19 days without coffee and counting . . .

Posted: February 25, 2008 in church, faith, life
Tags: , , , , ,

lent.jpgI really enjoy coffee.  I could say love here, but I’m really trying hard to use the “L-word” only in a proper context.  After all, you can’t really “love” a cup of coffee.  It shows no emotion and can’t receive any emotion or even any physical manifestations of love.  You can’t really love coffee.  That being said, coffee is good.  Coffee is great.  Stardate 25.02.08 . . . it’s been nineteen days without coffee and counting.  It will be another 25 until the ban on the bean is broken.  Technically Lent is only 40 days, not counting Sundays, but in reality it is about 44 days because I’m not taking Sundays off.

Now I know some of you may be thinking, “Ben, you’re not a Catholic, what are you doing observing Lent?”  Well my friends, Lent isn’t a Catholic thing, it’s a Christian thing.  Lent was around long before the reformation and has been practiced by all kinds of Christians since the reformation.  I think it’s a real shame that so many reformation type Christians throw out all Christian tradition as being “Catholic stuff” as opposed to seeing it as a part of our own Christian story and tradition.  Even if it is a “Catholic thing” why should that keep the rest of us from observing the practice as a part of our own faith practice?  What’s so wrong with that?  Many believe that the practice of the 40 day fast originated as a way of commemorating Jesus 4o day fast in the desert before his temptation.  If Jesus could do it for a good reason, why shouldn’t I?  The reformation was good for a number of things in my opinion, but I think Luther would have really second guessed what he did if he knew the long-term division it would cause in the church and the total rejection of all church tradition that many reformers would adopt in the future.

It hasn’t really been easy giving up coffee for the past three weeks, but not really because I’ve been tempted to break my fast.  The difficulty has come in the times when I get forgetful.  Coffee is such a prevalent part of our culture and a part of my life that sometimes I’ve had to catch myself just before ordering a coffee after supper or making a coffee in the evening.  Breaking habits that have been built over the past fifteen years isn’t easy.  All in all I enjoy the practice of participating in church tradition.  It’s nice to be caught up in being a part of something that’s bigger than just myself or my own ideas about how to practice my faith.  I’m not telling you that you need to observe Lent and all that surrounds the Easter season to be a Christian, but if you’ve never given it a chance before I’d really encourage you to give it a try.  You might just find you’ll like doing something that other Christians have been doing for centuries.

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Comments
  1. Jared says:

    As your resident reformed friend, I feel the need to push back on your ideas about Luther. You said, “The reformation was good for a number of things in my opinion, but I think Luther would have really second guessed what he did if he knew the long-term division it would cause in the church and the total rejection of all church tradition that many reformers would adopt in the future.”
    I have to strongly disagree. Luther could not stand the injustice being committed by the leadership of the Church. They deviated from scripture and were basically trying to raise their bank account after blowing it building St. Peter’s Basilica. Luther wanted people to know faith, grace, and the scriptures ALONE. And the biggest thing was, LUTHER DIDN’T WANT TO CAUSE A SPLIT! He just wanted the leadership to correct their errors. Now there are always bad apples in every batch, but it’s quite bold to say many reformers have rejected all of church tradition!

    With that now aside, I want to encourage you to continue your fast. Every time you reach for a coffee and remember your fast, or go to grind some beans realizing you can’t, may you pause and worship Jesus who gave up everything for everyone.

    blessings my theologically-differing friend!
    /j

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  2. benyamen says:

    I think we actually agree on most of what you said there. We both agree Luther didn’t want to cause a split and that he did what he did to try to correct a lot of corruption and injustice within the church. I guess I’m just trying to say that if he knew the split his actions would cause he may have handled things a little differently. He may have taken things to leadership instead of just posting their errors for all the world to see.

    As for my assertion that most reformation churches have rejected all church tradition, I think I’ll stand by that one. How many non-Catholic/Anglican faith traditions follow the church calendar and lectionary beyond observing Easter weekend, Christmas day, and maybe advent? It’s a pretty rare thing, and some reformation Christians – and I do count myself in that group because my faith tradition did essentially come as a result of the reformation as well – seem outright against following things the church calendar or lectionary because it’s too “Catholic” and might lead us into praying to Mary or something if we’re not careful. I”m willing to temper my statements to the point that maybe it’s just the Christians that I’ve known in my own churches and vicinity that are this way but I think that those thousands of people do make up a reasonable base for a poll of people’s opinions on the matter.

    Thanks for your input bro, I always appreciate hearing the other side of the story.

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