If you open the pages of any legitimate version of an English Dictionary, it is unlikely that you will find the word ‘lentism’. In fact, even if you typed the word ‘Lentism’ into Google and hit the ‘search’ button, it will humbly ask whether you meant leninism, kantism, lookism or lentils. Ignore both avenues; we are creating the word right here right now.
Allow me explain to you how and why this word is going to be introduced into our vocabulary.
But what is lent anyway?
Let us take it from the top then, shall we?
A good chunk of Christian churches are currently marking what is known as ‘lent’. According to wikipedia Lent is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday. Still, according to Wikipedia, the traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial.
Onto the Lentism
Now that we have fair understanding of what lent is, we can now graduate to the gist of this Blog Post. What the hell is lentism?
Lentism is the practice of curving out some kind of association with the 40-day Christian period of fasting with the intention of convincing oneself and all those around one that the association makes one a better person, a finer Christian and it brings one closer to right hand of the God.
Now before any Christian can start hurling stones at me and calling for my head on a platter, I shall proceed to turn on the switch on a few more floodlights.
You see, for the period I have been a Christian (which happens to be my entire life so far) I have learnt a few things about this wonderful faith of mine. One of the more prominent lessons I have learnt is that when it comes to fasting, fewer people are willing to do it in silence – the vast majority want to be seen and heard to be fasting. Fasting is primarily an act of willing abstinence or reduction from certain or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. And this somewhat makes me wonder why people have to walk around with placards on their faces saying ‘Look here, I fasted.’
We are too loud
For starters, if you have to tell everyone that you are fasting, then maybe you need to re-think your reasosn for fasting. You may as well go out of your way and wear a t-shirt with the words “Fasting to Impress” so we know you are serious. And while still on the subject of fasting, if I call you up to go hang out with me and you say your reason for not hanging with me is because you are fasting, then I think you are missing the point. A number of holy books will explain that if you are fasting, wash your face, look decent and smile at those around you. There is no need to go around drumming up attention to the fact that you are going a few hours without a drink. Unless I ask for a reason, I see no need to volunteer one.
We are just pathetic
It’s already been mentioned elsewhere but I will mention it nonetheless; fasting is no excuse to leave your house looking like a thug and smelling like a he-goat. Take a shower, wash your face, spray some deodorant and look as decent as you would if you were heading for a six-course meal. Just because you are fasting does not mean you should look starved, emaciated and dejected. Wear a smile. After all, the fasting (from what I gather) is between you and your God. True, the people around you will give you the re-assurance that you are not in the fast alone but at the end of the day you must remember that some human beings are as interested in your fasting details as the President is in the plight of Single men who have failed to get married.
I have tried as much as possible to stay away from Lentism because I get the feeling the Lord will punish me rather harshly if I pretend. Some people do not give a rat’s ass. I do know a number of people who have curved out personalities from being known as folks who fast religiously yet they indulge in the most evil of things. Some of these people claim to be fasting from morning to evening but somewhere along the way they indulge in the most unhealthy of foods while doing the strangest things known to man – all because no one is watching them. The trouble with these people is that they have the assumption that as long as the people around you see you fasting, you are good to go.
As much as I am not the most ideal Christian to look at in terms of faith, I will most likely fast when I am serious about it. Unless there is reason for someone to fast, they should never just get into the act of fasting. Also, if you are going to fast because you want to impress a certain lady somewhere, remind yourself of certatin truths about humanity. We often lead lives we do not appreciate just to impress people we barely even know.
So while we take time to map out the possibility of staying alive through this lent season, let us attempt to stay away from Lentism. There is a chance that a few of us shall actually lose the plot and go all out being radical and all but at the back of our minds we should never forget the true essence of fasting which is going absolutely hungry to the point that you hate anyone who says anything about food or eating for that matter.
Other things too
Oh by the way, is staying away from sex regarded fasting? If Yes, then a few people are going to have to repent extensively and repeatitively. If No, then a few others have been lying to themselves quite a lot. Once again, I cannot and will not claim to be an expert at fasting but I will say that maybe the Good Lord should make things a little clearer for us. Is fasting just about not eating your favourite foods or is it about completely staying away from anything edible? A little more clarity on the issue.
One last thing – we are several days into the fasting period; can we get some kind of down payment on the rewards? Some of us may not last the entire period.
“Religious fasting is the best way to cure an anorexic’s spirit: in heaven her condition will be normal.”
― Bauvard, Some Inspiration for the Overenthusiastic
The Talkative Rocker
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