-again Christian and a Baptist. Lenten asceticism dwindled into the ethereal past of chalices, robed priests, acolytes and a teasing Mom.

And yet, here I am, begging us to soak in extravagant gloom. No one can talk. Not one word but for those doleful wails.

The need for silence is obvious. Listen to the words of Senator James. M. Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who has been braying unsubstantiated charges ever since 2003: “Climate alarmists see an opportunity here to tax the American people” … “It’s also important to question whether global warming is even a problem for human existence. Thus far no one has seriously demonstrated any scientific proof that increased global warming temperatures would lead to catastrophes predicted by alarmists. In fact, it appears that just the opposite is true: that increases in global temperatures may have a beneficial effect on how we live our lives.” And on he rants. Hear him in 2010: “I don’t think anyone disagrees with the fact that we actually are in a cold period that started about nine years ago.”

Read full post here.

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