Giving Up Sex for Lent

My friends' fast from sex gets to the heart of Lenten discipline.


03/05/2008 09:04:12 AM

For a person who really does not have a sex drive this would be the easiest thing to give up for 40 days... Practicing Abstence would be the best bet of prevention of any types of STD's that is already out there...


03/02/2008 04:07:32 PM

I have been celibate 10 years,Most of my life has been celibate, I was married,always thought that being with another person was very special and somehow sacred. grew up 1950 / 60's, free love was the standard, been an outcast since. what makes being sexually expressive with many people progressive, enlighteneing, freeing and modern. I never worried about STD's or HIV and, shuffling through lists of partners just for the experience. seemed like a lack of respect, giving my body to numerous strangers.I mourn for the trashing of feminine honor and how quickly we accept our surrender as some progressive, new thought requirement. When easy, whore, slut, etc. are no longer part of our language, then maybe things will be different. Looking forward to more years of celibacy, all the struggles included, but also the respect and consideration that it brings. It's only sex, not a permanent blissed experience, in the scheme of things it brings nothing but physical sensation, children, anger, jealousy and discomfort.


03/19/2007 11:50:42 PM

I think giving up sex for Lent is brilliant. A lot of my friends laughed and didn't think I could make it, but I'm doing pretty well so far. As for my dashingly handsome live-in fiance, we had a very active sex life before now. It's made us really appreciate each other outside the bedroom. I definately think it was the right thing to do. I love sex, but coming closer to my future husband is much more important.


02/28/2007 11:08:13 PM

BTW, I am most definitely not a Catholic and do not recognize Lent, which I find to be an especially religiose ritual. However, I am intrigued by how my Catholic friends "observe" Lent. For example, a friend of mine said he gave up wine for Lent. So...he drank a beer with dinner instead. We'd all share a laugh over how he was being "such a good Catholic boy." Ditto for a friend who gave up chocolate...she gutted it out with butterscotch, caramels, etc., again fulfilling a solemn Lenten vow. So, getting back to the couple in question, they could fulfill their solemn Lenten vow to God, not have "sex" (as in intercourse) for 40 days, but they could simply get creative and... ...did I mention my friend gave up wine for Lent and just drank beers instead? ;-)


02/28/2007 11:00:16 PM

Has anyone already asked how a couple who has resolved to "give up sex for Lent" celebrates Fat Tuesday...? ;-)


02/27/2007 11:37:59 PM

This is an interesting concept. I would try it, but somehow I don't think that giving up something that one doesn't have would mean too much to God.


03/12/2006 11:56:23 AM

I have read in the bible that it discourages masturbation. I can not quote the book of the bible but I know that it is in there.


03/16/2005 10:01:04 PM

How is masturbating paying the Creator for your sexuality? Isn't it a selfish act? I think being married and only having sex with your spouse is the ultimate repayment to the Creator.


03/07/2005 01:32:52 AM

"And if I get past the 40-day "masturbation fast" without backsliding, I should find it easy for me to never go back to masturbating again" stevienicksfan, why would you WANT to never masturbate again? Giving it up for Lent is one thing (I'm abstaining just on Wednesdays and Fridays, but then I'm a horndog! *g*), but a life-long starvation to the healthy functioning of *the body that God gave you* seems like a poor way to repay your Creator for this precious gift. IMO. The idea that receiving the pleasure that God built into our bodies is some kind of "crime against chastity and purity" (or "self-abuse") is one of the Roman church's more lurid (and Gnostic) delusions. Fie upon it! (Do I think that Jesus masturbated---other than the "40 days/40 nights"? See above re "body's sexual functioning is a precious gift from God"!) Now, if only God would grace me w/ a partner with whom I could *contemplate* giving up (for Lent) sexual relations . . .


03/04/2005 02:53:28 PM

I must admit I did not read the entire article...I had to respond to just the poll.... I have to say NO. I would not give up "sex" w/my husband for lent. Sex to me is more than a "thing" to do with someone.. It is the most wonderfull way to connect with each other that God created. When my husband and I look into each others eyes we are closer than we could ever be. I waited to have sex till the person I got married too. So to me it is not something to "give-up" for anybody/thing. Just my opinion =).


03/04/2005 02:27:35 PM

Oh, puleeze! I am a Catholic and this type of anti-Catholicism is exactly the kind of fuel non-Catholics look for to admonish us for being non-Christians, heathens, and statue worshippers. Give us a break! Find something more meaningful to write about that is God-centered! Grow up! Get a life!


03/02/2005 03:17:32 PM

I think giving up sex for Lent is an interesting idea. Hadn't ever thought of doing so before. I think it is one of the most profound sacrifices in married life to abstain from sexual relations for a greater good.


