“Our Lent” debuted online in the spring of 2008 in a simpler format. That spring, thousands of readers first experienced this surprising journey toward Easter in 40 stories about the “Things” in Jesus’ life and in our own lives today — including stones, trees, bowls, swords, coins, oil and tables.
Author David Crumm wrote this interactive reflection on Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem after David had worked for more than 30 years in journalism, reporting on the importance of faith in the lives of men and women around the world.
JOE GRIMM, “Ask the Recruiter” columnist for the Poynter Instute and an expert on the future of media, reviewed the “Our Lent” companion book:
Context, connections and concrete symbols all come to play in David
Crumm’s “Our Lent.” Writing with his trademark thoughtfulness, honed in
a career as religion writer at the Detroit Free Press, Crumm spins the
stories and poses questions that deepen the Lenten experience. The
context is our present age and the spiritual reawakening that many
Americans so clearly feel. The connections are among all of us. Crumm
is widely traveled and well-read and taps a diverse range of
perspective and experiences for “Our Lent.” The concrete symbols —
coins, cups, a bowl, swords — help make the stories tangible. Each
day’s reflection is accompanied by one or more questions for
reflection. These are good conversation starters for groups, which the
book is designed for. However, if you are looking for a solid, rooted
way to deepen your faith privately, this book will move you.
THROUGHOUT this journey, readers will encounter surprising connections that “Our Lent” makes with such contemporary figures as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the poets Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, John Lennon and even at one point along this journey — The Cat in the Hat.
The 40-day adventure also makes connections with themes on TV and in films, including the powerful German film, “The Lives of Others.”
FILM CRITIC EDWARD N. McNULTY, the author of several books about faith and film (and the man behind the Visual Parables Web site), chimed in last year on the day readers reflected on “The Lives of Others” — through a simple summary of the film in “Our Lent.” Many readers went on to rent the film and watch it as part of their Lenten journey. Here’s what Ed had to say about the connection between “Our Lent” and that movie …
Thanks for the wonderful description in “Our Lent” of a film I love, “The Lives of Others.” This makes me think of another German who wrestled with the question of the role of the sword in faith and life. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pacifist, intending even to visit Gandhi, but when confronted with the choice of participation in a movement that would lead to the taking of the life of the dictator who threatened the lives of millions, his sense of his responsibility as a Christian led him to lay aside his pacifist scruples and take up the sword. Thank you, David, for this fine meditation and for the necessity of continuing to wrestle with the big questions.”
BUT — THE HEART AND SOUL OF THIS JOURNEY IS: YOU.
Regular readers make this a powerful experience of community.
That’s you — plus friends you may invite along for this journey — and readers you’ll met online at the Our Lent landing page.
Last year, one of our readers was “KATIE,” who wrote:
Jesus’ response to the woman, who comes to him in this story, speaks to me. How often do I see a homeless person on the street — and even offer him or her money, food, or my Starbucks gift card — and see nothing but a homeless person that I feel concern for. My instinct is to give, and yet now I am humbled to realize — on a new level — that not only can I give to people, but they have much to give me; and, perhaps most importantly, as Jesus shows many times, people also are much more than what my eyes tell me. So is true for all people — for my teacher in class, for the housemate who treats me rudely, for the friend who shares time with me. I yearn to be like Jesus, and see, hear, think, and feel with a heart and mind open to God, not simply the world around me.
Or, one day, “WALT” wrote about John Lennon:
I can’t believe I’m reading about John Lennon in a book about Lent and Easter. Of course, I loved the Beatles like most Boomers, but I never stopped to think how that whole part of my life, what Lennon wrote and how he affected us, may connect with the faith part of my life. Thanks for making that connection. Now, I’ve got to pull out all the old albums and rethink where these two kinds of inspirations might take me.
Or, another day, “LISA” wrote about meeting Desmond Tutu in the pages of “Our Lent”:
What a wonderful story about Desmond Tutu. I have heard stories from others who witnessed his unfailing awareness, consideration, and compassion for others. I would dare to suggest that his act of compassion that you describe had not only to do with the discipline of being aware of others, but also his clear belief that rank or station did not put him above showing kindness to or relieving the burden of others — rather it compelled, perhaps even obligated him to it.
Add a comment, even if it’s just a few words. We appreciate hearing from you — and other readers do, too. Your words just might “make” someone’s day. OR, if you prefer, you can Email us.
(Originally published in ReadTheSpirit online magazine.)