Lent For The Rest Of Us

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Kristina and I have very similar religious backgrounds. We are both daughters of preachers. We were both raised in old-school Pentecostal churches. We can sing you gospel choruses and hymns with the best of ’em. And nothing gets our toes tappin’ like good ol’ Vestal Goodman, big hair and all. We love it.

We met each other while we were both attending a Charismatic church in Los Angeles of the “River” variety. If you are in that stream you know what I am talking about. And if you aren’t you are probably wondering what a “stream” has to do with anything.

Lent For The Rest Of Us

Our spiritual experiences have been full of grace and freedom and a lot of excitement. Paying attention to the Liturgical calendar has never been a part of our church life. And yet….

Here we are one week from Lent. And we are talking to our kids about what we will be fasting as a family. We are praying and asking the Lord for specific intentions and disciplines.

We go to two different churches now and the churches of which we are members (and that we love) are very casual and the pastors wear jeans many Sundays. We don’t talk about (or, forbid!, to) the Saints. And yet…

We are marking off fast days and getting chapel veils ready. We are talking to St. Hildegard and imagine that she is thoroughly amused by our attempts at liturgical living.

In our stream the only Christian holidays we really celebrate are Christmas and Easter and the wilder ones throw in Passover. And yet…

Our chicory coffee and beignets will be ready next Tuesday, along with the Gumbo and King’s Cake for our last hurrah before a long fast into Resurrection season.

And we are asking ourselves how this happened. Seriously. How. Did. This. Happen. How did two girls who were raised without a Liturgical Calendar suddenly become so into it?

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Perhaps more important than “how” is “why”…..

Why would anyone want to start tracking with the Church calendar? Why would you want to stop eating meat on Fridays, start giving up pleasures and impose on yourself things like wearing skirts, waking early, and moments of silence? It’s not required by Scripture. We are free from the Law. And all that…..

And here we are, making a Lenten calendar and shopping for fish.

Why indeed.

“So far as a man may be proud of a religion rooted in humility, I am very proud of my religion; I am especially proud of those parts of it that are most commonly called superstition. I am proud of being fettered by antiquated dogmas and enslaved by dead creeds (as my journalistic friends repeat with so much pertinacity), for I know very well that it is the heretical creeds that are dead, and that it is only the reasonable dogma that lives long enough to be called antiquated.” (G. K. Chesterton; Autobiography, 1936

As much as we love our churches (and we can get all Charismatic with the best of them, I assure you) we found ourselves literally craving something ancient. We found ourselves slipping into the back pews of the Orthodox church and getting lost for untold amounts of time at the Catholic bookstore. We found that St. Hildegard started feeling like a big sister and GK Chesterton was a BFF.

When all is said and done, when we go to church we want to hear something ancient. Something that was true 2,000 years ago and will be true 2,000 years from now. We want to be literally IN the Divine Presence. We want to soak up Jesus with every pore, every cell, every breath.

Lent For The Rest of Us

I call it Divine Dissatisfaction.

But why Lent? Why this denying of ourselves and purposefully doing hard things? Why invite the awkwardness and the inconvenience? When we celebrate Passover, there comes a time in the Haggadah where a young child asks, “Why is this night different from all other nights? On other nights we eat either leavened bread or unleavened bread; why on this night only unleavened bread?” And the father answers. Explains. Reassures. And the child again asks, “On all other nights, we eat any kind of green vegetables; why on this night must it be a bitter one?” And the father again answers. Explains. Reassures. This goes on for four questions.

So why Lent? Because it makes us ask. It makes us question our faith. It makes us look for answers. The answer is in the asking. The learning is in the doing. Lent requires that we lay aside self and pride and reputation. It requires taking up a cross and going a second mile. It’s the opposite spirit of the bare-minimum mentality so prevalent in our culture and in our faith. Lent requires a deep breath and minute-by-minute prayers for grace.

