It seems a lot of us are observing Lent right now. I am not drinking caffeine and my kids have given up chocolate and sweets. During this time, I have discovered "FEAST DAYS", those 6 occasions, normally falling on a Sunday, that allow for breaking the rules and scoffing whatever food or drink one is fasting for Lent. In fact, not only have I discovered and employed these Feast Days, yea and behold, I have even added to their number.
Why stop at 6 when you can have 10 Feast Days during Lent? Or 12? Heck - Why not have a Feast Day EVERYDAY during Lent like most Protestants I know.
Interesting article in Lancaster Online regarding Lent observance among Protestants. They blame the emerging church for this trend . . and they might be right:
"The trend toward Lenten observance by Protestant churches isn't brand-new. It has been boosted in the last few years, though, by the "emerging church" movement, which increasingly looks to the ancient church as a pattern for the future.
Too, more Protestants are turning to spiritual disciplines, another tradition once viewed as "Catholic," to deepen their faith at a time when contemporary megachurches are being accused of producing shallow Christianity." Lancaster Online
Jonny Baker from London is going over to Lancaster, PA, at the end of this month to sort them all out. Look out for him at the Lancaster Seminary March 21-28. Hope he has a great time. When our family passed through Lancaster in our Winnebago (1999) we stayed at an Amish campsite and learned about how they did house church. Ate a few shoo-fly pies. And my kids bought the Amish gear - hats, bonnets etc. We looked like an Amish family, except the dad [me] who looked like a backslidden Amish father with a ponytail.
Also on Lancaster. I just read a book on the Reformation by Stephen Nichols, who teaches at the Lancaster Bible College. The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet changed the world. [thats mallet . . not MULLET] Nichols says, and I like this, that the Swiss Reformation was started when Ulrich Zwlingli refused to observe Lent and demonstrated his newfound freedom with a now famous sausage supper in March 1522. More on this book on Thursday when i do a book review party here.
And so you can see why a lot of Reformers are not happy with the Emerging Church. After effectively getting rid of quite a number of meaningless rituals like Lent [and Christmas in Scotland] as well as the English monastic system and other things associated with Popery, the emerging church seem to be undoing some of these gains.
Don Carson describes the emerging church as a protest movement. Is it true? Are we protesting the protest? Are we rebelling against the Reformation or are we helping the church to reform again to regain its status as the one holy catholic church? I hope its the latter.