Lent

The Lent Project Week 3: Digital Detox Media Fast

20150218_the_lent_project_banner What does the “life to the full” that Jesus invites us into look like? How do we find it? And what if the comforts, securities, and pleasures surrounding us might actually distract us that life?

We’ll be asking these questions throughout Lent and, each week, we’ll experiment together with a specific practice of denial and fasting to help us stand in solidarity with the Majority World and seek the life of abundance Jesus promised. Each week of Lent will involve stories of practice, hearing the words of Jesus, and invitations into a shared week-long experiment.

Week 3: Digital Detox Media Fast (full schedule here)

We spend 35.2 billion hours on Facebook and Youtube each year. The equivalent of 9 full DVDs worth of media content are received by each of us each day. We see hundreds and thousands of images and ads on a daily basis.

Each day these messages are forming our brains, hearts, and lives. We're shaped by what we see.

During this week, we invite you to:

(1) Turn off all media (computers, tvs, tablets, phones, etc.) each day from 8pm-8am. (2) Instead, tune in to silence, rest, and community. (3) Catalog your journey using #TheLentProject hashtag.

The Lent Project: Denial, Solidarity, Life

What does the "life to the full" that Jesus invites us into look like? How do we find it? And what if the comforts, securities, and pleasures surrounding us might actually distract us that life? 20150218_the_lent_project_banner

We'll be asking these questions throughout Lent and, each week, we'll experiment together with a specific practice of denial and fasting to help us stand in solidarity with the Majority World and seek the life of abundance Jesus promised. Each week of Lent will involve stories of practice, hearing the words of Jesus, and invitations into a shared week-long experiment.

  • February 18 - Ash Wednesday Online Liturgy (www.abluedoor.com/ashes)
  • February 22 - Invitation to the Extras Purge, Steward Team-hosted Family Meeting (during the Gathering)
  • March 01 - Invitation to Essentials Only (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • March 08 - Invitation to the Media Fast (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • March 15 - Invitation to the Comfort Fast (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • March 22 - Invitation to the Environmental/Commuter Fast (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • March 29 - Invitation to the Majority World Diet (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • April 3 - Good Friday Passion Sojourn
  • April 5 - Sunrise Hike + 5PM Easter Gathering

Today is Ash Wednesday

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the 40-day journey of Lent.

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These 40 days are deeply symbolic in our Christian faith. As the next 40 days pass, we remember the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering from God - attempting over and over again to save themselves, relying on their own strength and understanding. Like the Israelites, our plans - as good as they may be - will not suffice. We cannot save ourselves.

During these 40 days of Lent, we remember the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, facing isolation and temptation. Unlike the Israelites, and unlike us, Jesus - Lord and Messiah, as the true son and image of God, remained faithful to the father, making a path in the wilderness, preparing the way for the good news of God’s salvation to be extended as a gift of grace to all creation, and to us.

Us. the lonely. the wandering. the broken and the breaker of others. the mourning and the bringers of sadness. the sinful. the hurting. the addicts. the prideful. the deviant. the afflicted and the inflictors.

During Lent we recognize that on our own, our path leads to death and decay. To ashes and to dust.

In Genesis 3, the rebellion of creation against the creator results in a series of curses. The snake, the tempter, is cursed. The ground is cursed. Human beings, male and female created in God’s image, are cursed: for dust you are and to dust you will return.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and we remember how true that is: for dust you are, and to dust you will return.

As we move through Lent, we'll consider the life of abundance that Jesus invites us into and question the things that keep us from embracing life to the full. Aaron Niequist, a liturgist and friend of Open Door, has created an experiential liturgy of confession and penance that we invite you to enter into today.

This liturgy - A New Liturgy No. 3: Lord Have Mercy - is available as a free download from Noisetrade this week and is beautiful starting place for the journey we'll be on together.

A New Liturgy No 3

Would you join together with us on this Ash Wednesday to take twenty-five minutes for the journey of this liturgy?

