I told a professor here (who was running a forum on the Question of God) that my religious background is ex-Catholic but that I am an active blogger in the ex-Mormon part of the Bloggernacle; that my husband is humanist, my father-in-law is Buddhist, and my mother-in-law is First Nations/Pagan. I got an awesome look as he tried to process this. “…So, you grew up Mormon?”

Many of the readers here post on Twitter and I’m impressed by the number of people who are considering celebrating (and hashtagging) Lent this year. I had to ask a classmate the other day whether Mormons celebrated Lent or not. I’m thinking that I will this year. Today is Ash Wednesday (I missed one of my favorite holidays: Pancake Tuesday, when my mom would make breakfast for dinner), the first day of the 40 days of Lent (Sundays don’t count).

Most, if not all, religions recognize the spiritual purpose behind fasting. I think, sometimes, that we need a Deity poking us in the back with a sharp stick to get us to do what we should be doing. And I don’t mean “not eating chocolate” but “giving to the poor” or “volunteering time”. The way I was brought up, giving something up and giving something back went hand-in-hand: if you give up chocolate, the money you would have spent on chocolate goes into the Rice Bowl. The older I got, the less it was about giving something up (perhaps not doing something you shouldn’t do) but taking on something that you don’t normally do.

In that spirit, this year for Lent I am taking on Working Out. This is something that I should be doing for myself (since I’m slowly sliding into bad-body-image, which always annoys me), for my husband, and for my grades… I’ve been doing it pretty regularly recently and have been feeling amazing because of it. I have more energy and feel like my brain is working better. I wake up more easily and, though it’s still hard to get out of a warm bed, once I’m awake, it’s not harder to stay that way.

But I also know that a promise to a Deity I don’t believe in isn’t worth much. So I’m publicly drafting the following contract with myself:

I will do Yourself!Fitness for 15 minutes every weekday morning that I do not have a class at 8 am before I go to school. I will go to Judo every Saturday that I can (and this does not include Saturdays I just don’t want to). I can make up Y!F by doing an extra 15 minutes, either later in the day, or on a different day (hopefully this will not mean that I end up doing an hour and 15 minutes on Sundays…). For every Y!F I do not make up, or for every 15 minutes I fail to do, I will donate $10 to the charity noted below. For every Judo I fail to attend, I will donate $20.
I charity, so that I have something sharp to poke me in the back, is the creepiest one I could come up with—the people I want least to have my money. (DH suggested the RNC): Feminists for Life…or in the alternative, Human Life International.

Is any of you doing anything for Lent?


  1. This Lenten season, I, too, am trying to do something positive. One thing I’m going to try is to push myself a little bit further into going “green.” I’m going to spend the next several days seeing if there are behaviors and products I can make more environmentally friendly. I got a rice bowl and will use it to hold the money I usually spend on a latté. I find it’s not that much of a sacrifice for me but will help those in need. I don’t really need a $3.00+ cup of coffee; I can get my jollies w/tea or an Americano. I’ve also decided to read the Divine Office every day. I need some ritual and meditation time in my life so this will be a good discipline.

    “To you I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the Loyal Opposition.”

  2. John

    /sheepishly glances at his new MacBook…

    EBrown, you inspire me right back. Maybe some of these inspiration things are cycles. 🙂

  3. Giving up: TV. Adding on: reading a book about spirituality that has questions/exercises to get you thinking/analysing. Giving: buying stuff to make up toiletries packs for a local women’s shelter – for women just arriving who may have had to escape a violent situation suddenly and don’t have such basics.

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