03/01/2005 01:04:39 AM

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02/28/2005 05:03:16 AM

I think giving up sex for Lent is a good idea. Even if you are married. It disciplines your body, helps you control your lusts, and gets you closer to God. Since I'm single, still a virgin, and do not plan on ever getting married, I'm going to try and give up masturbation for Lent, even though I am a Christian, not a member of the Catholic church. And if I get past the 40-day "masturbation fast" without backsliding, I should find it easy for me to never go back to masturbating again (I still do not believe that masturbation is wrong, though, even for mildly developmentally disabled Christian women such as myself, since it isn't mentioned anywhere in the Bible as being wrong or right. It is a matter of one's own personal choice, not a sin, as far as I'm concerned!).


02/27/2005 09:11:55 AM

Hi, I am new to this board, just today actually. I think that it is great that a husband and wife can think so deeply about a subject as "having or not having" sex. It was a personal choice but they conversed and set it as something they feel was important for their walk in Christ. Could I do it? For that reason or any? would I feel that something that means so much to me as the closeness of my wonderful spouse be put away for a time? I don't know but what I do know is they have decided together. If I could have had one conversation about a deep and meaningful subject that involved just us two, maybe I would still be married today. bndtz2


02/26/2005 07:07:50 AM

proserpina: The verses Genesis 7:4, Exodus 34:28, Matthew 4:2, Mark 1:13 and Luke 4:2 each contain the phrase "forty days and forty nights". The first of those verses concerns Noah's flood, the second concerns Moses's fast on the mountain and the last three verses concern Jesus' fast in the wilderness. Notice however that neither the poll nor the article mention anything about "forty nights". It might seem to be something of a loophole. At any right, as a Muslim, I am only expected to abstain (when fasting) during daylight hours - so I responded "yes" to the poll. The poll only asks about abstaining for "forty days".


02/23/2005 05:50:15 PM

It seems to me that a person's Lenten discipline is a private matter. Why has this couple's Lenten practice been broadcast for the whole world to know about?


02/23/2005 12:16:01 PM

What a great boast to all their friends and relatives.WE ARE GIVING UP SEX FOR FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS. So now the whole world knows this. What a soap opera this is becoming, yeah man red carpet for them all the way to the pearly gates. DO not pass go do not collect your 200bucks, you are definately in boys and girls. Wow how could they do such a thing and survive I just dont know.


02/23/2005 04:57:44 AM

yaya--WHAT is a trick question/


02/23/2005 04:56:30 AM

btw, this couple isn't truly "fasting" from sex, they will have 'sex dates' , if you read the article. I see nothing wrong with it, although, I don't know that I'd pick that. The person who said, it brings us some discipline, and turns our overfed and oversexed minds elsewhere is right. Except it is also true,as was said that it wouldn't work for everyone. Also, it is not ALL sex, [as in masturbation] i's sex betwen those 2.


02/23/2005 02:40:11 AM

It's a trick question, windbender. Hint: It rained for forty days and forty ______? (I answered in the affirmative.)


02/22/2005 08:52:25 PM

I notice a poll to the left of the posts that asks about giving up sex for forty days. It would be interesting to see how the split breaks down by age and gender, wouldn't it?


02/22/2005 10:00:07 AM

I bet Sharon and Greg never knew what it was like to be single for a long time, because if they did they certainly wouldn't be giving up sex.


02/22/2005 09:40:52 AM

Give up sex for 40 days - I don't have to as God hasn't blessed me with a relationship right now! So if I were lucky enough to be in a relationship with sex involved and it happened to be Lent, I definitely wouldn't give up sex. Why should we give up something pleasant and beneficial like sex if God blesses us with a good partner? Why not give up gossiping and backbiting, or being impatient and pushing ahead in queues? Better still, take up something for Lent like being nicer to others, or praying for someone who happens to annoy you. And make a habit of it after Lent. I think God would prefer us to be nicer to people during Lent (and to make a habit of it afterwards) than to go around sexually frustrated and irritable for 40 days on His behalf. If He's blessed you with a good partner, enjoy sex 365 days of the year if you can and spread the happiness!


02/22/2005 08:57:27 AM

In answering the question, what good would giving up sex do for you? Try it sometime! I wouldn't take it as far as 40 days, but 2 weeks with no sex can be a great way to revive a relationship, especially if there's been a slight miscommunication or misunderstanding.


02/22/2005 12:44:34 AM

On reflection, it occurs to me that somebody might take offense a Muslim such as myself asking, "What would Jesus do?" My apologies. But what about a comparison itself of those two passages (Matthew 4:1-11 and Matthew 14:13-20)? Also, Matthew 4:11 seems (to me) to suggest that Jesus was afterwards attended to by someone else, rather than working a miracle to feed himself, after that whole trial of temptation (according to Matthew 4:1). Again, I'm sorry if that comes across as offensive in some way. Peace!


