Sunday, April 08, 2007

Of Beer and God, or ...

What I Learned During Lent

Many, but probably not all, of you know that I gave up beer for Lent. I decided to do this after Vanessa announced to me that she was doing it, which sounded strange to me since she drinks like one beer every two weeks. But I thought it sounded like a good idea. So, Fat Tuesday became Drunk Tuesday for me as I consumed all the beer we had in the fridge (four and a half bottles), and I swore it off for 40some odd days.

All in all, it was no big deal for me. A couple of times during Lent I thought a beer sounded good, but I was never tempted to run out to Fiesta Liquors and break my fast. A couple of times I was with friends who had beers, but they didn't pressure me to break my fast. (They did shake their heads at me and snicker a little bit, but I didn't mind.) I successfully went through Lent sans beer. And I think I learned a couple of valuable lessons.

First - and this may seem strange initially, but - I learned that I am not an alcoholic. And I think that is a valuable thing to learn. I like beer. [Insert your Homer Simpson joke here.] I like beer a lot. I like the taste. I like the comradere of drinking it with friends. I like the small buzz I get when I drink four and a half on Fat Tuesday. But I can live without it. And that's a good thing. It does not master me. I am not obsessed or addicted. Jesus is my master. His church is my obsession. And I think that's a pretty powerful thing to be reminded of.

Second - and this is an everything-I-need-to-know-I-learned-in-kindergarten kind of thing, but - I learned that sometimes it is just good to say no. I try to teach my kids that all the time. You don't have to have another piece of candy or watch TV or play on the computer. Sometimes it's good just to say no and learn that life goes on even if I don't get what I want. And for 40 days, life went on without me drinking beer. I still laughed and slept and worked and talked and prayed and served and did everything else I do.

So, that's what I did on my lenten vacation from beer. But it's not Lent anymore. It's Easter. Jesus is alive, and I am going to celebrate him and life this afternoon with a leftover turkey sandwich and some Masters golf and a tall glass of Shiner Bock. Here's to Jesus.


kevin said...

ah...a pastor who drinks beer. anyway, i have a question. why do u participate in lent?

Robb said...

My background is not steeped in the ecclesiastical calendar, and so it is sometimes awkward and incomplete when I attempt some liturgical practice. However, I have found that observing certain seasons within the Christian calendar greatly help me to break out of the cultural trappings of the holidays and recapture a sense of the mystery of them. Advents helps me be prepared for Christmas. And Lent this year helped me be prepared for Easter. Lent in particular keeps sacrifice on my mind. My sacrifices are so puny compared to Jesus'. Lent helps to highlight that for me. Have you tried it?

kevin said...

no i didnt participate in lent, but i did practice some fasting about 7 weeks, once a week, before easter, to strengthen my prayer life.