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Flunking Lent


We're halfway through Lent. Do you know where your discipline is? Apparently I do not.

Late Thursday night I woke up at 3:45 and couldn't go back to sleep for love or money. So I got some work done, trawled Facebook, and . . .  broke my Lenten discipline.

One of the things I gave up for Lent was "author vanity," which in my mind translated to the following:

  1. I will not read reviews.
  2. I will not check sales figures.
  3. I will not look at Amazon rankings.
  4. I will not Google the title of my book to see if any more churches are assigning Flunking Sainthood for group study. 

It's embarrassing to admit that before Lent, I did those things about once a week. It is unseemly and immodest, yet there it is. Author vanity. "Real" authors are supposed to be above such things, of course. Not only do they not read reviews, they don't care what other people think. Pish posh, they say.

Apparently I'm not a real author, because I didn't even make it three weeks before I found myself on, checking up on new reviews. It was only a five-minute lapse, but I felt horrible about myself. What kind of loser can't go three weeks without an ego stroke? 

Me, apparently. But I'm glad to report that I'm back on track now, thanks in part to this wonderful post by Lisa Nichols Hickman in which she confesses that she, too, struggles with Lent. In fact, she has never made it all the way through a Lenten discipline. But her very failure is a reminder of what is really important about Lent:

Christ is Lord and Savior, not us. My failure helps me to follow the one who is discipline, the one who is disciplined, the one who calls us to follow him -- not our charts, plots or ploys. We are saved by grace, not by our own doings or undoings....

Can our churches let go of some of the “logismoi” that bind us and live into the lexicon Christ teaches? The church lives and breathes, all too often, phrases like: “if only,” “when,” “I wish,” “I want,” “if… then,” instead of the corporate narratives offered by Christ: Now. Come. Repent. Know. See.

If I strike “discipline” from the theological lexicon, I have a few new words to add. These words, by grace, save us and guide us through Lent as we listen to a new conversation that is much less internal, and much more incarnational.

Thank God for amazing grace. I get a do-over.


The image of success and failure is used by permission of 

Topics: Faith, Doctrine & Practice
Beliefs: Christian - Catholic, Christian - Orthodox, Christian - Protestant, Mormon
Tags: failing lent, faith and leadership newsletter duke divinity school, flunking sainthood, jana riess, lent, lenten discipline, lisa nichols hickman

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