02/21/2005 10:36:57 PM

Someone wondered what the purpose of making such sacrifices would be. I wonder to what extent the feast of the multitudes, as described in Matthew 14:13-20, might be attributable to the sort of self-denial shown by Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11. Had not Jesus come to know hunger, even in abundance, would it have seemed as likely to occur to him to do anything for the "uninvited" multitudes – rather than simply take his disciples' advice and leave the multitudes to fend for themselves at mealtime? Regardless of any of that, it seems generally accepted by those who believe in Jesus that Jesus could, in a practical sense, do whatever he pleased. However, had Jesus done whatever he pleased, where would that have left those who believed in him? Then Jesus said to him, "Begone Satan! for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" --Matthew 4:10


02/21/2005 08:14:57 PM

She's Italian, does that answer your question? You're too sweet and very kind. About the only thing my bride would share would be the funeral expenses.


02/21/2005 07:53:21 PM

windbender... I get your point...I usually do. And I absolutely agree...and is your wife willing to share you??? Peace <


02/21/2005 06:51:35 PM

Maybe it's just me, but I think of sex in terms of what it means to give to someone else. If I were to take a pass on it as something I was giving up, I'd be looking at its value as something merely received. Maybe this makes no sense. Let me try again. It would be like saying that I was going to give up fixing my bride the pudding she loves so much (alternating layers of fudge and white chocolate Jell-O) as a sign of devotion. I enjoy fixing it for her, true enough, but giving it up as a sacrement? I don't think so.


02/21/2005 01:26:21 PM

40 days? Try 4 months...and counting. Healthy girl in her mid-20's living in a large city. And believe it or not, in our hypersexual, crude and oftentimes crass culture, where everybody's doin' it, I am actually in the company of many that haven't had it either. 40 days is no big deal.


02/21/2005 06:31:59 AM

I must admit to being envious of married couples who are in a position to make this sacrifice. As the other post noted, there are way too many marriages where one partner totally closes out the other. Technically,then, there is no marriage. So, these Lenten "abstainers" must consider themselves blessed.


02/20/2005 08:53:15 PM

Give me a break! If you read the 5th paragraph of the acticle it says: So, says Sharon, she and her husband will have, um, sex dates on the weekends. That frequncy is actually typical. They are not abstaining at all, unless they are guinny pigs.


02/20/2005 05:17:41 PM

Watsy, I just don't want my husband to discover that line! ;)


02/20/2005 11:46:30 AM

To ahcdore, you raise a valid question concerning the holiday of Lent, it was man made, sometimes we view something man made as negative, however, there are good man made observances, in remembering the final 40 days of the Lord Jesus Christ's life before His death on the Cross, we reflect on the commitment and seflessness of a Man whose Divine orgin still remain a mystery to some, if not most. He gave up the Glory, to Live, suffer and Die, but for the World? A world that hates Him? Sometimes we give up ourselves to the things so worthless, and there are many, however it shouldn't be worthless to give up ourself for someone who is, at least, willing to love you.


02/19/2005 05:43:13 PM

watsy, alas I only heard about it within the last year or two. Way too late for me to have tried it out of the house. But important knowledge nontheless.


02/19/2005 05:26:06 PM

Ooh, the day after Lent ends is going to be just epic in the Sharon and Greg household.


02/19/2005 05:13:14 PM

watsy, Its worked for me (with my wife, of course).


02/19/2005 03:17:33 PM

That sounds like a line you may have tried a few times, nnmns. Did it work?


02/19/2005 03:03:09 PM

Why do we have to give up anything for Lent or any other artificial, church created holiday or ritual? God certainly doesn't care if you indulge or not. She made it for us for our enjoyment and our multiplication. Fasting once in a while has beneficial physical results if done carefully. What good does abstinence from sex do, except increase a man's chance of Prostate Cancer?


02/19/2005 11:20:54 AM

I wonder how it's going with those folks. I wonder how many have found a substitute activity (heh heh). I hope the guys realize it's unhealthy not to flush out the old prostate every so often.


02/18/2005 09:18:23 PM

Hell, I only see my girlfriend once every 60 days or so; giving up sex for 2 months is SOP. You could say I was giving up sex for Lent and it would be true (I'm seeing her the week after Lent, coincidentally). Just don't tell my mother.


02/18/2005 08:22:49 PM

What I want to know is how much chocolate a person would have to give up before they were finally offered the world. Until then, I suppose, get me behind thee (or at least from betwixt you and your Lord). But notice I didn't suggest they expect some other person to go without. There seems to be something about mutual consent. Oh, and seemingly no substitutes either.


02/18/2005 05:07:54 PM

LOL BC, how true. :-)


02/18/2005 03:27:03 PM

For the parents of small children, giving up sex for 40 days isn't a sacrifice- that's normal.


02/18/2005 03:06:20 PM

I didn't mean that having sex indicates a lack of control; I meant that having so much that it is difficult to give up (which is typical of options of things to give up for lent) could indicate such.


