Monday, 23 February 2009

On Needing A Vice

It will not surprise you to learn that I am dull, but it may surprise you to hear that I have only just realised quite how dull I am. I came to this conclusion while considering Lent, and what I could give up for it this year, which led me to realise that I do not do very much that is not essential to existence.

I don't watch TV, smoke or drink immoderate ammounts of alcohol. I don't even really eat chocolate. I do not buy unneccessary amounts of stuff, and I rarely go out for coffee. So I cannot give these up for Lent, because that would be pointless.

There are a number of suggestions in the media, but none of these have helped.

For instance, many people seem to be giving up the Internet for Lent this year. Now I object to this because my work involves the Internet, and therefore I cannot give up the Internet. There appears to be a craze for giving up Facebook, but essentially Facebook is my social life. I could give up my mobile, but I'd be unlikely to notice, which rather defeats the point of giving it up.

Last year, you will remember, I did the Carbon Fast, but it's not that easily repeatable (I cannot get more cavity wall insulation than I already have, for instance (well, unless I build new walls, I suppose, but that would be silly); likewise, there are only so many times you can turn the central heating down by 1 degree before it just gets... well, cold.).

Now please understand that it's not that I think I have to give something up for Lent, or that I get bonus points for doing so, which will stand me in good stead when I try to get into Heaven, for we can readily see that this would fundamentally undermine the doctrines of Justification by Faith, Salvation by Grace Alone and Chocolate Being Not That Bad Really; it's more the principle that it would be nice to have the choice.

In short, what I'm saying is that I need a vice, and all suggestions are welcome.


Wandering Photographer said...

At the risk of falling into the Sillypedia trap...take your pick:

I suspect that the "list" is a rather loose interpretation of "vice" though. Is "indecision" a vice? How about "despondency"?

I just don't see the point in lent though. It strikes me as an unnecessarily flagellatory process "ooh, whoa is me ... I hath given up the fat of suckling pigs ... look at me and wonder at my piety. I doth suffer!"

On a more practical level:

qmonkey said...

but is lent really about giving up a vice? is it not about trying to do with out something you've become dependant on... to see if you can. i (maybe surprisingly) LOVE the idea of lent. It could be giving up some good habit, like eating fruit or exercise(if youve become a gym junkie)

give up church for lent. seriously. God told me directly that you should do this. now why-oh-why would you not do what god told me you should do?


Wandering Photographer said...

Um, excuse the spelling mistake - that should have been "woe" not "whoa". I'm not a horse! Nay!

whynotsmile said...

WP, you are excused the spelling mistake. You are also quite right that demonstrations of piety are not the point of lent. In fact, I am not sure that one should mention one's self-deprivement at all.

I think indecision is definitely a vice, but I'm not sure whether to give it up for Lent.

QM, I don't think Lent is about giving up a vice... my point is that when I was considering what I could give up for Lent, I found that I don't do a lot that's dispensible. And hence I decided to develop a vice, to make me more interesting, not just so I can give it up for lent.

I think it is also acceptable (and more useful) to take something good up for Lent. i mean 'acceptable' as in 'I won't laugh at you', by the way, not as in 'thy shalt not be smote from on high if thou dost this'.

I can't give up church, I'm on the computer next week. And then creche the week after.

Anonymous said...

why not try "doing" something for lent - give up some time to help others? Just a thought!

jools said...

just as long as you don't give up blogging ... my google reader would be very sad !!!