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LENT
March 8, 2006
7:55 pm
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Rasputin
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Lent has started last week today on the 1st of March, which also known as Mardi gras or Ash Wednesday which announces the beginning of Lent.

It marks the period when Jesus Christ was in the wilderness and was fasting and praying for 40 days. Some churches even claim that it was even more than 40 days, 45-47 days.

I would like to know from All Christians Denominations (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox), what are the customs, traditions, and condusts of this season in ALL churches, both spirit-wise, custom-wise and other-wise?

I remember we used to go to church on Ash Wednesday and the priest would put an ash as a sign of a Cross on our forehead marking the start of Lent which starts off by fasting till 12pm and then abstaining from eating meat, except for fish.

I learned from some churches once that they even abstain from all animal products including dairy products like cheese.

Also it is a period marked by so much prayers, petitions, intercessory prayers for others, almsgiving, charity, reaching out to help others unconditionally, showing Jesus love by forgiving others...etc.

What are your customs, what else do you know about this season of Lent?

Also as a spiritual person, what are we supposed to do during this period. What is the best way to fast in our chilly American weather.

The Lord Jesus Christ was living in a hot country that is different in climate than ours. Thus it makes it easier for someone to fast.

I am planning to start to go church this Sunday, I haven't been to church for a long time and I would like to observe or be aware of some other customs during this season Lent.

Usually when I fast, I tend to skip a meal. That's all I can do. On good Friday, we would fast till noon during which we go church and then my mom would cook Lentil soup.

((((Wishing you all a Happy and Blessed Lent Season!))))

PS: Since the The Holy Bible is focused on the Judeo-Christian culture, I would love to hear from our Jewish brothers and sisters if they have any thing similar to Lent (Passover, I think) and some history, customs and background about it.

Thanks folks!

~Ras~

March 9, 2006
7:09 pm
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Rasputin
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Bump up!!!!

Any responses????

March 10, 2006
7:53 pm
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Rasputin
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Come one guys, None of you celebrates Lent???

March 10, 2006
9:36 pm
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Rasputin,

I remember lent from childhood. I was raised catholic. I remember going to church on ash wednesday and getting the ashes on my forehead.

I always tried to give up sweets for lent but it was pretty hard thing for me to do.

I no longer trust the catholic church because of all the shame and guilt it provoked in me. I don't like the type of God portrayed by the catholic church.

I do however have a certain sentimental feeling about the catholic church because I used to go there with my father as a child and it was one time when I could count on him being calm. We always walked there and I would hold my father's hand.

My mother was not catholic so she was always at home preparing Sunday dinner. It was the day of the week that we had fried chicken.

My family was very poor because we were refugees but fortunately my father's boss rented us a house for very little money.

Also, I loved the stained glass and the incense and all the candles.

March 10, 2006
10:16 pm
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Thanks Kathy for your feedback!

I'm sorry you've had negative experience with your church. it reminded me of myself when I had negative "so-called Christians" who would treat us in a very condescending suprior way that really made me hate Christians.

I would tell you something Kathy. Finding a good church is a real challenge. It's like finding a good quality friend. That can take time, reserch, shopping around for church, relocating ...

I've been living at this place where I am right now for 8 years and 3 months and I am UNABLE so far to find a good church.

I will be going to a new church, hopefully this week and I pray it will be a good one.

I would say to you Kathy: Do not let negative experiences or nasty people drive you away form your spirituality. Remmeber that bad examples exist every where and keep searching and persevering.

I'm also sorry to learn that you lived thru poverty. I know a lot about poverty when I was unemployed. It really wreaks havoc on our life.

The amount of knowledge, wisdom and understanding you have show me that you are a rich person.

I hope you will have a better experience with some good church and that God will put the right resources in your path!

~Love, Ras~

March 10, 2006
11:08 pm
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Last year was the first year I fasted during lent. It was a food fast, where I had slim fast for breakfast and lunch, and spent my lunch hour in the Word.

This year I am doing something different. I am fasting from secular reading. I usually fill my head with horror and mystery novels, as well as true crime books.

Through the Lent season I am reading only spiritual/Christian books. I've already finished, "When God Doesn't Make Sense," and Max Lucado's "The Next-Door Savior," which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am now reading Max Lucado's, "No Wonder They Call Him Savior."

Interestingly, my nightmares of murder, death and raging have stopped.

March 11, 2006
2:13 am
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garfield9547
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Rasputin

When my daughter turned 12 years on the 1 March me and my husband learned about the word 'lent'

She could not believe that we did not know what 'lent' means.

She did a project in school on it.
I asked her what she has learned and how they see it.

'Lent' they were told is a sacrifice you do for God.

Like not eating something you like.

We are from a 'Christian' church and we do not celibrate 'lent'

It was interesting to learn about it.

Garfield

March 11, 2006
7:49 am
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Rasputin
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Jas - Good for you!!!! That's an excellent idea. I heard from many Christians about fasting for things we love such as chocolate (that would be my biggest challenge LOL), watching TV, snacks etc.

In your case giving up read on secular books is bright idea and yes you will start to have less nightmares and sleep better etc.

