We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It happens to me each Lent, settles over me like a dark cloud of self-scrutiny and self-reproach. It's not deliberate. It just happens to me ever since I had my eyes opened.
I am no axe-murderer, but I have my human share of sins, irresponsibilities, cruelties, lazinesses, selfishness, insensitivities, dumb rationalizations, narcissistic defenses, lies, self-indulgences, and plain old unthinking stupidities. All of the flaws.
Unlike the Psychiatric depressions, my Lenten depression, I think, is a gift of sorts. A gift from the Holy Spirit. Painful, but I would not want to medicate it away because it tells me things I need to hear. Our Christian God is a God of Truth and Grace. The Truth part can hurt. God or Grace or something holds up that dark mirror for me, and it's all true and it's all difficult.
It's like the 4th Step.
Pastors advise us to leave it all at the foot of the cross, but I have to go through the dark journey to know what the "it all" is first, and I have to say it all out loud in prayer. I view it as my annual healthy depression.
I grew up in a family that was Catholic on one side, and high church Anglican/Episcopal on the other. During the past 10 years the women of the Episcopal Church have pretty much destroyed the church. Before leaving the church I attended a mid week communion service which celebrated women's menstrual cycles. That pretty much capped it for me--so long church, but not faith.
Here is one more example of what is being done by the new women's leadership to the old traditions. I post it here because it clearly demonstrates the use of traditional structures to enforce a political agenda.
When you go this link please click on each of the "stations".
Churches really are all local. There are many fine Episcopalian churches that would never do this nonsense. I myself grew up Episcopalian and now attend a Lutheran church becuase in my neighborhood, this church is the closest to God (for me). The Episcopal church in my neighborhood is a born-again version, where everybody weighs their hands in the air and speaks in tongues.
My advice: don't give up on church. Keep searching.
This has been the most productive Lent I've had in a long time. At my church, we are doing a "Daniel Fast." Basically, just eating vegetables and fruits, no meat, no leavened bread, no caffeine, no alcohol.
I was initially dreading it, but now find it's doing amazing things in terms of my health as well as sharpening my mind and making me more spiritually attentive to God's voice during prayer. And after the first several days, I found I was not hungry either. I would highly recommend it.
Google "Daniel Fast" and you will find the sites talking about this fast.