Lent Project: Extra's Purge Resources & Ideas

On Sunday, April 13th, we'll launch the final of The Lent Project's 6 Practices of Intentional Denial: The Extras Purge. During this week, we're inviting our community to take an inventory of all of your belongings.  How many extra coats, shoes, appliances, electronics, shirts, pants, dishes & pans, etc. do you have?  Face your excess and live generously as you purge your extras.  Perhaps you could initiate an exchange with other friends, donate your extras or give them away.  Perhaps you could pool your extras together with those in our Circle and host a garage sale.  Perhaps we could take an inventory of the surplus of Open Door’s extras so that we could meet tangible needs of those within Open Door as well as those we’re connected with.  If money is raised, what will you do with it?  How could you pool it together with your Circle to invest in the flourishing of others?

Here are some creative ideas for what you could do with your extras:

  1. Host a garage sale by yourself or coordinate one with your Circle or your neighborhood.  Pool the proceeds together with your Circle or others and contribute it to a kingdom-weaving cause that you believe in.
  2. Donate your extras to the local Goodwill, Walnut Creek Presbyterian's Deacon's Cottage, or St. Paul's Trinity Center.
  3. Combine your extras with others and host an exchange or imagine a 2nd-hand boutique experience in collaboration with an organization serving the poor that you believe in. (i.e. The Michael Chavez Center serving Mexican immigrants on the Monument, City Team or Bay Area Rescue Mission serving the homeless and formerly incarcerated, or New Day for Children serving recently trafficked young women.)

An ODC Story: Bekah Polzin on Majority World Diet

We're officially half-way through The Lent Project.  This 6-week journey of intentional denial is unearthing parts of us that are unsettling as well as inspiring new, simpler and more generous practices that we could integrate into our everyday lives.  In this reflection, Bekah Polzin reflects on the experience of Week 3's Majority World Diet where, for 5 days, we stood in solidarity with the majority world by eating oatmeal for breakfast and rice & beans for lunch and dinner.  Thanks, Trade As One, for the incredible resource! Here's Bekah's reflection...

I’ve never fasted or practiced giving up food. I’ve never eaten a specific diet for a period of time or done a “cleanse” of any kind. This week I learned that I’m not that good at it. I prefer to eat what I want, whenever I want it. It was a reminder of the privileges I have and a quick way to gain perspective.  

It didn’t take me long (like, by lunchtime day 1) to realize that I think about food a lot. It didn’t surprise me to read a “Trade as One” email informing us that on average we make 227 decisions about food in ONE day. We are consumed with food.

What should I make for breakfast? What do the kids want? Should I get a cappuccino today? Should I just make a coffee at home? Regular or decaf? I’m so hungry – I need a snack. I’m getting a chill, maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee. What should I make for dinner tonight? I need to go to the store, what food do we need? And on and on.

What became clear to me throughout the week was the correlation between being fed by worldly things and being fed by Christ. Its true, God created us to need nourishment. But like many other things in our lives, food becomes the focus and not God. When the week was over and I finally ate a substantial meal, my first thought was, “I want more.”

What would our lives look like if we thought about Christ 227 times a day? Or instead of planning the next dinner party to perfection, we sat in prayer and invited God to be in our conversations around the table. Or instead of buying the 18th Starbucks for the week, we share the love and bought one for someone unable to treat herself, or use that money to support a greater cause. 

I was struck by this verse during this process:

My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ's sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory. 1 Peter 4:12-1

What If we each brainstormed 227 ideas of how we could intentionally love God by loving others through preparing, serving, or sharing food? Imagine the creative ways we could bring glory to Christ!

The Lent Project :: Descriptions & Details

Lent is a 40-day journey in which we practice denial in an effort to recognize the distance between who we are and who we’re becoming in Christ.  It’s an ancient practice designed to help us embrace our humanity, recognize our ongoing need for a Savior, and encounter grace in refreshing ways.

