Wednesday, March 01, 2006
last (soulfood) supper

Well, today is Ash Wednesday... the beginning of Lent season. This time of year always brings mixed feelings for me, both because of events in my life and its nearness to Easter.

Even though I grew up in a Christian family, we never had any traditions we celebrated during Lent season (like most Protestants in America). After I met a couple of Catholic kids at public school (most of 'em Filipino), I learned that there is a long history of Lent traditions in Christianity, most notably in the realm of fasting - the abstaining from certain activities, especially eating of certain foods.

It wasn't until I was in high school and college that I began to understand the spiritual motivations behind fasting...

  • By depriving ourselves of things we desire, we reflect that on need in our lives to desire spiritual growth rather than mere satisfaction of physical wants. [Job 23:11-13]

  • Fasting induces a state of (small) physical weakness, a reminder of that ultimately, we must try in God's strength rather than our own. [Matthew 6:25-26]

  • Fasting brings us a to a state of neediness, and in that state of neediness, we are reminded of those who are in need materially, emotionally, spiritually, and the duty of all people to aid those who are in need. [1 John 3:16-18]


So for the past 7 years or so of my life, I've strived to always recognize the holiness of the Lent season by reflecting on something in my life that would hurt to give up while at the same time using the time or resources gained from that sacrifice for practicing a spiritual discipline. Thinking about the past year in my life, I realize ironically that discipline is exactly what I've been lacking. My bible study is currently reading Foster's Celebration of Discipline, and I can hear my inner voice in the back of my head doing its worst Ahhhnold impression: You lack discipline!

In my the doldrums of the past few years, I've slacked off and neglected both my physical health AND my spiritual health - and yes, I believe they're connected. With that in mind, this Lent I've decided to do the following:

-Because of my love for eating, I will be completely abstaining from eating beef, chicken, pork, and other derived meat products such as bacon, sausage, and... SPAM *moan*.
-For the sake of protein, milk, eggs, and fish will be OK.
-Devote myself to daily to at least one continuous and undisturbed time of prayer, with focus on:
  • Praying for the 22 kids in my student teaching class - For their good health, growth in both their academic ability and their development as human beings, and that as their teacher I would strive to care for them as if they were my own children.

  • Praying for my friend D.'s health - For his ongoing battle with cancer, his chemotherapy and treatment, and that he'd be able to stay strong despite it all.

  • Praying for my family - Primarily for my immediate family, but also for my extended family and my "adopted" families, abroad in Japan and elsewhere.

  • Praying for my spiritual health - Being more mindful of controlling both my personality defects (ie, temper) and vices (*ahem* whiskey *ahem*). Keeping a healthy, hopeful attitude... being grateful.

The teacher in me is almost tempted to call these (spiritual) learning targets.

I'm not attempting all of this as some sort of masochistic ritual of flagellation, nor am I writing about this just to create a public spectacle... I guess blogging about this is just my own way of keeping myself accountable and avoiding the pitfalls of a lazy spiritual life that relies on cheap grace. Like Bonhoeffer wrote, a true disciple avoids cheap grace and understands that costly nature of living a truly spiritual life...


So what did I eat for my last meal of meat? Well, you can't beat Ezell's, Seattle's finest fried chicken - fried chicken, sweet biscuits, fresh beans and coleslaw... Oprah used to have the stuff sent to her in Chicago.

The last soulfood I'll be eating until Good Friday, 2006... until then, I'll have to subsist on a different kind of soulfood.


i don't know about u, but fish is yum.

i'm a meateater, so i think that would be tough for me too. soul food is yum food. nothing like some fried chicken and mash.

f- so a pseudofish eating fish? ain't that like cannibalism? ;)
as long as it ain't a pseudofish, it's all good. ;oP -f
ezell's!!! i miss it... so delicious and fatty. amen.
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in?scrip?tion (n-skrip-shun)n.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33

the facts.
name. Gar AKA "that Chinese guy" "Sleepy.McSleeping"
ethnicity/nationality. Chinese/American, 4th gen.
location. Sea-Town, WA, USA Kawanishi, JAPAN
occupation. less-cynical poor grad student
age. younger than you think, older than you know



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