02/18/2005 03:03:29 PM

How about having lots of sex with the same partner? Enjoying sex on the occasion you have it is still enjoying's not the quantity but the quality... "Heck, besides the continuation of the species, whats so special about sex?" If you have to ask, then it must not be for you...but please don't look down on those who doesn't mean their evil or lack control or whatever low opinion you have of them... Peace <


02/18/2005 02:50:51 PM

I don't get it....what's so special about giving up sex for Lent? Heck, besides the continuation of the species, whats so special about sex? Seriously...modern society would have you believe its not normal to walk to the grovcery store, buy some milk, and have some sex on the way home, but what society thinks and what society is seldom mesh well. Frankly, I view people having a lot of sex (as in multiple partners, several nights a week) as having very little to no self control. Controlling physical urges is one of the features that place us above animals, although MTV seems to have forgotten that..


02/17/2005 11:06:03 PM

Praise the Lord! And thanks, watsy.


02/17/2005 11:00:04 PM

My apologies. I didn't mean to be rude. Welcome, RKlisch. My inquisitive mind got the best of me.


02/17/2005 09:46:32 PM

From one homemaker to another, watsy, is this how we greet newcomers (to beliefnet)?


02/17/2005 09:42:29 PM

Thank you, RKlish. That was very nice.


02/17/2005 09:32:55 PM

I didn't know that I had a kundellini. Does this have anything to do with a "cosmic orgasm?"


02/17/2005 09:23:26 PM

If you are going to abstain, then you ought to benifit from it, not just do it as some guilt disipline. You should learn about celebacy from the Yogis. Channel your kundellini up your body. Turn the sex energy up to the highest chakra. This can lead to celestrial joys. Take a lesson from the east on this one.


02/17/2005 07:53:30 PM

I don't think that we know if Jesus died a virgin. Purpleku69- Stop that! You'll go blind.


02/17/2005 06:59:21 PM

I'll stick with my personal favorite--giving up giving up anything for Lent.


02/17/2005 06:37:02 PM

When I was a teenager, I gave up masturbation for Lent. I actually made it all the way through, but I was VERY cranky!!! P.S.--It wasn't worth it.


02/17/2005 06:13:44 PM

badger539 wrote; "One would be that in fasting or undertaking additional religious observances during Lent (e.g., going on a retreat, spending more time in prayer or meditation, undertaking a lenten study, increasing one's attendence at church, etc) we are imitating Christ. How does abstaining from sex . . . ." If the idea of denial at Lent is to imitate Christ, I feel compelled to ask, how much sex did Jesus have? I believe Jesus didn't have any sex, so to imitate Jesus would also be to abstain?


02/17/2005 05:58:06 PM

"He fasted for forty days and forty nights..." (Matthew 4:2) The glory is your Lord's.


02/17/2005 05:55:45 PM

Yahya... Priceless!!! Peace <


02/17/2005 05:43:33 PM

The poll said nothing of forty nights. I answered yes.


02/17/2005 04:58:25 PM

From the looks of the poll, ain't too many people having GOOD sex these days...or you wouldn't be able to say so easily you could give it up for 40 days... I was quite surprised by the poll's results... Peace <


02/17/2005 04:49:43 PM

I confess that I'm a Muslim. That having been said, I think that the meaning of Lent might be learning to command the world without succumbing to it.


02/17/2005 03:46:33 PM

This is a continuation of my previous train of thought. I believe there are various schools of thought about the undertaking of a lenten discipline. One would be that in fasting or undertaking additional religious observances during Lent (e.g., going on a retreat, spending more time in prayer or meditation, undertaking a lenten study, increasing one's attendence at church, etc) we are imitating Christ. How does abstaining from sex . . . .


02/17/2005 03:37:18 PM

Maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake. While I agree that we may be in general an overfed and undisciplined society, oversaturated in materialism and sexual titillations, I somehow fail to see how giving up sex goes to the heart of a Lenten discipline. I'm even an Episcopalian, and I don't get it. I could understand abstaining from sex for some spiritual or theraputic reason (for example, if one's manifestation of sexuality were evidence of some underlying pathology) but why pubish the fact? Lauren, why are your friends telling you this? I could speculate about titillation, prudery or love of singularity. But I state again, I fail to see how abstaining from sex goes to the heart of a lenten discipline.


02/17/2005 03:31:13 PM

Easter doesn't glorify the death of Jesus. It glorifies the Resurrection. That's the super duper Good News. Who said that I don't like sex? It didn't sound too great for mymonkey's wife.


02/17/2005 02:38:28 PM

What is so special about Lent that people would consider giving-up sex for that time? Christ was supposed to be with god at the time humanity was created, and Christ supposedly lives with god in heaven as I write - Christ as a god did not die? To perceive that Christ isn't in a better place in heaven is to denigrate both heaven and god? Christ in the body of a man supposedly had the powers to heal the sick and raise the dead, and all through his time on Earth, Christ was aware of his status as a lesser god than his father? How could a god like Jesus suffer, surely it was just symbolic? What satisfactions do people get out of glorifying what has recently been portrayed as an orgy of blood and guts, and in any case, what sort of a god would force a lesser god to suffer, and would that sort of god be worth worshiping anyhow?