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6

Lent is not about perfection. It’s about progress. It’s not about punishment, it’s about finding fulfillment in Christ. We do hard things during Lent, knowing full well that we will likely fail. It’s in that failure that we learn to lean. Lean on Jesus. Lean into Jesus. We also lean on one another. You find a friend and pray them through their Lenten intentions and in turn they bring you decaf and a smile. In a way, it’s becoming Christ’s body. Loving in deed and truth.

We are just crazy Protestant-Pentecostal-Charismatic girls in pursuit of Jesus, observing Lent and learning grace. Lent is for everyone.

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(Following our Lent 2014 album on Facebook to see where God leads us this year.)


  1. Kitchen Madonna - March 19, 2014

    Oh my stars Daja!  I wish we were in the same city, yours or mine! We could 

    You have to go to an Orthodox Christisn Church for the extra services during Great Lent. Especially one with a good choir with Byzantine Chant. Look at the online bulletins and see when the next canon of St Andrew is and wear a long skirt and comfy shoes so you can so you can experience full prostrations. Those people worship in a temple are so Jewish it ain’t funny. 

    Go to Catholic Stations of the Cross on a Friday night and stay for the fish fry afterwards. Visit an Adorstion Chapel (many are 24/7) and do wait and okay with Jesus at 3am. These are in some Catholic Churches. Call the church office first to find out the code on the door to punch in. 

    I am getting so exciting ready this blog and am getting inspired! I want to hear all about it!

  2. Maria - March 2, 2014

    Daja,
    It appears that you gals are being awakened spiritually and yearning for the truth. Are you ready to return to your Jewish Roots?

    I too have been thirsty for years coming out of Catholicism as well as Charismatic Christian churches.
    Something in my spirit kept tugging as I was dissatisfied with the only relationship I knew with Jesus and
    our Father God. I thank God that He opened my eyes to my Jewish roots and this has been the missing key. How can we celebrate Jesus without knowing Him as Jew? And knowing how the people lived during the times that He was on this earth?

    Yeshua was a Jew and celebrated the Feast days that God created for all of His children to observe. Somehow the Christian churches lost their way following the traditions of man and not God’s Word. And consequently, they are not observing nor teaching about the Feasts which God commanded His people to keep. There were and still are corrupt forces at work in the organized ministry but we are called to take a stand for what is true. By the way, Christmas and Easter are NOT God’s Feast days; they were created by man. Both are steeped in the traditions of man and pagan worship; and it is our responsibility to learn the truth.

    God said ‘Come Out of Babylon’ and He meant it and still means it today. (Rev. 18:1-6). Realize that Babylon encompasses the traditions of man and all of corrupt religion. It includes all religious groups that are not keeping the Truth in accordance with the Sacred Scriptures no matter how great or small their defection is from the Truth.

    If the Living God is opening your mind to His Truth, then you have the responsibility to act on it (James 1:22; 4:17). Your ‘Divine Dissatisfaction’ is coming from the Spirit of God that lives within you summoning you to ‘Come Out of Babylon’ and into His truth which is His Word. And, unlike most Christian churches who have followed the traditions of man instead of God’s Word, it is your responsibility to obey God’s Commandments as well as His statues – which include observing the Feast that God created; these Seven Feasts are shadow pictures of His Will – past and present. Leviticus 26:3 ‘If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them… [read the blessings here: http://biblehub.com/kjv/leviticus/26.htm

    Excellent explanations of the Spring and Fall Feast can be found on YouTube with teachings by Michael Rood. Michael is an excellent Torah teacher having lived in Isreal and studied the Torah [which is the Old Testament] with Rabbi’s. Rood has earned his reputation as the ‘Messianic Matador’ who waves his tattered red cape in the face of the religious “bull” of his generation. ‘A Rood Awakening’ is what you will have when you begin to listen and study what has been revealed to him by our Father. He hosts a teaching on Friday evenings called ‘Shabbat Night Live’ – a
    2 hours program that will change your life. The Sabbath, which God commanded us to keep, starts Friday evening at sundown and ends Saturday at sundown. Constatine and others after him changed the worship day to Sunday and this was related to pagan worship as well.
    I invite you to begin your investigation into the Truth of the Torah. It will change your life!

