Thursday, December 31, 2009

Am I being a Pharisee?

posted Sat, 19 Feb 2005

Does medicinal chocolate count for someone who has given up sugar for Lent? What about sugar-free peanut brittle? How about the edges of a Pop-Tart?

These are the dilemmas I find myself facing. I have given up sugar and chocolate for Lent. (And telling other people what to do.)

Of course, they never had to worry about going without chocolate for 40 days.
Source: http://www.bibleexplained.com/Gospels/Matt/Pharisee.jpg

So if a sweet is made with a sugar substitute, does it meet the criteria of ‘verboten for Lent?’ At the candy store on Tuesday, I held the sugar-free peanut brittle in my hands for a good three minutes the other day before I decided that although it might not violate the letter, it certainly broke the spirit of my sacrifice.

I don’t consider diet Coke a violation, as I do not drink it for sweetness but for caffeine. No, I don’t wish to give up caffeine for Lent. I don’t enjoy caffeine – it’s something I do because I must.

The edges of a Pop-Tart – the part without frosting or filling – is probably pushing it. Maybe I won’t do that one any more.

I was forced to eat some M&Ms (two!) yesterday after I took an imitrex on an empty stomach right before I left work. I started to feel shaky and cold and sweaty as I drove home. I stopped at the shoe repair place to drop off some really cute black spike-heel pumps that need heel taps and grabbed a handful of M&Ms from Mr Galtelli’s M&M machine in hopes that the sugar jolt might counteract the effects of the drug.

They didn’t really help. Maybe because they were so stale and nasty. I certainly didn’t enjoy them.

This guy told me he gave up gin for Lent a few years ago. Every evening, he was in the habit of going to a small neighborhood bar for a nightcap. He went in after Lent started and told the young bartender to give him a vodka – that he’d given up gin for Lent.

The bartender leaned forward and said in a slow, sincere drawl, “Ah don’t think that’s the sacrifice the Lord is asking for, sir.”

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