I remember when my sister was addicted to horror movies and our whole household became addicted likewise to those types of movies, I could not sleep well at that period. By stop watching those movies, sound sleep came back to me.

Keep up the great work Jas!

~Ras~

March 11, 2006
9:04 am
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Rasputin
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Garfield -

What Christian denomination your church belongs to?

Thanks for your feedback!

~Ras~

March 11, 2006
3:06 pm
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Rasputin

Apostolic

Garfield

March 11, 2006
4:35 pm
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nice guy
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I go to a Lutheran church but it is so big that you can almost get lost in it. There are 8 thousand members. It is like a small town. I jumped around to different churches for awhile but I think that how you get involved is more important than the church you go to. I used to be very active when I was living at home with my parents but as I got older I found myself sitting in the back row and ducking out when the service was over. Part of that was becase I am a shy person part of it was because as a single person it is hard to get involved. If you have kids to bring to sunday school or a wife to go to church with and get involved that makes it easier. The church is a little family orientated. I'm not saying that I can't get involved but it would be easier if I had kids or a family to go to church with. I still try to go every sunday. Kathygy have you tried a non denominational church before. I have been to a couple of them and they are refreshing. Something between Catholic and Lutheran. I would consider joining one but they are too far from my house. Try a non denominational church and see what you think. You might like it.

March 11, 2006
10:11 pm
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Rasputin
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Thanks Niceguy for your input. That's an interesting church, the Lutheran church to which I have never been b4 even tho I would love to go to.

Do you have Lent in your church? If so, how do you celebrate it?

March 12, 2006
10:58 am
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Rasputin
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Also Niceguy you mentioned the Non denominational church. That sounds like an interesting church. I would love to go to a church like that since I'm tolerant Christian.

I hope there is such a church in my area. Thanks for the suggestion!

~Ras~

March 12, 2006
2:56 pm
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nice guy
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Rasputin,
The Lutheran church does celebrate Lent and it is every Wednesday night at our church. Every Wednesday till Easter. It is a shorter service, about 45 minutes.
I would love to go to a Non Denomimational church also. If I move closer to one some day I will join one. They are a little more open to modern thinking than other churches and don't seem to judge people as much as with Lutheran or Catholic churches. They are really refreshing churches. They usually preach right from the Bible and then talk about it There isn't as much formal service. More of reading out of the Bible and talking about it. I really like that type of church. I hope you find one. It might be something that you can identify with. I sure could.
I am going to be out of town for a week for work so will check back next weekend. Have a nice week.
Dave

March 12, 2006
6:02 pm
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Rasputin
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Thanks Niceguy for your generous feedback, much appreciated!

Actually, I do love rites and rituals. What I don't like is prejudice and divisions within the Christian Church. I wish if the whole Christian church could be all united. So that we stop this racism, prejudice toward each other.

I do not believe a particular denomination is more correct or holy than the other. However, I believe there are out there some churches which are better than others.

Hopefully, since I am planning to relocate, I'm praying for good church in my new area, anticipating that God will answer my prayers. I know how difficult it is to be an isolated Christian. It is very crucial for a Christian to connect with other Christian believers. For this I am praying and trusting the Lord!

March 26, 2006
5:31 pm
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Rasputin
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Finally, I went today to church and it was a wonderful church.

I have been praying for a long while for a good chuch and finally the Spirit led me to a good church.

The service was beautiful, the choir sang good songs with melodious voices and the atmosphere was quite cozy, warm and friendly.

At the end of the service a gentleman approached me and invited me to coffee and conversation right after the service to which I welcomed right away.

During this coffee break, I was able to mingle with so many kind and friendly people. The minister shook hands with me and had a little warm conversation with me. And then a lady approached me and asked me if I would love to join her to Yoga and Bible study class.

At 1st, I was shocked! It did not occur to me that yoga would take place in churches. But, I was so excited to join and I said yes to her. This session lasted only 1 hour and I enjoyed it to the full.

It was a combination of analyzing a bibical verse and then practicing some yoga, streching workouts.

I enjoyed it to the full, tho I've had some cramps in one exercise. At the end, I thanked our mentor who was very sweet and kind gentleman and reassured him that I will be back next week.

I give myself a credit for going out today and praying and looking for a good church after a long period of being isolated as spiritual Christian.

The Lord indeed blessed my efforts for finding a good church in a not very spiritual city!

I strongly believe that no matter how strong our faith is; we really need the support, love and help of other Christian believers and communities. We cannot function all by ourselves.

Do you have similar story you would love to share? Oblige!

~Ras~

March 26, 2006
6:46 pm
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on my way
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I don't adhere to Lent. I always thought it orginiated from the Catholic faith...maybe I am wrong. But I have much respect for those who do.

March 26, 2006
10:57 pm
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nice guy
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Ras,
Good for you. I knew there was a church out there for you.
Nice Guy

March 26, 2006
11:02 pm
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readyforachange
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I am Catholic, and I believe it is a Catholic tradition, but I can't be certain of that.

