My Take: Snap out of spiritual slump with Lent
Catholics traditionally mark the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, but Lent is for Protestants too, Mark Batterson writes.
April 3rd, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: Snap out of spiritual slump with Lent

Editor's Note: Mark Batterson is lead pastor at the National Community Church in Washington, D.C. He is the author of “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day,” “Wild Goose Chase” and “Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity.”

By Mark Batterson, Special to CNN

When I was a seminary student, my wife and I went to downtown Chicago for a taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” When the producer came out to prep us for the show, I was embarrassed for him because he had dirt on his forehead. Didn’t he look in the mirror that morning? Why didn’t someone tell him? My embarrassment for him turned into embarrassment for myself when I discovered it was Ash Wednesday and the dirt on his forehead was actually ashes that symbolized the day of repentance that begins Lent.

I grew up going to a wide variety of Protestant churches, but none of them practiced or even mentioned Lent. It wasn’t until a few years ago, well into my tenure as lead pastor of National Community Church, that I discovered the value of Lent. It has since become a meaningful season in the cycle of my spiritual life. During the last few Lenten seasons, I’ve incorporated a fast into my routine. One year I gave up television. Another year I gave up soda. I’ve also done a variety of food fasts for Lent.

In my experience, giving something up for Lent has made the Easter celebration far more meaningful and even helped me develop the spiritual discipline of fasting. Fasting during Lent has helped me identify with the sacrifices Christ has made for me, and it’s also helped me focus on the reason for the season. The celebration of the resurrection of Christ has become far more meaningful since I started observing Lent.

The church I pastor is a rather non-traditional Protestant church. We are absolutely orthodox in theology but a little unorthodox in practice. We meet in five different theaters around the metro D.C. area. We own and operate a coffeehouse on Capitol Hill that gives all of its net profits to local community projects and humanitarian causes in other countries.

Along with new innovations, however, we’ve also rediscovered the value the ancient traditions. While we may not practice Lent the same way the Catholic church does, we are reinventing it in a way that is meaningful to us. We put our unique fingerprint on those traditions, and that keeps them from being empty rituals.

I’m afraid that many Protestant churches have a very short-term memory. For them, church history only goes back to the Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther. While we may have our theological differences, we share a long history, and I believe there are things that Protestant and Catholic churches can learn from each other in ways that don’t compromise their core beliefs.

I for one am thankful for the Lenten tradition that has been cultivated, celebrated and cherished within the Catholic church. I think more Protestant churches will re-adopt some of those traditions that are part of our common church history from before the Protestant Reformation.

I think of Lent as a spiritual pre-season of sorts. The six Sundays leading up to Easter are considered mini-Easters. Like pre-season games, they prepare us for the ultimate celebration in Christendom: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And one of the benefits, not unlike the Advent celebration surrounding Christmas, is that the celebration is extended to a longer period of time.

A few years ago I came up with a formula for spiritual growth: change of pace + change of place = change of perspective.

Let me explain what it means.

The key to spiritual growth is developing healthy and holy routines. They are called spiritual disciplines. But once the routine becomes routine, you need to disrupt the routine via a change of pace or change of place. Why? Because sacred routines can become empty rituals if you forget why you started doing them in the first place.

I’m certainly not suggesting that routines are bad. Most of us practice a morning ritual that includes showering, brushing our teeth and putting on deodorant. On behalf of your family and friends, continue practicing those routines.

But here’s the spiritual catch-22: good routines can become bad routines if we don’t change the routine. When you start going through the motions spiritually, it’s time to mix up the routine. And Lent is a great opportunity for a natural change of pace.

Lent disrupts the status quo. It can get us out of an old routine and into a new routine.

In physical exercise, routines eventually become counterproductive. If you exercise your muscles the same way every time you work out, your muscles start adapting and stop growing. You need to disorient your muscles by changing your routine. And the same is true spiritually.

When I’m in a spiritual slump, I often snap out of it by a change of pace or a change of place. And it was Jesus who modeled this practice. He would often walk the beach or climb a mountain. I think those changes in geography are not disconnected from the practice of spirituality. It is a simple change of place that precipitates many of the epiphanies that happen in Scripture.