This year, Open Door will practice Lent in a unique, communal, and experiential kind of way:

The Lent Project: Six Practices of Intentional Denial.

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Throughout this journey, we will engage in six different practices of denial and, in so doing, create margin to commune with Jesus in silence and solitude, community with others, and solidarity with the majority world.

Here’s how it’ll work:

At each Gathering during the Lent Season (March 9 – April 20), we will initiate that particular week’s practice.  Then, for the next 7 days, we’ll live it out (Sunday evening to the following Saturday evening).  For those of us in Circles, we’ll meet together to process, storytell, and learn from each other throughout the week.

If you’re not currently in a Circle but would like to join one to journey through the Lent Project with others, contact Heidi & Clint.

Here are the 6 Practices of Intentional Denial:

  1. Media Fast :: Turn off all media (Computers, TV’s, iPads, iPhones) from 8pm-8am.  Replace the time that would normally be spent engaging media with silence, rest, and community.  This first experience will prepare you well for the next five. Media Fast will be launched on Sunday, March 9th.
  2. Essentials Only :: Reduce your spending to the essentials: bills, toiletries, and 3 simple meals/day.  Simple meals should be prepared and eaten at home (brown-bag @ work) rather than out and should include pot-luck style shared tables with others.  This experience will help us face our consumerism and convenience spending while also helping us to consider budgeted and generous living.  What will you do with the money that you didn’t spend?  How could you pool it together with your Circle to invest in the flourishing of others? Essentials Only will be launched on Sunday, March 16th.
  3. Majority World Diet :: Eat on $3/day by utilizing Trade As One’s majority world diet kit.  Each kit contains enough rice and beans (& preparation instructions) for one person for five days.  This experience of intentionally simplifying your diet will help you stand in solidarity with the majority world and will help you understand how much money you actually spend on food every week.  Note: the average savings per person will be $75-$100. What will you do with the money that you didn’t spend?  How could you pool it together with your Circle to invest in the flourishing of others? Majority World Diet will be launched on Sunday, March 23rd.
  4. Comfort Fast :: Give up either your bed (sleep on the floor) or warm showers (cold showers are acceptable) for the week.  As we stand in solidarity with the majority world, allow Jesus to awaken us to our preferences for convenience and luxury.  If you’re really up for a challenge, give up both! Comfort Fast will be launched on Sunday, March 30th.
  5. Environment Fast :: Make decisions to reduce your gasoline consumption by at least half.  This could include utilizing public transportation or the casual carpool and/or walking and biking rather than driving.  This may include tele-commuting rather than heading into the office and turning down your water-heater. No doubt, this experience will continue to help us confront our convenience and should reduce our commitments for the week.  What will you do with the money that you didn’t spend?  How could you pool it together with your Circle to invest in the flourishing of others? Environment Fast will be launched on Sunday, April 6th.
  6. Extras Purge :: Take an inventory of all of your belongings.  How many extra coats, shoes, appliances, electronics, shirts, pants, dishes & pans, etc. do you have?  Face your excess and live generously as you purge your extras.  Perhaps you could initiate an exchange with other friends, donate your extras or give them away.  Perhaps you could pool your extras together with those in our Circle and host a garage sale.  Perhaps we could take an inventory of the surplus of Open Door’s extras so that we could meet tangible needs of those within Open Door as well as those we’re connected with.  If money is raised, what will you do with it?  How could you pool it together with your Circle to invest in the flourishing of others? Extras Purge will be launched on Sunday, April 13th.

As you engage this pilgrimage as an individual and in community with others, here are some questions to take you deeper into the experience and into intimacy with God, self, and others:

  1. What challenge am I / are we experiencing?
  2. What does this practice expose about me / us?
  3. What is helpful about this practice?
  4. What is one highlight from this week?
  5. What is Jesus saying to me / us?
  6. What am I / are we going to do about it?
  7. What will our Circle do with the excess $$$?