I always laugh, because we were raised that we should sacrifice something during Lent. We always gave something up, but Sundays were a free day. My kids still do the same thing...my 15 year old gave up Fast Food, but today, he wanted me to take him out for fast food after church. The reasoning behind this is that Lent is actually 47 days when you count Sundays, so Sundays are free since Lent is supposed to be the 40 days leading up to Easter.

I also find it funny that Mardi Gras has turned into such a festival of extremes, if you will. Drinking, and indecent exposure...I don't think that was the original intent of Fat Tuesday. I think it was to go out and celebrate one last time prior to the beginning of Lent, but not to turn into a pagan and engage in all of the mortal sins in one night!!!

Ras..to answer your question, I don't really have a story regarding a church experience. I can share something that touched me very recently...my children spend time with their father, who does not go to church. When they are with me, we go to church every Sunday. We always have, even when my ex and I were married...the kids and I would go to church, and he would stay in bed. My son has begun to complain when I get him up for church on Sundays. But as we leave the church parking lot, he always says, "Mom, I'm glad you made me come. I always feel better when I go to church." I hope that stays with him throughout his life.

Oh, one more funny thing. My ex's sister always gives up alcohol for Lent. But they don't have any problems with alcohol in their family.....LOL!

March 27, 2006
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revelation
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ready....I am not going to tell all the girls in here about the sundays are free concept!!! Because, most of us have given up chocolate...and we miss it! So, if I tell them about sundays are free they might gorge themselves on choc's and then feel guilty!

In Ireland, most people use lent as an excuse to start the diet or give up smoking! I'm off the choc's and am also on a no-carb diet...so although it is a catholic tradition...the modern version of lent is kinda like a new years resolution thingy!! Actually, its good, because, it means that you have a second chance if you broke your new years resolution!!

Ras, nice story...well, you know yourself that I have recently started going to church, my faith had lapsed.and now I feel its getting stronger. Going to church gives me a sense of purpose...and it makes me feel better about myself and my life....so there you go...its a good thing for me!

March 27, 2006
8:11 am
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Rasputin
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(((Folks))))

I used to think that Lent is something Catholic. The truth is it exists in all/most Christian churches, even the Protestant church. It symbolizes the period when, our Lord Jesus Christ, spent 40 days in the desert and was fasting and the devil appeared to him and was tempting him.

This last week-end, I started to go a Protestant church and the minister talked about Lent and its symbol of Jesus spending 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan. There was a big Cross and he put a basket filled with desert stuff in that basket right below that big Cross.

I enjoyed so much that story and the symbols of Jesus' temptation by the devil in the desert.

I love chocolate and do make fudge brownies every now and then even during Lent.

I don't know what I will give up. But I am making a pledge to workout every day, I've been neglecting working out every day. As for food, I am planning to cancel out all the sancks I love such as: rice cakes, crackers, cookies....except for peanuts which I love and is quite healthy (does not cause breast cancer, I hope?) Am I right ladies??? Please correct me if I am wrong!

Also, I gave up eating meat during Lent except for fish. So with the lovely spring weather, I don't eat that much meat, tho I have some chicken thighs in my freezer which will stay after Lent.

So there we go. I am going meatless AND with the diagnosis of my oldest sister of having breast cancer; I am becoming VERY prudent as to what I put in my mouth like never b4.

Also, I am becoming very generous when it comes to tithing, almsgiving and giving away stuff I don't need to needy people. Any outfit, clothes that do not fit me anymore, I put it in that box available in our basement for Big brothers and sisters organisation.

Thanks all for your responses!

Please feel free to add more stories if you have some to share!

~Love you All, Ras~

April 2, 2006
6:08 pm
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Today I went to church and the service was fabulous. We had holy communion and the kids were sitting right at the front and the pastor was telling them the story about the baptism of Jesus.

After the service came the coffee break and I joined and the food was really nice. So I had coffee and lots of nice tasty stuff and was chatting with some ladies from my Bible study class. Then there was cake brought in and I heard someone say "Happy birthday" to one gentleman who birthday was today. So, he was cutting his strawberry cheesecake and giving everyone a slice. I tasted the cake and it was really delicious.

We did not have Bible study today. But we will resume next week.

Thanks Niceguy for the encouragement. I agree I was sure there was a right church for me out there.

April 2, 2006
9:32 pm
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nice guy
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Your welcome Ras.

Readyforchange, keep bringing the kids to church. My mom brought me to church every sunday and that has stuck with me even to this day. I still try to get to church every sunday if I can. As parents it is important to keep bringing the kids to church even if they don't want to go because it can be a part of them later in life.

Dave

April 2, 2006
10:59 pm
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I'm still on my fast from secular reading during this Lenten season. I've read some really good books, and some really hard-to-digest books. I picked up two more at the library yesterday: Something by Max Lucado (I can't remember the title right now), and The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. I know it's not about Divorce, but the title did catch my eye!

April 3, 2006
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Niceguy - I agree with you 100% about taking kids to church every Sunday.

Even tho my parents are not believers, they sent us to Sunday school every week. Those among us who went to church are more conservative, more family-oriented and more likely to have faith and church-going as part of our life, and vice versa.

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