Feb. 25th, 2009

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every year for lent i give up meat. every other year i give up alcohol as well.
i do this in part for health reasons - even though i am free range only when it comes to meat, i feel clensed by the practice of annually reducing my meat intake by so much.
i do this in part for ecology reasons - it is more sustainable to eat less meat.
i do this in part because the process of choosing food for each meal without eating something keeps me mindful and disciplined. i become mindful of the choice, and how all my choices echo out into the world. i am mindful of God and the nature of sacrifice and the nature of relationships and how they require maintenance and work, and how i want to fight my tendency to forget God and others and become wrapped up in my day-to-day life. i feel clensed in my body - purged of toxicity. i remember that i want to stay aware of my life and not let it pass me by unnoticed, with choices made thoughtlessly.
when lent is over it feels a real celebration of life. a celebration of the bounty God has given his children on this planet. a celebration of relationships and the work they involve, but also the payoff that for once is greater than the work put in. the law of conservation of energy/mass is true everywhere except in love. it is the one thing that can produce more than is put into it.

now you might ask why don't i live this way all the time if it makes me feel so clean?
in truth it is because i believe the novelty and purposefulness of it is why it works. if i lived this way all the time, it wouldn't mean as much to me during lent. but there is another reason as well. my friends jerad and rachel reminded me yesterday that every sunday during lent is a "little easter"; a feast day when we are not required to fast or adhere to whatever resolution we have made. this is something i knew, it is part of the teachings of john wesley and many other theolgians. what i didn't know is that it goes further than permission to eat whatever i want on sunday. it is considered blasphemous to CONTINUE to fast on sunday; to refuse to take part of the bounty God has provided. to acknowledge the gifts God has given his children.
now surely this doesn't mean all vegetarians should eat meat on sunday, nor is it liscense to do things that are destructive. this is not about the specific thing anyone does for lent. this is about giving oneself permission to take part in the joy of life and acknowledging the good creation all around us. it is about rest and it is about accepting that God's love for us continues through the lean times. with the discipline of relationship there is reward and love. in every night there is the promise of dawn. there must be balance even in discipline. so many people see lent as austere and morbid, but truly it is a celebration of our potential for change. God has made us capable of fixing the things in our lives we want to make better, and given us a season to remind us to pay attention.
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Oscar best picture nominees with the ones I've seen bolded. Like [livejournal.com profile] wanderingbastet , from whom I stole the meme, I only bolded the ones I'm sure about.

1980. Ordinary People, Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, Tess
1981. Chariots of Fire, Reds, Atlantic City, On Golden Pond, Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982. Gandhi, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, Tootsie, The Verdict
1983. Terms of Endearment, The Big Chill, The Dresser, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies
1984. Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, A Soldier's Story
1985. Out of Africa, The Color Purple, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Prizzi's Honor, Witness
1986. Platoon, Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Mission, A Room with a View
1987. The Last Emperor, Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hope and Glory, Moonstruck
1988. Rain Man, The Accidental Tourist, Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning, Working Girl
1989. Driving Miss Daisy, Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, My Left Foot
1990. Dances with Wolves, Awakenings, Ghost, The Godfather Part III
1991. The Silence of the Lambs, Beauty and the Beast, Bugsy, JFK, The Prince of Tides
1992. Unforgiven, The Crying Game, A Few Good Men, Howards End, Scent of a Woman
1993. Schindler's List, The Fugitive, In the Name of the Father, The Piano, The Remains of the Day
1994. Forrest Gump, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, The Shawshank Redemption
1995. Braveheart, Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino (The Postman), Sense and Sensibility
1996. The English Patient, Fargo, Jerry Maguire, Secrets & Lies, Shine
1997. Titanic, As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential
1998. Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella), Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line
1999. American Beauty, The Cider House Rules, The Green Mile, The Insider, The Sixth Sense
2000. Gladiator, Chocolat, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Traffic
2001. A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park, In the Bedroom, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge
2002. Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist
2003. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Mystic River, Seabiscuit
2004. Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways
2005. Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, Munich
2006. The Departed, Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen
2007. No Country for Old Men, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood
2008. Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader


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