A question
0 comment Monday, September 29, 2014 |
This post is directed mainly at my Christian readers. As most of us know, tomorrow is the official beginning of the season of Lent, which includes the six weeks before Easter. But I am simply curious for personal reasons: is Lent now becoming widely observed by Protestants? I have been hearing from acquaintances (Protestant) that they are 'giving up' this or that for Lent. Now, this puzzles me because I associate Lent with Catholicism, though I understand that those denominations which have stayed closer to Catholic practices may also observe Lent. But judging by these articles I found, it seems as if Lent is now becoming a Protestant as well as a Catholic observance.
From Slate magazine, Protestants do the sober season and here is an article from a Presbyterian source:
In a year dedicated to John Calvin�s legacy, it is intriguing to note one thing Presbyterians cannot trace back to him: our practice of Lent. Those of us who choose to "give up" something for Lent are not doing so with Calvin�s blessing. More than likely Calvin would also be surprised to find Presbyterians wearing ashes on their foreheads at the beginning of Lent, because Protestants have historically avoided that practice. For many years Presbyterians and other Reformed Christians shied away from all things Roman Catholic. The timidity, of course, was something we inherited from the Protestant Reformation. In their efforts to free Christians from what they saw to be the oppressive rule-making of the Catholic Church in Rome, Calvin and other Reformation theologians sought to eradicate practices of popular piety that were not singularly Christ-centered. As with any major shift or movement, however, the pendulum swung so far away from Roman Catholicism that much of the Reformed tradition lost ties to some Christian practices that we are now moving to recover.''
This article from the Mormon Times (note the nod to 'diversity' with the picture at the top of the article) says
The Puritans officially disavowed Lent in 1645. And over the centuries, Protestants have tended to view Lent as a Catholic observance. But Vatican II bridged the gap and helped Protestants reclaim some of their traditions, the Rev. Hare-Diggs notes. As a boy, he remembers only the Maundy Thursday church services. Now his church observes Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and more.''
Now, I am not attempting to pass judgment on this trend; I am curious as to how widespread it is among Protestants. I suppose it's unsurprising given the trend toward erasing some of the longstanding differences between Catholic and Protestant.

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