To snap out of a slump, sometimes all it takes is a small change in routine. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or nursing home. Start keeping a gratitude journal. Get plugged into a small group or Bible study. Take a day off and do a personal retreat. Or just get up a little earlier in the morning and spend a little extra time with God.

One of the small changes in routine that has helped me rejuvenate me is picking up a new translation of Scripture. New words help me think new thoughts. And while you can institute those changes at any time, Lent is a perfect excuse to mix up your spiritual routine.

Why not leverage Lent by mixing up your routine? If you do, you’ll celebrate Easter like you never have before.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Batterson

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Lent • Opinion • Protestant

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soundoff (834 Responses)
  1. Darth Cheney

    How about if Christians, during Lent, gave up right-wing extremism and actually followed the teachings of Jesus – you know, trivial stuff like "Judge Not...", "Do unto others..." and "whatever you do to the least of my brethren, so you do unto me." They might find they actually like being moral people better than being not world-class hypocrites. Ah, who am I kidding...

    April 3, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Holy Frijoles

      You don't need to lump us all into one monolith of hypocrisy and intolerance. But I can't blame you. Some of us are nasty people.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  2. Orthodox Christian

    Wow! There was a time when religion was followed. If one follows religion then the issue of boredom and mixing it up and forgetting the meaning is your problem. This problem is solved by restudying scripture and the teaching but not by LEADING by "mixing it up" changing things to make it meaningful for you. In Christianity we believe that we are Soul with a body. During Lent we reject that body to a certain extent by rejecting animal products such as meat and dairy. It is that simple. We do not choose what we give up or lead the way but we follow the way it has been laid out for us. Yes, it is difficult but that is the idea and purpose. It is a 40 period of time, not just on a Friday or a Wednesday or Tuesday. We follow the teachings we do not change it or adapt it or we do not LEAD But FOLLOW. As people LEAD they become LOST because we have a guide and it is not ourselves. CONVENIENCE is not part of the Christian following of Christ. Where did CNN find this guy?

    April 3, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • Holy Frijoles

      To clarify, he's choosing to follow Lent, even though Lent is not part of his tradition. He does not come from an Orthodox or liturgical background. So let him use what he has discovered and figure out Lent for himself. My evangelical church started observing Lent a couple years ago, recognizing that it is a valuable discipline and a great opportunity to draw nearer to God and to more faithfully prepare for the celebration of Jesus' death, atonement, and resurrection. We were given various suggestions for appropriate fasts and whatnot, but ultimately everyone decides on their own. Anyway, if the author is not part of an Orthodox or liturgical tradition, but if his beliefs are orthodox (small "o") and if he is not converting but merely wants to observe Lent, what would you have him do?? You have an evangelical discovering Lent and leading his congregation in it as well. I don't see a problem. I see a good thing.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • Paul

      I agree brother.
      To Protestant Christians I recommend reading following writers that go really deep in spirituality. I mentioned them in one of the previous comments, sorry for repeating.
      Gregory Palamas (14th century), read, John Chrysostom sermons (4th century), Maximus the Confessor 100 chapters about love (6th century), Homilies of Nikolai Velimirovich (20th century), and Fr. Seraphim Rose from California (20th century)

      April 12, 2011 at 3:43 am |
  3. NM

    Hindus have been observing fasting (and many variants of fasting/lent ) since before the birth of all abrahamic religions (namely Judaism, Christianity & Islam- all have same roots ).

    April 3, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Chez

      ....and people have been starving for thousands of years anyway. Religious people pretend that there is nothing physiological about fasting and how it affects the brain – they are deluded beyond the pale, starving themselves into hallucinating.
      Thinking they have anything beyond that is also delusion, yet they have fun with it before they go to torture the innocent.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Whiz

      Chez, You seemed to be fasting your whole life, Your posts have just prove it.

