Thursday, March 02, 2006

Blogging as spiritual practice

The big idea behind Lenten services this year at my church is
spiritual practices. So I got to thinking during the Ash Wednesday
sermon last night: maybe this blog should be my Lenten spiritual

Am I full of myself, or what? Such a betrayal of the modesty learned
in my Lutheran upbringing! As the pastor pointed out in his sermon,
Lutheran spirituality has always been thought to be an oxymoron. In
our great justified-by-faith eagerness to avoid works righteousness,
we dare not do anything that smacks of trying to earn heaven.

Came across a better idea this morning, in a seminary magazine (a
Lutheran one): "Spiritual practices are ways we learn to 'ask, seek,
and knock' at the door [that] Jesus promises will not be closed to
us." Ask, seek, knock--things I need to learn to do.

The Ash Wednesday bulletin cover grouped spiritual practices into
four categories: repentance, prayer, fasting, and acts of love. (Or
was that list in the sermon? Or in both places? My bulletin went into
the recycling bin in the choir room. But parts of the sermon are
preserved in that untidy recycling bin otherwise known as my brain.)

Oops. Another problem. This blogging idea collides with Jesus's
words in the Ash Wednesday gospel lesson: don't practice your piety
in public. This blog is a public place (though whether I am
practicing piety here is open to question. Usually I'm aiming for
impiety. Or at least irreverence.)

But let's put it to the repentance-prayer-fasting-acts of love test.

Repentance? In asking questions, I am repenting of accepting easy
answers. (Though I may also need to repent of needlessly complicating

Prayer? I am trying to think about serious and not-so-serious stuff
mindful of the presence of God. Sounds prayerful to me.

Fasting? Since writing, for me, is often fueled by snack food, there
will be no serious dieting here. But maybe working on this blog will
cut back on the time I waste every day at Still, jigsaw
puzzles help me think. Perhaps writing every day is a discipline akin
to fasting.

Acts of love? I will write with others in mind, showing love to them.
I will also show love to myself.

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