02/17/2005 02:29:19 PM

Fromoz: you have unusual ideas about what distinguishes human beings. It is already more than apparent that biological processes do not distinguish us - chimpanzees have hair, fingernails, tool use, and even grooming. Giving up sex - or as you do meat on Fridays - for Lent goes precisely to the heart of what distinguishes us from animal. Human beings have, for whatever reason, been blessed with the faculty to ask that question, "Why are we here" and seek for some idea of an answer. Animals can know. But only humans can know that they know. Understanding what knowledge is (the very symbolic difference we take on in the Genesis mythology) is at the very heart of our quest for God. Someone giving up sex for Lent may be doing no more than trying their best to fulfill that quest - just like Adam's outstretched fingers on Michaelangelo's frescoe.


02/17/2005 01:51:24 PM

If sex for humans is seen as being "natural" it puts humans in a category with all other animals, and not as many religions claim, that humans were divinely and especially created. If people seem to act like animals by copulating at the drop of a hat, they would seem to be rejecting the notion of divine and special creation. In my more religious moments and in a wide variety of religions, I enjoyed fasting and doing special things for that particular God. I still have fish on Fridays as a reminder to contemplate the cycle of life, my existence and how I could become a better person. If people want to give-up sex for Lent, that's OK with me. It seems the World runs on take, take, take, and it's good to give-up some things, as a reminder that no matter how divinely created we might like to think we are, that in the end we are no better off than animals, and have to give-up life and surrender to death.


02/17/2005 01:39:56 PM

I believe in giving up and taking up something for lent. I think that all the joking that is going on pertaining to this subject is disgusting. We have completely forgotten about Christ and all that he went through for those 40 days. Relatively a short amount of time for what HE accomplished for us. Shame on all of you.


02/17/2005 12:38:15 PM

brother foxfrog, how 'bout giving up agnosticism for Lent? peace.


02/17/2005 12:37:07 PM

Sadly, this is the typical Catholic view (and, well, Christian view in a lot of ways)that sex is dirty, wrong, and bad. God made us as sexual beings...he put a VERY strong sex-drive in us...a very strong sexual attraction mechanism in us. Watsy, it's shame you don't enjoy sex...that's too bad. I hate the perception that women don't enjoy sex...I've known many women who really do enjoy it, and have just as much of a gusto for it as men. Sex is beautiful, but like anything else, can be abused.


02/17/2005 11:21:28 AM

A) mymonkey, your jokes are tasteless, please keep them coming B) How about giving up being Catholic for Lent? Try some other faith, perhaps. After all, I do get tired of feeling guilty for everything. Some people have wild hearts and spirits and religion puts such limitations on what we want. Give up sex for lent? Why? I enjoy sex with my girlfriend. How about giving up bad habits instead of things we enjoy? How about just the guilt?


02/16/2005 09:30:44 PM

Personaly, I favor giving up Lent for sex.


02/16/2005 07:46:57 PM

Altho I agree with some of what Lauren says (yes our society is sex-saturated and overfed) and I could agree with a person abstaining from sex for a spiritual or theraputic reason (for example, if a person's sexual activities were a manifestation of some sort of pathology) I'm a little uncertain about a couple announcing their intention to abstain from sex as a lenten discipline. I'm not saying one couldn't or shouldn't or wouldn't do so, but why tell me? Titilation? Prudery? Love of singularity? I disagree that this goes to the heart of a lenten discipline. Remember that Germam monks (who presumably gave up sex entirely) drank beer during lent to sustain them in their fasting.


02/16/2005 05:00:27 PM

How about giving up work for Lent? [g]


02/16/2005 03:12:17 PM

Those of us practicing NFP have no need of giving up sex for lent. We are disciplined in our sexual practice.


02/15/2005 03:11:45 PM

Can I give my female perspective as to whom it would be a blessing?:)


02/15/2005 03:09:20 PM

If I may observe - he didn't say to which of them it would be a blessing.


02/14/2005 11:26:34 PM

brother mymonkey, would you consider giving up bad jokes for Lent? um... at least I hope it was a joke... and isn't it said that there is much truth in jest? peace, brother.


02/14/2005 09:54:39 PM

I wouldn’t consider not having sex with my wife for forty days a sacrifice; more like a blessing.


02/14/2005 04:42:46 PM

Regarding conjugal rights: "Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement, that you may devote yourselves to prayer… I say this by way of concession… each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another." (1 Corinthians 7:5-7)


02/14/2005 04:25:12 PM

"I believe that evil emerges when we deny and repress the spirit of God within us, and good emerges when we recognize that spirit and joyfully let its light shine forth from within ourselves and between each other." I believe this to be so true. Paul calls them the fruits of the spirit.


