Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


One more Lenten week to go!

posted by Rod Dreher

Lent[1].jpg
I’m so sick of beans. I’m so sick of almond butter. I’m so sick of broccoli and hummus. I’m so sick of tofu. Please, Jesus, come out of that tomb and bring us some dadgum barbecue!
UPDATE: A reader informs me that this graphic, which had been sent by a friend without sourcing, comes from Orthodox blogger Stephen Freeman’s Robinson’s Orthographs series. They’re really funny!



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Matthew Redard

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:52 am


Cheesesteaks?



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Marie

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:17 am


How about baked corn chips and guac (or mashed up avocado with garlic, lemon juice & salt)?



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Cabbage

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:31 am


Lent is why God gave us hot sauce.
Yesterday, I noticed that my wedding ring is getting loose. I’ve got my first shopping-for-the-easter-basket trip planned for Sunday afternoon, and another two or three to fit in throughout holy week.



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baconboy

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:42 am


Well, if Jesus was down in hell rescuing the damned, at least the barbecue will be hot!



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TinaG

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:48 am


Amen Brother! Thank you Lord though for making Tex Mex food. I can tolerate beans a bit more if they are in corn or flour tortillas. And the avocado – the glorious avocado. It certainly must have been the real “apple” in the Garden of Eden.



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Julana

posted March 26, 2010 at 10:25 am


I see what I’ve been missing, as a non-Orthodox. :-)



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James P.

posted March 26, 2010 at 10:51 am


During the fasts, I honestly don’t miss the meat itself any more, although I do miss the convenience of being able to eat whatever. This week, my wife made a big pot of her awesome roasted vegetable chili with beans, which is my favorite soup ever, especially with a handful of chopped cilantro on top. Saving that one until the end of the fast reverses the downward trend of that line in the graphic by a lot.
And I agree completely with the comment about hot sauce. Good old Tabasco in excess makes every grain, vegetable, legume, bivalve, and crustacean satisfying. Those 19c Catholics who invented the stuff– and who still had an idea of what fasting and abstinence are–probably did so to make Lent a tad easier. Ditto with barbecue sauce.



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Matushka Anna

posted March 26, 2010 at 10:56 am


Hey Rod, our new parish has what they call “rib fest” on bright Saturday – you’re invited!



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Stranger

posted March 26, 2010 at 11:02 am


I want a steak so badly. I gave up meat (including fish) for Lent this year and it’s been harder than ever. Even harder than when I was a vegetarian and eventually a vegan. At least I still have eggs, yogurt and kefir to fall back on. Tried some faux meat and couldn’t finish it. I’m also sick of tofu as well as pasta and stir fry vegetables. Holy Thursday can’t get here fast enough!



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TheFirebird

posted March 26, 2010 at 11:25 am


Craving ‘cue in Philly= Fail. Shouldn’t have left Texas.
Signed,
Texas Orthodox



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Jake Meador

posted March 26, 2010 at 11:31 am


Rod – As someone who grew up Protestant, I’m not well versed in the fasting practices of the Orthodox during Lent. What’s a typical Lenten day look like for you and your family?



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Chuck Bloom

posted March 26, 2010 at 11:50 am


Seriously, pardon my ignorance, but is matzo ball soup NOT allowed? Good for what ails you including barbecue withdrawl.



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Anglican Peggy

posted March 26, 2010 at 1:09 pm


Hey Rod,
I second the motion for a more detailed description of Orthodox Lenten fasting.
Your Lenten fast ends on Holy Thursday? Why? or does it end on Sat before Easter Sunday? What is this bright Saturday where a parish can hold a rib fest thing all about?
Since Anglicans have a strong congregational streak, I imagine fasting practice varies alot from parish to parish. My parish though only refrains from meat, as a congregation-wide discipline, on Fridays in Lent. The other days of the week, its up to the individual what they give up. All are expected to observe the discipline of eating less food throughout Lent ie we can’t make up for what we give up by pigging out on some substitute.
Sundays are not fast days although we still practice moderation. In other words, still no pigging out, but we can have the things that we gave up. The idea being that there should be no fasting on the Lord’s Day, the weekly observance of Christ’s Resurrection.
Finally, we strictly fast on Ask Wednesday and Good Friday and our Lenten fasting disciplines only end after the Easter Vigil.
I am interested to learn of how Orthodox practice differs from the above. I would also be interested to learn from your other readers of the variations observed by their traditions/parishes.
PS. I can totally feel your pain, man. I gave up eating out as a personal discipline. Eating out is my main source of eating well, since I so don’t go usually go to much trouble when cooking for myself at home. I could go on a solid 2 week restaurant binge right about now. There are so many favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner places that I miss terribly. :-(
Come on, Easter Vigil!!!! Hallelujah, Christ is Risen indeed!



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Steve

posted March 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm


Matzo ball soup- YUM- would have to be parve.
Then again i’d rather give up one thing for a couple of months the gourging on matzo we start in a few days. Starting to sweat just thinking about being “stuck up” and bloated for two weeks by the time it gets through the system :)



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Susan Davis

posted March 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm


Technically, Great Lent ends on Lazarus Saturday (tomorrow), but I quibble. :)
Great & Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday, and it is a strict fasting week, too.
Bright Saturday is the Saturday after Pascha (Easter); it’s not Holy Saturday, the day before Pascha. The week after Pascha is called Bright Week in the Eastern Christian tradition.
Like Rod, I’m getting tired of the great fast—but the anticipation of Pascha gets you through it!



