Religion can be a complicated thing, at worst justifying discrimination and genocide, and at best, making it socially acceptable to dip your crackers in wine before noon.
A semi-lapsed Episcopalian thriving in the heathen’s paradise that is New York City, I don’t practice my faith much outside of Christmas with the family and muttering “Jesus Christ” at every tourist on Lex, and I’m certainly not as consistent about bowing my head for grace as my most pious niece, Keira.
But there is one season of the Christian year that I do tend to observe, well, religiously, and that’s Lent.
For those of you who don’t painstakingly count down the hours until Cadbury Crème Egg season like the rest of us, Lent’s a 40-day period in the Christian liturgical calendar reserved for prayer, penance and self-denial. It’s a ball of solemnity and fun, let me tell you.
Many people practice Lent by giving up something for the entire six-week period, like chocolate or meat or chocolate-covered meat, which, honestly, I think we should eat more of as a society.
But as my general policy – in fitness and in life – is against the unsustainable practice of outright denial, I prefer to stay mindful of the season by instead adding something to my daily routine for 40 straight days. I’d originally hoped it would be another running streak, but with two weeks of Hong Kong travel ahead for me – including two 16.5 hours flights bookmarking either side –40 days of running isn’t realistically in the cards.
So instead this Lenten season, I’m vowing to plank for one minute every single day between now and Easter. I realize strengthening my core muscles may not have been what Jesus and friends had in mind when they wrote the rule book, but it’s something that’s important to me and my health, so I don’t think they’d mind.
More importantly, the stronger my stomach is come April 20, the faster I can stuff it with crème eggs, and we all know that’s the real end game here.
What are you giving up – or taking up – this Lenten season?