02/14/2005 04:20:07 PM

I think that if we could replace the word "sin" with the phrase "doing that which harms ourselves or another," maybe we wouldn't disagree so much about the nature/evil of sin. I don't even think that we would disagree about whether we need to repent.


02/14/2005 04:18:45 PM

If one isn't inclined to reject scripture, 1 Corinthians 7:5-7 clearly seems to accommodate the notion of abstaining from sex (by mutual consent) for the purpose of enhancing prayer. ;)


02/14/2005 03:35:55 PM

Yes, Sir. Every day of the year. I was sticking with Lent for the sake of the article. By the way, "Watsy" from whom the name was taken was a "Sir." I'm a Ma'am.:)


02/14/2005 03:12:54 PM

only lent? every day of the year, sir.


02/14/2005 03:09:44 PM

Lent is a time of repentance. Jesus taught us how to repent. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then offer your gift. (Matthew 5:24). Lent is a time to reflect on God's grace. Grace is God's willingness to love us regardless.(Titus 3:4-5)His grace does not come without expectations. "A new command I give you: Love one another.As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:35) Give up sex? Piece of cake compared to that commandment.


02/14/2005 02:43:03 PM

eating chocolate at lunch, I started realizing that I could be more thankful to God than I have been... and that thought warmed my heart... so I think I'm going to work on thankfulness to God during Lent and beyond... and give up on giving anything up... peace to all.


02/14/2005 02:27:12 PM

People who bandy about the "Salvation is not of works" quote of St. Paul without any context are poor esigesists. They attempt ro represent the quote as though it advocates the kind of lazy "Baseball Christianity" (home! Your safe) so popular today. It does not. St. Paul spent much of his time fending off Judaizers, those who asserted that to be members of the Christian community, you had to observe Jewish law and become de facto converted observers of Halachah. When he speaks against the "works", he speaks against circumcising for salvation. This is not what Lenten observation is. Giving things up for Lent is your expression to God of how sorry you are for your sinful nature. It is one's seasonal affirmation that one is committed to the grace so freely given, that we are willing cooperators with it. What silliness to conflate St. Paul's opposition to Judaization of Gentiles with baseball Christianity.


02/14/2005 02:13:10 PM

PS to previous: Human effort, to me, has absolutely nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is a concept alien to my beliefs because I don't believe God condemns us; indeed, the phrase "God-damned" is self-contradictory. Whatever may follow this life is not ours to know; our task is to make good and noble use the gifts God gave us in this life--physical strength to work, rationality to discern the right course, and spirit as the wellspring for all that makes life worthwhile. Thus, I agree with your position that Lenten self-denial has nothing to do with pleasing God, but whereas you come to this conclusion from a premise of hopeless guilt redeemable only by a savior's sacrifice, I come to it from a premise that God wants us to have life abundantly, here and now. What may come after here and now is God's business, not mine.


02/14/2005 01:52:02 PM

From your subsequent messages, strefanash, I think our basic disagreement is that you define your own human limitations not merely as imperfections but as sin and in fact evil. I don't know what kind of god you worship, but mine does not produce garbage fit only for burning. Yes, we must acknowledge our own imperfections and accept responsibility for the consequences of our imperfect actions; but responsibility is not guilt. You sneer at temporary sexual abstention for Lent as being meaningless to God, yet you see fit to point out your own prolonged celibacy with the comment that it has availed you nothing. I'll ask the obvious question: what's the point? To turn your life into a demonstration of the futility of human effort? I think the message of Jesus was about spiritual aliveness, not futility. But again, I'm a heretic, so my views can be dismissed.


02/14/2005 01:23:39 PM

scripture is clear. salvation is not of works lest any man should boast. it is a free gift. and has to be as sin is so deep and man so helpless in the face of it but the common religious impulse of man is self righteous. it wants salvation not to be free that man can purchase it and feel he is good for making the effort. and so what does the church do? it waters down the law of god which law was given to show how helpless we are, and so imposes some token observances like lent, confession, the sacraments (not that the protestants and any better). do you want an ordinary hard life, or something marvellous and delightful


02/14/2005 01:17:31 PM

I m not railing about giving up sex for 40 days because I refuse to give up sex. I have been celibate for 12 years. and it has not done the slightest amount of good as regards my righteousness before God


02/14/2005 01:15:32 PM

if we understand the difference between sin and temptation much is clarified. If we have an inner urge to fornicate or desire unlawfully or retaliate this is not temptation to be resisted whereby strength of will is relevant. IT IS ALREADY SIN. our effort is too late, an expression of sin, not the cure of it. if the inner urge is sin (yet we call it temptation) what is temptation? easy. it is the external circumstance, and resisting tempatation then comes to be what we commonly call not being tempted at all so, instead of struggling hard for either a token 40 days or for 25 years as i have done (hence my passion on this subject) i can avail myself of the grace of God which is much easier than the proud self righteousness of religious observance. but it does require my admitting i am evil and that my effort is self righteous fultility and an afront to God, but the ultimate result of giving up the forced effort of such under the leading of the Holy Spirit of christ is rest, joy and peace.