      April 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  4. jajo

    that is a great article...i will try that change of my religious routine. God is so great...gives us so much love. i read some of the comments, and cant believe how many people ridicule religion, how they dont fear that they'll wind up in hell. it doesnt even cross their mind that this is all true, that God made us. that He's the King. they thing it was a pure coincidence that created a human. how foolish...
    soon it will be too late to change your heart about it.

    April 3, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Chez

      Yeah, God is so great he loves to torture and murder little children. Yeah, what a great guy. NOT.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • LOL


      April 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Whiz

      And now you become a Mesothist?

      April 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  5. Youwillknow

    It is amazing how quick we are to attack someone for expressing their beliefs. The problem is that most of us have closed our hearts altogether. It takes "heart, soul, mind and strength" to make it through this life. This man is no different than the rest of us. Just trying to find a better way.

    April 3, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Chez

      I'm guessing that "your way" does not include honesty, truth, or acknowledging the world around you in a realistic way.
      Have fun with your delusions and stay out of politics and we'll get along just fine.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Whiz

      You don't want (religious) people to tell you (non-believers) to stay out of this belief blog but would be easy for you tell them to stay out of politics. It only shows that you're just nothing but a typical Atheist in a fox hole.

      April 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  6. Reality

    Are said ashes carcinogenic? allergenic? Does burning said palm add to climate change? And if you are so desirous to display your religious beliefs, why not wear ashes every day????

    April 3, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Holy Frijoles

      Really? Is this what you got up for this morning? Observance of Lent and Ash Wednesday is pretty much quiet and contemplative. Ya know, maybe you could try quiet and contemplative. Unlike your questions. You sound like a harpie.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • deter


      April 3, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  7. She

    This is a lovely, clearly devout article with something in it for each of us... a little fasting and self-denial, a little giving of self -these are not confined to Christianity – or to any religion. They are guideposts and milestones along the path to the brotherhood and sisterhood of mankind. Thank you for this reminder.

    April 3, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  8. Bert

    It fascinates me how many Christian "bashers" just can't seem to get enough of these kinds of articles. If you aren't Christian, fine, that's your choice. But, why go to all the trouble mocking something you don't truly understand? This gentleman has shared something important to him, and to many of us, but you choose to take this opportunity to belittle and bemoan all the "negative" influences that you perceive. Look inward, if you are looking for someone or something to mock or chastise. None of us are perfect. This is what's wrong with our society today. Relatively few of us are willing to "live and let live". We are convinced that if others don't think like we do, or act like we do, then they are wrong, or foolish. Wake up!
    The world is a big place, and there are lots of different ways of engaging it. Find your way, and let others find theirs.

    April 3, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Chez

      Who says we don't understand it? I used to be a Christian.
      I let you worship as you wish. So why do you complain? This is not a blog dedicated to Christians.
      This is a blog where we can discuss different beliefs. Why don't you let other people come here to confront you?
      Your faith is that weak?
      You pompously decide that your way is the only way for you? Yet there is no religion that lets anyone go their own way, so you are spouting your beliefs without any basis in fact or logic. Your "way" is dictated to you already, yet you are blind to this I guess.

      Why don't you quit being so intolerant and let everyone post what they like?

      April 3, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Whiz

      Chez..I think Bert was only complaining to those people who aren't willing to "live and let live". So why get affected? Do you really get it?

      April 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  9. Reality

    And it all goes bye-bye:

    Saving 2 billion lost Christian souls:
    There was and never will be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity.

    Added details available.

    April 3, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • Whiz

      Chez..I think Bert was only complaining to those people who aren't willing to "live and let live". So why get affected?

      April 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  10. giantkaraoke


    April 3, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  11. Robert

    Nice article. Thank you!

    April 3, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  12. BJP

    I am also a non-Catholic who practices Lent – I do not push religion on others (including my children) but believe that education regarding ALL religions and cultures will help me live a fuller life. A little education (take from it what you will) won't hurt anybody.

