February 22, 2010

Sidenote :)

I don't want to be dramatic and leave people guessing about why we don't do Lent. I guess I'm just gun shy of people leaving argumentative comments about it, or turning it into a debate--NOT what I want! I don't mind sharing our reasons, but please understand that this is just what we've chosen to do---we do NOT think it's wrong to observe Lent! At all!

Basically, we believe that as Christians, we should always be giving things up in our lives that are not healthy or hinder us from knowing the Lord better. It shouldn't just be because of a date on the Catholic calendar. (Note: we aren't Catholic but I know that many other denominations observe Lent.) Also, it's not observed in the Bible. Yes, Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, but it's not like the Lord's Supper where he said, "Do this in remembrance of me." It borderlines ritualistic to us.

To us, fasting, etc. should be done when you feel led of the Lord to do that. If the 40 days of Lent is when you choose to do it, fine. But we don't want to do something just to show how "religious" we are, if that makes sense, or put ashes on our forehead to make a public statement (and yes, I know not everyone chooses to put ashes on their forehead). We base this on Matthew 6:17-18: "But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you." To us, giving something up to grow closer to the Lord or to remember His time in the desert (which I believe is the goal of Lent), should be private and something you're not calling attention to (at least in this setting, when it comes to fasting, etc.).

I do want to add that we think it's extremely important to discuss the story of Christ's life and the end of His ministry on earth during this time of year, because Easter is approaching. We are not ignorant of the fact that we need to spend time focusing on our Lord's ultimate sacrifice for us, which was death on a cross. We just don't use the ritual of Lent to honor and commemorate that. I'll post soon about some Easter traditions I'd like to start with our family!

I'm not making any assumptions or accusations toward people who do observe Lent. We do think it's great to be looking forward to Easter and to take the time to really think about Christ's sacrifices for us. We simply choose to honor this time in different ways. These are just our thoughts, so please don't be argumentative in the comments! I really am not writing this to ruffle feathers. But some are curious, so I decided to share.

I'll be posting pictures soon!


Emily said...

Great post

mrs.leah.maria said...

Love it! And for the first time, I'm actually going to mention Lent in a post this year, because we're attending a church that encourages it. The first time ever!

Katlyn said...

I love this post!

I agree with it, and love that I now have more information as to why I don't practice Lent.


Carrie said...

We don't observe Lent either for all the same reasons :)

Adrienne said...

Very well said.

Sarah Denley said...

Thanks for explaining!

My post about Lent was kind of tongue-in-cheek, hopefully not irreverent. I usually do try to give up something, butisn't anything that is hindering me spiritually- just something like Coke that is maybe not good for me.

I like it because it's a good reminder when I crave that extra Coke that Jesus gave up EVERYTHING for me. I just like "reminders", like how I used to use my earrings to remind me to pray for Peyton. It's really that simple to me.

I'll be honest, though, no "Lenten sacrifice" has brought me anywhere near as close to understanding the sacrifice God made as having my own child.

[None of this was meant to be argumentative, either. I just wanted to explain how I view it!]

Christy said...

This is why we do not practice Lent either. I have never given it much thought until this year, because I read many Catholic blogs... This is the conclusion I came to as well!

MommyWilcox said...

Great post, Ashley! You put my thoughts onto paper (or the computer screen) every time. Another concern that I have with Lent is the idea behind Fat Tuesday. Let's sin and be self-indulgent as much as we can one day so that we can live sacrificially for the days following it?

The Taffs said...

Well said! My husband and I share those feelings too. I have no problem with Lent if it's something that the Lord is calling you to give up in order that you be closer to Him. But, nearly everyone I know gives up things like caffeine, fast food, etc.

Sonya said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! We have never done the lent practices in my church so I've never participated. I like hearing the biblical reasons behind why you don't. I'm sure that's the reason that we don't in my church, but now I'll have to ask!

Angie said...

Ashley - I love this post. My husband and I agree and you said it so well!

Sarah said...

This was very interesting. I'm glad you shared it!

Katie said...

This has nothing to do with this post, sorry about that! But I remembered when you did your doppelganger post and I found another one of your twins - Tessa Virtue. She is one of the Canadian ice dancers in the Olympics right now and she could totally be you. Just thought you might want to know :)

Mrs. Dirnberger said...

I am not saying these things to ruffle feathers either.. but the catholic religion isn't supposed to broadcast their fasting, what they have given up and so on. We are taught to keep it between us and God. So for all those who like to broadcast it and act like a big accomplishment aren't celebrating the Lent season the right way.

Kim said...


As a Catholic, I respectfully disagree with you on this topic. I also feel that Lent should not be the only time for making sacrifices and giving things up that are not for our health and spiritual well being. But I do not feel that Lent borderlines ritualistic. I also do not feel that the purpose behind ashes is to make a public statement (I think that is a little bit harsh to assume).Google it, the significance of the ashes goes way back.

I also know that most people of other denominations do not have a background in the Catholic faith so I do not expect someone looking in on certain aspects (such as the season of Lent) to understand and embrace all the pieces that make up Catholicism. I feel that Lent is a beautiful tradition that prepares us for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I agree with the comment by Sarah Denley above: Lent is a great reminder that Jesus gave up everything for us. So why not give up something extra during this time for Him? It's a personal choice and I definitely respect that!

On another note... the comment that MommyWilcox left is absolutely ridiculous! I have NEVER celebrated "Fat Tuesday". I think you will find that most people who celebrate this "holiday" (if you can call it that) do not actually observe Lent.

I really enjoy reading your blog!

Please don't take this comment as rude or disrespectful, I just felt like I needed to add my two cents for whatever it's worth!


Ashley said...


I definitely do not claim to understand Catholicism completely. I understand where you're coming from.

I told another friend who was offended about the Fat Tuesday comments: I can't speak for MommyWilcox, but I believe she was referring to the origins of the Mardi Gras culture and how that all began, and she just chooses to not observe the holiday partially because of those origins. It is referenced on an official Catholic website that Fat Tuesday was/is the "last hurrah" before Lent begins.

However--I DO NOT think or assume that all people who observe Lent participate in Fat Tuesday! That would be ridiculous of me. I do not think that at all.

Again, these are just my personal beliefs on the matter and I'm not making assumptions or accusations towards people that do observe Lent. My family just chooses not to.

Your comments weren't offensive, and I hope mine weren't either! My heart really was pure in writing my thoughts about it.

Sara said...

Hi Ashley,
I really enjoy reading your blog. Although I do not agree with everything, I very much respect that you and your husband are running your home, living your lives, and raising sweet Evy with intentionality and great care and prayer.

I just wanted to leave this link for those who, whether they choose to observe lent or not, might want to get a clearer picture of it.


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