by Samantha Payne
Many Christian traditions observe the 40-day Lenten fast to reflect Jesus’ temptation in the desert. Some Whitworth students and faculty are participating in different ways.
LAURA VENEMON, SOPHOMORE
Sophomore Laura Venemon was born a Methodist, baptized Presbyterian, now attends a Pentecostal church and labels herself a nondenominational Christian.
Venemon attempts to practice Lent every year and is giving up dessert for the second time.
“I really try to, but most of the time it doesn’t work out,” Venemon said. “I just really needed a cupcake!”
Venemon said trying to cut out cakes drives her to drink more coffee and eat more fruit.
“The reason I do it is to remember God gave up something huge for us and so I’m going to give up something like desserts, and I’m obsessed with sugar so it’s hard for me,” Venemon said. “Every time I think ‘Oh, I really want a cookie!’ I just try to refocus on that sacrifice he made for us. That’s why I do it.”
CASEY ANDREWS, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Casey Andrews, assistant professor of English Literature, was raised Evangelical, baptized a Mennonite and now considers himself a nondenominational Christian.
In the past Andrews has had successful Lenten practices which he adapted to his everyday life, such as only eating meat on a Sunday; which he has kept to for around six years.
This year Andrews is finding it difficult to commit to his plan of exercising more, focusing on Yoga in particular.
“I’ve not had a very good Lenten discipline this year,” Andrews said.
Andrews said Lent is a commonly misunderstood practice often associated with feeling sorrowful and dejected.
“This is not about beating yourself up,” Andrews said. “It’s inviting you into a season of reflection.”
RYAN SUTHERLAND, SENIOR
Senior Ryan Sutherland is a nondenominational Christian who is giving up Facebook.
“I think it’s about giving up something to replace that time with bettering your relationship with God, to step back from the routine you usually do and shake it up a little bit,” Sutherland said.
Sutherland uses Facebook as his main mode of communication and is finding the loss difficult.
“The first couple of days were hard,” Sutherland said. “It pops up and it’s a thing I’m used to clicking on but I’m getting used to it.”
For Sutherland, using Lent just as a practice to better yourself without focusing on God is a good purpose but takes away the main point.
“It’s a good discipline no matter what, to not indulge yourself all the time,” Sutherland said.
KYLE LANTZ, RESIDENT DIRECTOR
This is Kyle Lantz’s first year as East’s resident director, and it’s his first year practicing Lent.
“I like the idea of the old church calendar, and being a part of what a lot of people across the world are doing in relation to Easter, so that’s why I’m actually trying to be disciplined for 40 straight days,” Lantz said.
Lantz is a nondenominational Christian who looks forward to the challenge of giving up reading sports articles online.
“When I’m bored the first thing that comes into my mind is to go look at espn.com, or Notre Dame football or something like that,” Lantz said. “I end up reading a lot of articles that I don’t really need to read, that are kind of pointless.”
Lantz said he is using the time he would usually spend scouring sports pages on something more meaningful.
“It’s not just about giving up something but doing something meaningful with that time,” Lantz said. “I am trying to read through the gospels in 40 days of St. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”
LAUREN NELSON, FRESHMAN
Freshman Lauren Nelson, who has been a Roman Catholic since birth, practices Lent every year.
In past years Nelson has given up Facebook, sweets and TV. She has successfully sacrificed something for 40 days every year and said she enjoys the challenge.
“It was kind of hard at the beginning but by the end of Lent I was like ‘I don’t need Facebook’,” Nelson said. “I could go 40 days without Facebook and I got a lot more done and it was actually more of a life thing, because I realized I didn’t have to have Facebook.”
Nelson has given up Facebook again this year after realizing she spent around three hours a day on it.
“I think people should do it just daily, not necessarily for the 40 days, but if you realize you’re on Facebook too much go and try 10 days without it, or 10 days without checking your phone every 10 seconds,” Nelson said. “Just give something up; it makes you appreciate it more.”
LAUREN FREY, SOPHOMORE
Sophomore Lauren Frey is Presbyterian and devoted herself to God when she was 8 years old.
“For me, I don’t believe that you have to give something up to prove that you’re devoted to God,” Frey said. “I think you can show it in other ways, just understanding what God did in those 40 days in the desert. If you understand that and you’re taking steps to live like that, I think that’s what it’s more about.”
Frey said the purpose of Lent is to refocus on God.
“I think it’s important if you’re doing it the right way, if you’re actually taking it to heart,” Frey said. “If you’re not just doing it for health reasons or just to say that you did it, like; ‘Oh, I gave up Facebook for 40 days, go me!’ No, that’s not really the right intention.”
Contact Samantha Payne at email@example.com.