    April 3, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Frederica

      Everyone needs Jesus and everyone need to be educated thus. Jesus is the only Way.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • Scarf

      Personally, I'll bet the ranch I know more about religions than 90+% of humans. Been there, done that. If someone wants to embrace fiction, be my guest but do not attempt to "educate" me on such fiction in any way, shape or form. You are already in a hole in terms of credibility so don't waste your time. I do not pay attention to delusional people. Keep your delusions to yourself.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How do you know "Jesus is the only way"? Because he said so?

      April 3, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Tim

      Yes! indeed...

      April 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      BJP, get a backbone. If you are a Christian, you better be reading, comprehending and abiding in Jesus' truth in the Bible and you better be teaching His truth to your children. After you do all that, you better be telling Jesus' truth to others to help save souls that haven't a clue that they can go to the eternal flames, blotted out, no eternity for them.

      There are only two choices we get with free will. Love and follow Jesus' truth and spiritually live on earth as it is in Heaven and spend eternity with Him. Or, love and follow satan (lies) and a person's soul is spiritually dead while on earth as it is in Paradise, Day of the Lord, didn't repent of your sins, to the eternal flames, blotted out. No eternity for the folks that don't love and follow Jesus.

      You've got work to do.


      April 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  13. Hamburg

    www fisheaters com

    April 3, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  14. Frederica

    Lent is the most beautiful season of the year for Christians – the time to be close to the Lord Jesus in a special way whom you love the most in the entire universe, and whom you have given up your own life because of who He is and what He has done for us. I recommend reading or watching on Christian saints such as John of the Cross.

    April 3, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • JWH

      Everyday is is the greatest day in Christ. To wake up to a new day of grace is wonderful. If you are uplifted during a season, make it eternal.

      April 3, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • Frederica

      JWH, Amen. Thank you.

      April 3, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • alex208

      is this Frederica Matthews-Green?

      April 3, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Chez

      Many Catholics are child molesters. Why don't they ever give up molesting for lent?

      April 3, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Not quite.

      No Alex, this Frederica used to be Justina, and though the names sound European, she is from Southeast Asia. That's why she knows everything about everything about America. And she is one of the forum's biggest nasty-crazies.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Whiz

      They do Chez, but they kept it from you.

      April 3, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • being touched by the holy ghost

      I'm giving up celibacy for lent... each night I scream "Oh God!" just a little bit louder.

      April 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      So Chez, those pedophile priests are making you lazy and staying away from reading Jesus' truth (the Bible).

      I suggest you wake up, stop being lazy, open up your Bible daily and start reading His truth to save your soul.

      Free will. Two choices. Love and follow Jesus Christ and you live spiritually while on earth as it is in Heaven and spend eternity with Him. Second choice, love and follow satan (the liar) and your spirit dies while on earth as it is in Paradise, the Day of the Lord, you still haven't repented ... to the eternal flames with satan and be blotted out. No eternity for you.

      Sitting on the fence and not doing anything IS following satan.

      Free will. Two choices.

      Choose wisely. Your soul depends on it.


      April 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Frederica

      @Not-quite: I'm not Southest Asian, though I hope Indonesia won't build a nuclear facility since that will pollute my friend's country Sri Lanka. My user name Justina was hijacked by your friends in very dirty manner. I dream to immigrate to USA when I become "rich" enough. My dream is being a missionary like St. Patrick to Americans^^ because I love America. I hope atheists there will like me;-P

      April 4, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Frederica

      Why do atheists stalk Christians in the forum? Why don't America give freedom of speeches to religious people? Something is wrong in its foundation in present America...

      April 4, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Frederica

      Americans, be thankful to God you are living in a blessed, free land that dedicated Christians cultivated. Remember well and be thankful to your forefathers. Yes, they had flaws but they were better than you in many ways. Numerous people on earth dream about even stepping upon your soil. Unbelieving Americans are wasting God's blessings that have been bestowed on America so richly.

      April 4, 2011 at 12:25 am |
  15. Tom Tac

    Good point, about how any routine can eventually become a rut and lose effectiveness.

    And 'getting a new translation of Scripture' .... easy enough.

    What is really hard to explain is the great joy and "centeredness" that comes from abandoning one's chains to the world and focusing, just for a little while each day, on the two of you, that is, God and you.