02/14/2005 01:09:00 PM

what is the basis for the inference that because Jesus was tempted by Satan after his fast that his fast made him stronger? what in him was likely to be enticed into sin such that he had to be strengthened against it. If he was the sinless son of god then he was not in such a position. . also i ask what is the basis for thinking that "strength", presumably "strength of will", is required to resist temptation? more


02/14/2005 12:51:09 PM

It is not my intention to provoke you further. Yet I don't see how refusal to give up something pleasurable yields greater willingness to sacrifice so as to attain something more worth having. Strefanash: neither the giving up of something nor the not giving up of something is of the slightest relevance. as I quoted before from the bible. God is not interested in any sacrifice we can come up with. trying to placate god by sacrifices of our own making is paganism.


02/14/2005 11:38:04 AM

strefanash, If sin is defined as imperfection, then yes, we will all fail in any attempt to "give it up." Imperfection describes what we are, beyond what we do. I just see no point in using a loaded term like sin if all we are talking about is imperfection. This would include failure to live by scriptural precepts with perfection. This is at the core of why I reject basic Christian doctrine--the notion that I am condemned bu God (unless I believe that Jesus is lord and savior) for being what God made me to be. Yes, I am imperfect. Big deal. Notwithstanding the above, I agree that transient and symbolic self-denial may have meaning for some people but is irrelevant to God. I'd also agree that trying to live in a manner more worthy of the spirit of God within us (you call it giving up sin) should be a lasting change rather than a temporary cessation; but I disagree with the idea that failure to become perfect makes the effort futile.


02/14/2005 01:22:25 AM

You seem to have strong feelings on this subject, strefenash. It is not my intention to provoke you further. Yet I don't see how refusal to give up something pleasurable yields greater willingness to sacrifice so as to attain something more worth having. The point seems to go beyond simply avoiding sin. The point seems to involve abstaining from legitimate pleasure, in order that you might be trusted with having more left to your discretion. May peace be upon you.


02/13/2005 11:31:24 PM

for those who think that the only critique of lenten religiosity stems from envy of same i will say: if you must give up something for God, give up something that really matters. Not just a token pleasure. And don;t just give it up for a mere 40 days a year as if god were stupid enough to be impressed by that token gesture. Give up sin, and give it up FOR GOOD. For example. try controlling your tongue, and to see what should be controlled look at St James and the Sermon on the Mount I tried this, bypassing frippery and tokenism, I failed utterly, as the Bible said I would. if we can't give up sin giving up chocolate or sex is an irrelevant trivia


02/13/2005 11:25:18 PM

the thing is giving up X or Y or Z (which means repressing the desire for the thing by force) is not what the bible means by self denial. O klnow Jesus said "deny yourself" he also said "he who would save his own life will lose it". . the whole mentality of making sacrifices for God as if his sacrifice for us were not enough is the attempt, in the fact of all scripture, to save oneself, and as the Man said he who owld sae his own life will lose it


02/13/2005 10:00:47 PM

I don't understand the big deal. I have been married for 28 years and there have been a number of times my wife and I have had to do without each other for more than 40 days. Doing it as a means of focusing on prayer and penitence is as old as organized relegion. It isn't a question of could you. It is a question of whether or not it is appropriate. For this couple, it is. So What?


02/13/2005 09:48:22 PM

Perhaps self-denial could render us worthier of efforts to lead us astray. In other words, if we didn't consider self-denial itself to be a sufficient reward then perhaps self-denial might lead us into more exquisite or at least more interesting forms of temptation. Mind you, I'm not promising you the world – not even if you perform the most amazing feats of self-denial.


02/13/2005 12:43:35 PM

Frankly, I think a lot of the people condemning this on the mini-board are people who are upset for little reason other than they are simply uncapable of this themselves. I don't blame them. Few are up to such a thing, and Jesus himself said not everyone was up to being a "Eunuch for the Kingdom." But don't let our envy cause us to condemn those who can! As for this: "If Jesus would have lived longer would he have come to the same conclusion as the Buddha that suffering as inevitable as it seems can be transcended?" Um... you do realize this is... how to put this delicately... very nearly the entire point of Easter? Jesus didn't just "conclude" about transcending suffering. Jesus himself *IS* that transcendance.


02/12/2005 06:35:07 PM

Jo Lo is going to be so disappointed. !


