Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lent + work makes me sad

I am deeply puzzled by the pset I am supposed to be doing right now. This means. . . I should blog.

What to do for Lent? (yes, I realize I'm a bit late.) Last year I gave up pop, and took up incessant swearing. This year I would like to do something a bit more proactive and hopefully less detrimental to my temperament. I was thinking about trying to read a chapter of a book of the Bible every day and trying to implement something from it in my life that day or the next. (I would also find the "look up the cross-references and historical background" part of this fun.)

This should probably include praying. I suck at prayer. Prayer requires two things from me that I do not care for: a) Effort in an area I'm not already good at and b) faith that it will matter. I'm okay with the whole chatting-about-my-life-with-God thing (when I remember), but I'm not so hot on the ask-for-this-and-it-shall-be-given-to-you part. I don't know what's good to ask for (the trip to Italy is probably out, getting As in all my classes is probably sketchy, and asking to be a better Christian makes me doubt my own sincerity), and I'm not very confident that my prayer will make a difference in someone else's life. This is probably because I always suspect that if I'm praying for someone, it's because I'm too much of a chickenbutt to actually do something for him or her myself. (See: Sad, lonely, nasty people that I don't really want to try with but wish God would make less of a problem for me.)

And theoretically God is supposed to be answering these prayers. How? As someone who has been a Christian for three-ish years now, I'm still uncertain about the actual mechanism. Will I be poked to read relevant Bible verses? Will I get some kind of premonition? Will words be put in the mouth of someone close to me? Do I just have to sort of guess and hope? (I'm afraid it's the last one, which I find depressing.) Frankly, at this point in my life, I feel like God is just saying to me, "Kiddo, I'm just going to wait to talk to you until you're a little less deaf and a little more perceptive."


Anyhow, what book should I look at? Some of the histories are decidedly difficult to apply, though I like the Old Testament, and sometimes Paul just gets on my nerves. I'm thinking maybe Isaiah, or a re-reading of Psalms (except they would both be MONUMENTAL.) I do like the Old Testament, because I have a better sense of actual human beings moving around underneath the words; unfortunately, this also makes certain books (Joshua comes to mind) a challenge to my faith, because sometimes I have a hard time seeing the people as being motivated by God rather than by their own weaselly plans. I also (I think) have only read one complete Gospel, which are rather markedly important, so maybe I will just go with Mark or Luke.

I also feel like maybe I should complement this somewhat introspective study with a more obvious outward effort to be a better and (perhaps) more responsible person. A sincere compliment to someone different every day? Doing my homework a couple days ahead of time? Trying to volunteer my time somewhere each week? (I get a fair amount of emails from the Public Service Center, as well as "please help us make food!" messages from all different places.)

O Lent, what shall I do with you?

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