This past week is celebrated for being the week of Mardi Gras, but what was and usually overlooked is the fact that it also marked the beginning of the more orthodox season of Lent
I did not need spell check, I said lent. The Lenten season is a 6 week observance in the Catholic and closely tied protestant churches which are supposed to be marked by prayer, fasting and affliction.
When I became born-again, and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior I began reading the Bible. This led to Bible College and a serious and lifelong study of God’s word. I departed from many of my Catholic upbringings and teachings. But now, after over 20 years in “this way” I have noticed that Protestants whether they be Baptist, Pentecostal or any other, tend to be just as ensconced in some traditions as the orthodoxy. At one point, when I saw a Muslim man I know celebrate Ramadan, I was saddened that all the world’s religions seem to fast and pray but it doesn’t seem to do any good, and for “Christianity to have a mandatory season of fasting makes us look like everyone else” instead of different, set apart and a Peculiar (special) people unto God (1 Peter 2:9). I had been in a church organization whose senior pastor frowned on fasting and said “. . . that’s only to get control over your flesh” and discouraged people to practice it.
The fact is that there are wonderful health and spiritual benefits to fasting- provided it is done properly. It all comes down to a matter of where our hearts are. There are people that will enter into the season of Lent begrudgingly, not realizing it is to reflect on Easter and the greatest event in human history: the resurrection of Jesus Christ! There are people that think that lent and fasting makes them holy or more honorable than their neighbor, and they have their reward (Matthew 6:16)
Believe it or not, in the Philippines a group of people called the Flagellants will crucify and whip themselves as an attempt to grain favor with God.
|The flagellantes in practice|
Often we look at movies like the recent “Fifty Shades of Grey” and are appalled by the content of strange sexual practices on the big screen. It seems to normalize the aberrant and the degrading of women.
Is there much of a difference between people who seek sexual gratification from bizarre acts and people who think they will gain favor with people by bizarre religious acts? My point is simply this: devotions with no understanding and improper motives should be viewed in the same light; unacceptable and sacrilegious.
Right is right, wrong is wrong and sin is sin. Call it all for what it is.
But before we speak, Let’s make sure we have the higher moral ground to stand on, and it can all be done in love . . . uh. . . unlike the kind that 50 shades if passing for!
Your Brother in Christ
And Senpai in Karate