02/12/2005 06:25:25 PM

The season of Lent is simply the anticipation of Easter, Christ's return to Life and therefore our own. Lenten fasting, therefore, ought to be about shedding the old, dead skin and preparing for a new life, much like a snake sheds its skin each year as it grows in Life. If one abstains from food or sex out of an empty sense of duty, one will only end up hungry and randy! It's got to be for a reason and be relevant in the real world. Many Christian writers talk about Christian life being a "window through which light (God) shines into the world." The light shines through better when the window is clean. Think of it in terms of spring cleaning! I know my window is pretty dirty, and I want to cooperate with God as he cleans my window. It is not about "pleasing God" or doing an "empty good work." It is about getting myself out of the way and letting God do his good work!


02/12/2005 04:49:39 PM

I'm suprised that the author of the article seems unaware that the Eastern Orthodox routinely give up sex for Lent, and it used to be a common practice. That's WHY they don't do weddings during Lent. I also think your Lenten practice should reflect where you personally are at. If you are already neglecting your spouse sexually (and that is very, very common), perhaps your Lenten practice should be to show your wife (or husband) MORE physical love.


02/12/2005 01:43:12 PM

fasting is something i struggle with, i realize the strength it imparts, and i understand the gnostic and buddhist principle of getting beyond bodily desires. seems dangereous to me...40 days without sex. i have to give up my ritual smoke for 30 days to get a job so why not give up sex...oh, i'm not supposed to be having sex either since i am not married anyway, i forgot. what an amazing spiritual experience sex is in itself, how much closer can we get here on earth to extreme bliss? add some @@@@ why should we deny ourselves and why should that be the essense of the life and tragic death of Jesus? If Jesus would have lived longer would he have come to the same conclusion as the Buddha that suffering as inevitable as it seems can be transcended? Maybe that is what fasting is about...


02/12/2005 11:13:13 AM

Giving up sex for Lent is a fine example of the subconscious dualism in Western Christianity that polarizes body and spirit. A healthier goal might be to reconcile body and spirit during Lent, perhaps by spiritualizing sex through Tantra or mindfulness practices.


02/12/2005 04:52:24 AM

Perhaps such effort could leave us worthier of the effort required to lead us astray.


02/12/2005 01:04:36 AM

looking at the lives of us religious people when we are not fasting or going to church, when we are not being self consciously "christian" (reminding me of the article here about the sex lives of students) we see that our efforts are mere and empty tokenism. this is a gross insult to God. look at Isaiah chapter 1 "who ordered of you this trampling of my courts?" Answer, well, He did. but not the tokenist mentality behind their "obedience" read the rest of the passage If you'd rather fornicate than fast do not mock god by going through a set of empty motions as if you think he is so stupid as to be fooled by such. and if our lives do not become more loving (look at when our guards are down) after our effort, our effort was still tokenist insult to God. either repent (being set free from the specific sin forever) or give up the sham. you only deceive yourself and anger god by this pointless religous observance


02/12/2005 12:54:45 AM

Lauren winnner:there were already all sorts of prohibitions about conjugal sex. Many church fathers preferred singleness to marriage, and only grudgingly acknowledged marriage as a viable station for a Christian life. Strefanash: and the so called church father's loathing of sex and marriage is the mark of the false prophets that St Paul warned would arise and deceive the church after he had gone. What doeas the Bible say "sacrifice and burnt offering i [ie God]take no delight in" and "obedience is better than sacrifice" when christians talk of lenten sacrifice they flout scripture openly, contribute to the delusion that the christian life is meant to be hard and persuade unbelievers that christianity is otherworldy and anti life. the effort is wasted so why make life hard for the sake of effort?


02/12/2005 12:54:33 AM

strefanash, I agree with you here. In my posting below, my conviction that I should refrain from indulging in vitriol has nothing to do with trying to please God. It is about doing what I think is right.


02/12/2005 12:48:24 AM

Giving up anything in the hope of self improvement is absolutely pointless and a self righteous affront to God. No inner impulse to sin is dealt with in fact the issue of sin is not even approached let alone addressed. and those who do this have a worthless dead work of religion to feel smug about. that being the case not only do i refuse to give up anything for lent, I would not dare considering it, and this for the safety of my soul. legalist effort is an affront to God (read Galatians for a start) and the appeal to Jesus' 40 day fast is utterly specious


02/12/2005 12:16:05 AM

Giving up something sensual--sex, chocolate, whatever--is not nearly as difficult as giving up a prejudice, giving up the impulse to hate. A few minutes ago, I reacted with hatred on another list, after reading multiple postings that I found not merely offensive but outrageously offensive. In doing so, I let myself be pulled into their murky universe where heat and rage overwhelm rationality and composure. I am not a Catholic, or a Christian of any sort, but I regret that outburst and resolve to give up such push-button reactivity, which makes me not one whit better than those I have found to be offensive. But the tough thing is, it does no good to give it up for Lent and then go back. If something is wrong, it should be given up for good. First day, and counting....