The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, interim rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City and Genesis Covenant mover/shaker, says this Lent we'd ought to give up giving up for Lent as a sign of witness.
The economic crisis we face is complex and unrelenting. The tides of terror haunt us in every corner of the globe. Our own social and political institutions seem to be weak and getting weaker. Our environment is crumbling, but no one can agree on why or what to do. Our leaders seem trapped in a revolving door of blame....
But this Lent, I suggest we give up giving up. Instead, let us stand tall as people of faith and proclaim that we are neither victims nor losers, but free men and women with the wisdom and the will to face any challenge that history sends our way....
I ask us to have courage and confidence, to believe in ourselves and never give up — not because we are unafraid or unaware of what we face — but because we believe in the One who never gave up on us.
This is all pretty well summed up in the hymn "God of grace and God of glory":
Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore
This isn't just a simple pep talk. What Charleston's really promoting is a shift in worldview where, he seems to hint, Christians would be more predisposed to act and less so to cower, cover their ears, or click their tongues and tut-tut the world. If your response is "Duh," then maybe you're really getting the spirit of Lent.
And that's his second point. Lent, in a sense, is about trying, practicing, getting knocked over and starting again. The teaching is precisely contained within the discipline.