Laughter at Lent

It’s Ash Wednesday morning as I write these words, and in a few hours I will hear myself and others invited “to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance, by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.”  What are we denying and negating, when we choose … read more

Jonah and the Epidemic of Outrage

Slate Magazine dubbed 2014 “The Year of Outrage,”1 and I’m inclined to agree.

We were outraged when a London block installed anti-homeless spikes, and when Khloé Kardashian wore a Native American headdress.2 We were outraged when we read the Senate’s torture report outlining CIA practices of systematic prisoner abuse and we were outraged when we read about Lena Dunham’s childhood sexual experimentation.3 We were outraged by Bill Cosby; we were outraged by gentrification and income inequality; we were outraged by Ferguson; we were outraged by the Austin based “Strange Fruit PR” firm who foolishly chose a name that echoed a 1930’s Billie Holiday song about lynchings. We were outraged by Fox News and/or by Jon Stewart’s satire of Fox News. We were outraged by Rolling Stone’s UVA rape story, then we were outraged to find out that they got their facts wrong. We were outraged that iTunes gave away U2’s new album for free without asking us. And by “we” in all of these examples I mean something like “social media” or “the internet”—“the internet” construed as a kind of corporate consciousness and increasingly a corporate conscience.

Leaving Lent

Greg Garret (@Greg1Garrett) currently serves as the Writer-in-Residence at Seminary of the Southwest.  As a member of the adjunct faculty of the seminary, Greg helps future leaders of the Church to write, interpret, and communicate effectively. 

I had such big plans for this Lent. After past seasons where I temporarily renounced things (Diet Coke, meat, dessert) or took on things (like the Lent when Cathy Boyd, Billy Tweedie, and I decided to take on bluegrass as a spiritual discipline), I had isolated a practice I thought would be a good fit for this stage of my life, one full of joy and difficulty: I was going to read and re-read the Psalms, and simultaneously to read N. T. Wright’s book The Case for the Psalms, a book on praying and living the Psalms back into the center of our spiritual lives.

That, at least, was my plan.

Unraveling Lent

Jane Patterson is the Assistant Professor of New Testament at Seminary of the Southwest.  In addition to teaching Bible courses at the seminary, Jane serves as co-director of The Workshop, a ministry that guides laity in using the Bible to discern how to live faithfully.

Lately I’ve noticed that what I thought was an elite club of which I was the only member turns out to be a very popular club, with each member assuming he or she is the only one. This is the club of people for whom Lent is their favorite liturgical season. In whispers and asides, we are beginning to locate one another and to proclaim our allegiance: “I don’t mean to sound weird or anything, but really, Lent is my favorite season.”