    April 3, 2011 at 6:50 am |
    • Frederica

      @Not-quite: I'm not Southest Asian, though I hope Indonesia won't build a nuclear facility since that will pollute my friend's country Sri Lanka. My user name Justina was hijacked dirtily by your friends. I'm going to immigrate to USA when I become "rich" enough. My dream is being a missionary like St. Patrick to Americans^^ because I love America.

      April 4, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Frederica

      Tom Tac, I'm sorry I misplaced my reply. It was for the comment right below.

      April 4, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  16. jeff

    To really learn the lessons of the True Christ one must abandon the self and all the trappings especially religiion. Christians have fallen into a mind trap, approaching spirituality as though it was a commodity to be bought and sold. It is not belief that will open the doors to the Christ Light but the turning inward of the spiritual eye. Jesus said that to approach the Christ one must make one's "eye" (the 3rd eye) single. That is where we will meet the Christ which is really the foundation for every particle of creation. The ancient yogis knew this and many have come forward throughout the ages to remind us of these truths. Jesus' message has been greatly misunderstood. One can not approach the Christ with the head but with the heart. Read Autobiography of a Yogi; the author Yogananda is very eloquent in clarifiying Jesus and his message.

    April 3, 2011 at 6:40 am |
    • WWK

      Should I perceive what you've suggested with my head or with my heart? Oops! I'll have to confess that I just used my head asking you that question. Is that okay? If not, teach me how to ask you using my heart without using my head.

      April 3, 2011 at 7:04 am |
    • JWH

      As soon as you mention a Yogi, the trying to explain Jesus thing collapses. If one knows Jesus they are not a Yogi, but a saved sinner.

      April 3, 2011 at 7:30 am |
    • Hamburg

      What you say then, turning inward, makes you god... it's not turning inward but outward to know that He is God and we are not.

      April 3, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Holy Frijoles

      I'll take what Jesus said, not the yogi. We are to turn outward toward others and toward God, not inward. The less focus on ourselves, the better.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Jeff, the only way to know what Jesus wants for you and what Jesus wants from you is to read His letter He wrote to all of us (the Bible). Your yogi is new age. Therefore, any false new age religion is following satan. Follow satan and you don't get to spend eternity with Jesus Christ. That's it. To the eternal flames. Blotted out. No more jeffy for you.

      Wake up. Stop being lazy. Humble yourself and open up your Bible daily and read Jesus truth.


      April 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  17. Shawn Murphy

    Thanks. I found the Easter preseason analogy to Advent and Christmas to be especially helpful in providing perspective to Lent. Love your book "Wild Goose Chase". Looking forward to hearing you speak at the Generous Giving Conference in Atlanta later this month!

    April 3, 2011 at 6:19 am |
    • Peter G

      @Shawn – you have some brown stuff on your nose.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  18. bu

    Religion is a disease of the Mind! Be part of the cure, not the problem!

    Help cure the religion disease!

    April 3, 2011 at 5:39 am |
    • Haggy999

      Watch out, I'm contagious.

      April 3, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • deter

      Atheism is a belief, so its no different then Christianity.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • deter

      Your also saying Atheism is a disease.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Chez

      It is inevitable. One day all religion will be gone and humanity will be free of the insanity and delusion known as religion.
      There is nothing anyone can do to stop the inevitable conclusion. It is as certain as the world turning round and round.
      It might take a while, though. You religiously deluded idiots can enjoy your insanity for a while yet, so don't get your panties in a bunch.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      Atheism is neither a belief, nor a religion. It is a personal relationship with reality. Look it up. It is not a claim or belief that no gods exist. It is a lack of belief. When you can come up with some convincing evidence for your god, let us know. We are willing to listen. You self contradicting bible and impossible concepts of god (omni-paradox) are the main obstacles to my belief, but aside from that, I have not seen anything that would suggest we are alive by anything but natural means. Science works beaches. It may not have all the answers, but plugging the holes with "god did it" doesn't answer those questions.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Whiz

      You're right Chez, it's clearly written in the book of Revelation and Apocalypses. It's about the coming of the Anti-Christ, the (666) marked beast. It (Atheists) minions will prepare its way by slaughtering faithfuls who do not denounce their faith.