    Shalom!

    • Daja - March 3, 2014

      Just sitting here, munching on my Challah, leftover from our Shabbat. Welcome to The Provision Room, Maria!

      Here at the Provision Room we love the Body of Christ, all of it. Its Hebrew roots and its various Christian branches–Protestant and Catholic. Being that you are new to our little corner of the internet, you probably don’t know that Kristina’s family is Jewish and both our families observe the Biblical fasts and feasts. You can read a bit about how we observe them with our families and community of friends: http://theprovisionroom.com/tag/vintage-faith/

      Thank you for your comment. (We did edit it to remove the links and videos, simply because this is not the forum for that. Readers may do their own web searches if they are interested.) May the Lord bless all of us with Divine Dissatisfaction–having all of Jesus and yet still desiring more! Blessed are those who hunger and thirst.

      Daja and Kristina

    • Hello! I am so glad that you guys have introduced yourselves to us over at Feminine Genius Inc. 🙂 I read Daja’s message above and couldn’t help but pass this gem of info to her and maybe to you lovely ladies on your journey. Lighthouse Catholic Media has a treasure trove of talks and such, and there is one such talk by a nun who now calls herself the Jewish Nun! She is a hoot! And her conversion into the Catholic church is one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. I think Daja above would truly enjoy it. Check it out, you can download the MP3 quite inexpensively. Blessings to you all, and may we all be united together someday in the Eucharist!

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/14/us-pope-idUSBRE93D09A20130414

      • Thank you for the link!  We will check it out!  Keep up the good work over there at FemGenius!

  3. Andrea - March 1, 2014

    You precious “closet Catholics”, you!! 😀

    Find a Catholic church on Wednesday, March 5th, gals…. and get ashes (made in a sign of the Cross) on your foreheads for Ash Wednesday… indicating repentance for our sins & the beginning of Lent.

    “Remember, man, that you art dust…. and unto dust you shall return.” (You can do this yourselves too. The Catholic church burns the palm tree fronds from the previous Palm Sunday & uses those ashes but you can use something else that is symbolic to you.) No meat (beast or fowl) on Ash Wednesday & Good Friday…. and only one regular-sized meal on that day too, with one or two smaller meals if needed to maintain strength (but both smaller meals together should not be equal in size to the regular-sized meal). And no meat on each Friday during Lent. Eggs, milk products are allowed. A holy & spiritually rich Lenten season to both you dear gals & your families. God bless~ Andrea
    (a quote from Lisa Lickona: “Here we are once again: Ash Wednesday. As a child in Catholic school, Ash Wednesday had a sort of comfortable simplicity: we all got a smudge of black–something to talk about at lunch–and then there were the Lenten penances: giving up candy or TV. As year follows upon year, I find myself longing for that simplicity. It is easy to see many failings in myself that will not be solved simply by “giving something up”. And when the chosen penances fail to “solve” my problems, I am tempted to give up on penance entirely, reasoning that I have to be content with being “good enough”. Complacency sets in. “That is just the way I am, ” I reason. In today’s Gospel (Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18), Jesus sets before his followers the threefold discipline: prayer, fasting, almsgiving, but each time with a twist–each action is meant to be done “in secret”, hidden from others but open to God. “And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” In other words, Lent is not about magic solutions to problems. Lent is about coming to know our Father, who sees even our feeblest attempts. Is this not what I long for, the love that frees me from my complacency, that purifies every other love? And so I come forward, full of childlike hope, to get the smudge of ashes once again.”

    • Daja - March 3, 2014

      I have a little slip of paper that says “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” I got it from the pastor at an Ash Wednesday service two years ago. I still have it in my wallet with my driver’s license. It’s good to never forget that truth, even when it’s not Lent. 🙂

      Thank you for your encouragement, Andrea!

    • If you can’t slip into a Catholic church on Wednesday the 5th, the Lutherans (that would be me) and Episcopalians (my old church) would also be more than happy to have you join us.

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