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jen a

posted March 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm


A few years ago we went to Easter Sunday brunch with our Orthodox Christian friends. It was positively frightening how much meat and dairy they consumed in such a short period of time. I4t was Orthodox Christians Gone Wild.



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Peterk

posted March 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm


I gave up to things for Lent Facebook and alcohol. Cleanse the mind, cleanse the liver
I have been sorely tempted during the past weeks to post a news story or comment to my Facebook page, but have resisted. This has been more difficult than avoiding alcohol. In addition I practice the meatless Fridays, so i have really been able to work on my fish recipes
I do know that after 40 days of no Facebook i’ll approach it with a different mindset



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Cecelia

posted March 26, 2010 at 5:18 pm


We’ve done fast on Wednesdays and abstinence Fridays – which is actually not as hard as what it sounds like you orthodox do. Tonight we’ll have fish with a garlic butter sauce and asparagus – however – because I cannot allow myself meat I am of course thinking about steak all day.



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Hector

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm


Boy, this thread is making me sad that I didn’t do a better job of Lent this year. Normally I fast from sweet things during Lent and Advent, but I was super stressed out about my grad-school qualifying exams at the start of Lent (which are over now, fortunately) and I needed sugar to get through them. I have been trying to abstain from sweet things since about two weeks into Lent though. I don’t eat much meat (besides fish) normally so that wouldn’t be much of a discipline. Oh well, I am definitely going to do more for Lent next year (and Advent too).
Anglican Peggy,
I think it’s great that you guys fast as a parish. I think there’s variation between individual parishes- most Anglican parishes do in my experience encouraging giving up something individually, and fasting during Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I am going to try to fast a couple extra days next week as well.
Have a great Holy Week!



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Hector

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm


Boy, this thread is making me sad that I didn’t do a better job of Lent this year. Normally I fast from sweet things during Lent and Advent, but I was super stressed out about my grad-school qualifying exams at the start of Lent (which are over now, fortunately) and I needed sugar to get through them. I have been trying to abstain from sweet things since about two weeks into Lent though. I don’t eat much meat (besides fish) normally so that wouldn’t be much of a discipline. Oh well, I am definitely going to do more for Lent next year (and Advent too).
Anglican Peggy,
I think it’s great that you guys fast as a parish. I think there’s variation between individual parishes- most Anglican parishes do in my experience encouraging giving up something individually, and fasting during Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I am going to try to fast a couple extra days next week as well.
Have a great Holy Week!



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Stephanie

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm


Thai food is keeping me going. Fresh rolls w/ sweet chili sauce & a shellfish green curry. 8 more days.



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Anita

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:00 pm


Rod, I see you used one of Steven Robinson’s Orthographs in your post but did not provide a link or give attribution.
His Orthographs are wonderful and deserve a mention. Here’s the link to the homemade soup Orthograph: http://pithlessthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/03/orthograph-65-5th-week-of-lent-again.html
And here’s a link to his entire archive of Orthographs: http://pithlessthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/12/ortho-graphs-archives_21.html



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Anita

posted March 26, 2010 at 8:03 pm


Rod, I see you used one of Stephen Freeman’s Orthographs in your post but did not provide a link or give attribution.
His Orthographs are wonderful and deserve a mention. His blog is at http://pithlessthoughts.blogspot.com/
[Note from Rod: Happy to! I used it because it was passed along to me by an Orthodox friend, without a source. Thanks for updating me. — RD]



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Patricia Moslener

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm


As I went out the door tonight to go to church for the Canon of St Lazarus I detected the smell of grilled hot dogs in the air. Argh



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MMH

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:20 pm


This is when Kettles potato chips are called for. I think what the body begins to crave after weeks of vegetable stews is fat and salt.



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deb

posted March 26, 2010 at 9:27 pm


Rod, sorry to nitpick, but it’s Steven Robinson’s Orthographs, not Stephen Freeman’s. Fr. Stephen Freeman is a great gift to Orthodox blogging, but to my knowledge, he hasn’t taken up cartooning.



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ann

posted March 27, 2010 at 12:02 am


Ok, you asked for details!
Orthodox fasting practice is pretty simple: no meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, (olive) oil or alcohol for the seven weeks from sundown on Forgiveness Sunday (equivalent to Ash Wednesday) through the end of the Pascha (Easter) Divine Liturgy at about 2 AM on Easter morning. Most Saturdays and Sundays in Great Lent are slightly relaxed, ie. wine and oil are permitted. Annunciation and Palm Sunday are the two fish, wine and oil days during Great Lent (or in my family, pizza and ice cream days).
People certainly vary this regimen depending on age, health or other circumstances, in consultation with their priest, but my impression in my own parish is that people make a serious effort to keep the fast. In my own family, two adults and four teens, we keep a gallon of milk around because one daughter really doesn’t like soy milk, but that’s about it. I was under some pressure this year from another daughter to try to eliminate oil from my cooking on weekdays, but I just couldn’t manage it. Maybe next year.
There are three other fasting periods during the year: the forty days before Christmas, two weeks in June and two weeks in August. These are less severe, something like meat and dairy free on weekdays, dairy or fish on weekends. Almost every Wednesday and Friday throughout the year is a meat and dairy free fast day as well. This is all viewed not as penance but as training in saying no to what you think you’ve just got to have right now. There’s a line in the service at the start of Lent: “Let us abstain from anger as we abstain from food.” That’s the real goal, and it’s a lot harder.



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