I've been reading more and more people are turning to God and faith. This, being a good thing, is not where my current issues lie.*
No, I've been reading a lot of long-time so-called Christians using faith and Christ as a club to beat on the new kids. Granted, there are areas in which a lot of these new believers are in need of correction; however, this is not the way to do it.
People: it is above your pay grade, and mine too, to say "if you don't believe x, and show it in y way, you will go to hell."
Yes, that means I'm not saying you will go to hell for telling people they're going to hell for this, that, and the other minor thing, like not being exactly the same flavor of Christian you are. That means I think you are breaking the third commandment.
Seriously: if you say "When you do [insert whatever peeve any given individual has that may or may not be mentioned in the Bible], you're making Jesus cry/going to hell," you are professing that you know the mind of God better than anyone else anywhere, and you are putting words in his mouth. THAT right THERE is breaking "Thou Shalt Not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain..." (Exodus 20:3)
Specifically, last night I read a social media post from some dipshit that's got a lot of stuff biblically right, but this...damn. Said dipshit was pushing that there's no biblical support for Lent, and that practicing Ash Wednesday and Lent is a sin. Because of course they have to be based on pagan holidays, of course, because most holidays are. And if you practice Lent, you're going to hell because it's not biblically supported.
Dipshit clearly doesn't understand either his Bible or history in general, much less the history of the Faith.
First, let's take that whole "no support" claim. I have no idea about Ash Wednesday, considering I was raised RLDS** and not Catholic or Episcopalian or Methodist. However, Lent itself--and the timing therof, is pretty damn clear to me.
Before Christ went to Jerusalem for Passover that last time, He went into the desert alone. 40 days of prayer and fasting--no food at all, which is a miracle He didn't die, right there, just not one that most people think of as a miracle. Remember, folks, He was made flesh, with all the weaknesses thereof, including the physical necessity of food, water, and shelter. And at the end of it, He faced temptation to turn from his path, which He rejected.
Lent is us, acknowledging that while we cannot go to those extremes, we can suffer some of what He suffered, while in a season of prayer and contemplation of the gift of forgiveness and grace he gave us, ending in the Easter season. Lent is us, removing some of that which we put between ourselves and God, and trying to move closer, in the hopes that we will feel some comfort during this season which might carry through for a while. Lent is us, reaching. Praying.
Second. The whole "holidays are pagan."
Dude is a dipshit. Some holidays have pagan timing in their roots, yes. Mostly in the timing, rather than the symbology. Christmas,*** in particular, comes to mind: yes, it was timed to preempt Yule celebrations; however, the symbology of Yule itself is not pagan/anti-Christian. Every culture celebrates the turning of the year with the return of the light. This is a human thing, a hope thing, a faith thing, not a pagan, following-other-gods thing. Judaism has a longer celebration of it than most other European pre-Christian cultures, and some of that bled over when the very early church was emphasizing similarities between the Christian faith and whatever pagan flavor they were trying to persuade from a path of blood and conquest and death into a path of cooperation, coordination, coexistence, and life.
Easter, however many similarities there are with pagan holidays, is not a pagan holiday. It was the End of His life, and beginning of our grace: at the end of Passover, He was crucified, died faster than most of those crucified ever did, was dead and buried, then He rose to bring us word of our forgiveness, and tell us that He would return for us, though we knew not the day. That's one of the reasons that the timing of Easter changes a little from year to year: it's timed to the end of Passover.
Were it the other holiday with a similar name, it would be timed with the equinox celebrations. Not the end of Passover.
The Lenten season leading into Easter...maybe this wasn't something commanded for us to do,**** however, there is biblical support for it, it isn't pagan, and anyone who judges others for how they reach toward His Comfort...
Well. Remember what He said about the Pharisees? It seems that may apply. It may not, I don't know. I don't profess to know the mind of God.
That's way above my pay grade, and y'all ought to be thankful it is. I know I am.
*Actually, no. That's not quite right. I hate that so many had turned away in the first place, or had never been taught faith.
**Think Mormon, but split off before the whole polygamy thing ever got started.
***The shepherds with the flocks in the fields in Israel, lambing time, and other parts later in the life of Christ indicate He was born right before Passover. NOT near the winter solstice.
****The only things we were commanded to do were to gather together in His name, and to partake of bread and wine in His remembrance. Oh, and to love one another, not use Him as a club because "you're doing it wrong!!!"