40 Days of Writing, Day 1 Lent, 2015

February 20, 2015

It took only 2 hours before I broke my first Lent fast this year.  2 hours.  We finished our first Ash Wednesday service, I walked down town to offer ashes to the people I encountered along the way, came back just in time for a 9am meeting and afterwards went to my office to finish my sermon for Sunday.  From time to time, I will take a mental break, read the local newspaper online, or some other news site.  I found an article that grabbed my attention, read it all the way and then clicked on the “comments” button.  My Lenten fast is to not read comments on any… ANY articles.  It is a bad habit, a time suck and I never feel enlightened by the words written there.  Quickly people are divided by other commenters into camps of either full of shit, bat shit crazy or racist.  Really.  What part of this feeds a person’s heart or soul to leave these kinds of thoughts on a total stranger’s article- or even in reply to another total stranger’s comment?

There is so much garbage that I consume on a daily basis.  I am embarrassed to even try and total up the time spent reading and then reacting, rarely ever responding but either way, it is always in disbelief at how we are, how I am easily put into a box, labeled and discarded with a second thought.  Why do we do that to each other?  I am guilty of doing it too.  I am guilty of unceremoniously lopping off segments of my neighborhood- my neighbors near and far, based on one disagreement.  I find myself thinking, “Yep.  They are full of shit.” or “They must be bat shit crazy.” or  “They are definitely racists.” based on one 3 sentence comment.

I don’t want to be that kind of person. I don’t even know how these kinds of comments became socially acceptable, but they are.  We have stopped engaging in discussion and have jumped real quickly to dissension, divide and displace.

I was a member, for a brief moment, of a group on Facebook specific to the Episcopal Church and the vitriol that took place in that group just pushed me right over the edge and caused me to leave a group- a group I would have loved to call community, but could not handle the lack of Christian love.

I would rather spend the time I previously used in reading comments some other way.  I don’t know exactly how I can use that time but I hope to figure that out soon.  Today, when I caught myself breaking my fast, I stopped, asked for forgiveness and prayed.  And then finished my sermon.

Life is too short for this- remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return…comments and all.

Oh Lord, hear my prayer.

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