Lent

I remember being in high school and all my friends participating in Lent. My best friend and I decided to give up pizza that year.

I had never heard of Lent in my family life or church life before then. We went to non-denominational churches that supposedly thought Lent was exclusive to only certain denominations.

My knowledge of Lent was fairly shallow. I thought that you gave up a food you thought you couldn’t live without from Mardi Gras until Easter.

I remember going home and telling my mom that I had decided to give up pizza for Lent.

She said, “Why? We’re not Catholic.” After that, I thought I was sinning by participating in Lent because we were not Catholic.

So I ate as much pizza as I could to prove I was a good non-Catholic Christian.

It makes me wish that I had the knowledge of and insight into religion that I have now. Obviously Sunday school taught me typical Bible stories, parables, lessons, etc. But I really wish I had learned some theology in Sunday school.

I mean, we teach kids the history of religion as told by the Bible. Adam and Eve sinned. Noah saved animals from God’s wrath. Jesus was born in a manger. He performed miracles. He was killed for being awesome.

That’s all we get. Children aren’t taught that modern Protestant Christianity is a branch of Catholicism. Catholicism is Christianity.

I was in a class in college. We were discussing how not every person of Middle Eastern descent is a Muslim. Just like not every American is a Christian.

I made a point that not all Muslims are extremist Muslims, and Christians did some pretty extreme violent stuff during the Crusades.

A girl in my class looked at me point blank and said, “That was the Catholics, not the Christians.”

This was in a college class.

I just wish I had learned more about the history of Christianity as told by the history books, not by the Bible. We get the parable stories but not the lessons as to how we got those stories.

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2 thoughts on “Lent

  1. I hear ya on Sunday Schools not teaching a whole lot of theology or Christian history. It would clear up a lot of misunderstandings among different denominations and different religions. I will say though that as someone who went to a church that started switching from Bible stories to intense theology quite early on in adolescents, sometimes I wish I could remember Biblical stories the way I once did because they are absolutely vital to having an adequate understanding of Christian theology, as well as when interpreting the Bible in the parts as compared to the whole. As very different from theology, I do think Christian history needs to be supplemented by outside sources, since the Bible isn’t primarily meant to be a history book. Outside books for studying theology are helpful as well, but the Bible is still the lynchpin as far as studying theology. However, outside supplements are incredibly helpful as they break down the complexity and logic. I would suggest Holy Scriptutes: a Dogmatic Sketch by John Webster. He is a systematic theologian–one of the best alive. Systematic theology itself is a highly academic, advanced field of study, and in this particular book, Webster describes the unbelievable elegance of theological and Biblical logic in a way that is in itself logically and theologically masterful, albeit dense.

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