Lent poll results

March 4, 2009

Here are the results to the question, “Are you observing Lent?

Lent poll results

29% said “I believe. Got my ashes. Made my vows.”
36% said “I believe, but we don’t do this church calendar thing.”
0% said “I don’t know if I believe, but I’m doing the ash thing.”
36% said “The question is irrelevant to me.”

I find it interesting that I don’t seem to have any readers who identify themselves as nominal Christians in liturgical churches—in other words, people who attend Catholic or traditional Protestant churches out of obligation or habit. I suspect that nominal Christians are disappearing from all churches, whether liturgical or no.

There were some lively and interesting comments on the original post. But no one offered any examples of Lenten rituals that can be done as a family. This seems like a strange omission to me. Is it that Christian rituals tend to be church-centric and not family-centric? If you know of any family Lenten rituals (or want to take a creative stab at making something up), please leave a comment below.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

4 responses to Lent poll results

  1. Good point about family-centered vs church-centered. As a family we’ve done the ash thing and it was meaningful. This year we’re giving up by doing a carbon fast – http://www.tearfund.org/Campaigning/Carbon+Fast.htm My daughters (5 and 9) and I are adding something new by doing a Gratitude Poster.

  2. Ron, thanks for coming by! I love the Carbon Fast idea and can see how that would easily work as a family. But can you describe what you do with ashes? And will you do anything special later on when we hit Holy Week?

  3. For Ash Wednesday, we took turns reading from Psalm 103 and then prayed a modified version of the “litany of penitance.” One of us whispered into the ear of my youngest who couldn’t read and she repeated her part out loud. Finally we mixed ashes from the fireplace and took turns drawing a cross on one another’s foreheads. We didn’t do a big explanation other than to say its been a tradition for hundreds of years.
    For Holy Week, as a church we do some interactive stuff on Good Friday that wrestles with Christ’s death. Children participate in much of that. As a family we build display with a hill, three crosses and tomb out of dirt, moss and twigs. On Good Friday we put a stone in front of the tomb and station a few toy soldiers. Sometimes we take 5-10 minutes of silent contemplation as we let a candle burn out beside the tomb. Easter morning before the kids are up we roll away the stone, put a folded “napkin” inside and knock the soldiers over. (I know they ran away, but the kids like to see them laying inert!)

  4. Thanks, Ron!
    Anybody else care to offer examples of Lenten family rituals?