But many American evangelicals are discovering (or, in some cases, re-discovering) Lent. Many are entering into this time with some hesitations and questions. It creates a challenge for church leaders who are trying to teach the meaning of Lent in the midst of leading the congregation through its observance of Lent.
Thank the Lord for the Rev. Aaron Damiani, who has given us a head start in our thinking about the glory of those Forty Days. His book, The Good of Giving Up is a fantastic resource to dig into before Lent. It’s not a Lenten Devotional; rather, it is a feast of ideas, theology, tradition, and practices to help guide our hearts and minds as we approach this season.
The book should be read by all church leaders, congregations, families, and others who are drawn to the Great Tradition or who want to teach their congregation about Lent. Damiani walks us through how the practice of Lent—with its focus on fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and confession—emerged in the life of the church. It’s thoughtful, Biblical, and focused on how this time is not meant to constrain us, but rather free our souls as we approach Easter. Even better, he includes a guide for pastors teaching churches about Lent as well as parents teaching children.
Without being antagonistic, Damiani also honestly engages with the questions and misgivings that some may have about the practice of Lent. While—as Damiani admits—Lent is not mentioned in the Bible, the practices and traditions are deeply rooted in obeying the scriptures, especially the commands of Jesus in the gospels. Damiani’s winsome, humble tone reminds us that he has wrestled with these same questions, too. Check out his thoughts on the myths and misconceptions about Lent in this Christianity Today article.
In this short interview, I try to engage Aaron on a few aspects of his book that you might find helpful. Enjoy the moments with this young leader/pastor/writer. And, by all means, buy the book, The Good of Giving Up.
Along with Tish Harrison Warren (interviewed here), Aaron is one of the great young voices in our Anglican family. Aaron in a priest in the Anglican Church in North America and Rector of Immanuel Anglican Church in Chicago. I commend his book to you.