      Its the reason why you and your fellow atheist have been doing all you can to undermine, discredit and invalidate the bible because it speaks about your coming. You want all the people to remain unprepared for an easy on-slaught.

      Too bad you've just exposed your true motives

      April 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • almost there

      Monotheist are almost there. The just have one more God to give up... last phase is always the hardest to rationalize and free oneself... like killing off the last cancer cell, the one most resistant.

      April 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      bu, I suggest you humble yourself and pray to Jesus so you can repent for your sinful nature of the sin of Pride assuming you know what you are speaking about. If you think this world is all there is to your soul. Think again. God created all. If you don't love and follow Jesus your only other choice is to love and follow satan. Sitting on the fence as you do IS following satan. Follow satan and you better whoop it up while alive on earth because your butt is going to the eternal flames, blotted out for eternity.

      Free will. Two choice. Love and follow Jesus and you become spiritually alive here on earth as it is in Heaven then reside with Him for eternity or, love and follow satan and your spirit dies here on earth, when you get to paradise, after the Day of the Lord, don't love and follow Jesus, no eternity for you.

      Choose wisely.


      April 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  19. Janey Jones

    What a stupid little creampuff article! Did CNN actually give this guy money for it?

    April 3, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • Holy Frijoles

      Um, this is a blog...about faith and religion. I don't see the problem.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • bonetap

      Agreed. To me this just illustrates the absurdity of all religion, when you pull the camera back and view them all at once. I guess it's like a buffet now, where you can just mix and match the things you like about all of them. I'll never be able to wrap my mind around why modern man still clings to this garbage. People only believe because of indoctrination, following the herd into delusion and a distorted view of the world, all based on lies and deception. To each his own I guess.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • deter

      This is about Christianity. If you don't believe in it, then don't come here!

      April 3, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Chez

      deter, why don't you kiss my ass?

      April 3, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  20. Jose Sanchez

    Next Lent, try giving up religion.

    April 3, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Trent

      Do it now and avoid the rush.

      April 3, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Alex in Bremerton, WA

      I grew up Lutheran and was taught to be good all of the time. Unlike the Catholics who celebrate Mardi Gras and then are super good during Lent to make up for their naughtiness.

      April 3, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • Haggy999

      Actually Alex devout Catholics are taught to fast on fat Tuesday. I fasted MArdi Gras and Ash Wednesday.

      April 3, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • Ted

      Lutherans have always celebrated Lent...it's not a Catholic-only anomoly.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • Scarf

      Every year my wife mentions something she is giving up for Lent (she is devout Catholic). This year she is giving up vodka and just drinking wine. What a sacrifice. I, of course, always repeat my same "sacrifice" for Lent which is to give up reading any fiction which definitely includes the Bible, Quran or any other religion fiction. I also gave up any association with any church affiliated with the "Church of Pedophiles" as I accurately call the Catholic Church. I always feel wonderful this time of year.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Sam

      Just because some people who happen to be Catholic made horrible decisions and took advantage of their power in the church doesn't mean you can group all people of that faith into the category of "pedophile."

      April 3, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • deter

      Why would I do that?

      April 3, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Peter G

      @deter – Nobody expects a clueless git like you to do anything intelligent. Don't worry about that. Just keep trolling.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Rob

      Why would you say something like that? What do you get out of mocking the beliefs of others? Is it so hard to accept that some people believe something you dont?

      April 3, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • angelosdaughter

      Of course Lutherans have always celebrated Lent; their founder was an erstwhile Roman Catholic Augustinian monk.

      April 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • jbg

      I know plenty of people who grew up as proper Lutherans where were taught to be "good" and such, and quite a few of them are complete jerks every day but Sunday. Religion doesn't make people good or bad or naughty... sometimes it contributes to it, or makes them be "good" one day out of the week, but is not the sole deciding factor.

      April 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.