I’m giving up HATE, PREJUDICE, and INDIFFERENCE for Lent!


Pope Francis leads the Ash Wednesday mass opening Lent, the forty-day period of abstinence and deprivation for Christians, before Holy Week and Easter on February 18, 2015 at Santa Sabina church in Rome. AFP PHOTO POOL / GABRIEL BOUYSGABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay, so I’m not particularly religious. And I’m definitely not Catholic, though my boys do go to a Catholic school for various reasons. In fact, I was raised Methodist and I have never fasted for Lent in my life. It always seemed meaningless to me, giving up candy or pop or wine. I’ve since changed that thought, understanding that the significance comes from the heart of the faster and what it means to them, not in the surface presentation of the act. But even after that understanding, I still never participated. Until I read something that made me think twice about Lent this year.

An article from TIME surfaced on Facebook in which the writer, Christopher Hale, talks about Pope Francis’s Lent Message from 2015. You can read Hale’s words here and Pope Francis’s full message here. For good measure, here is Francis’s Lenten Message for 2016. Pope Francis talks about fasting from global indifference and also about having a heart full of mercy. I won’t go into detail, but I encourage you to read all three articles above. They’re short, and full of meaningful words we can all take to heart.

In fact, they got me thinking: In what way can I fast from indifference? I mean, I’m a pretty compassionate and empathetic person. I care about my fellow man and try to do acts of charity and goodwill from holding the door for a stranger to donating money to a charity to volunteering for local charity events. And I go beyond that to try to improve my own heart and understanding by reading about people who are not like me in an effort to understand their view point. What else can I do?

Arguably, there is a lot more that I can do, because I am far from being a saint. Short of dedicating my life to helping others and rejecting all material possessions, I’m not sure any of us really do as much as we could to better the world around us. But the one thing that kept coming back to me is that the cure for indifference is understanding. Without exposure to new ideas, different viewpoints, other experiences, we continue along in our little worlds oblivious to what goes on around us, just outside of our immediate bubble of community.

This, in fact, was a game changer for me. A few years ago I really began to break my bubble and try to see the world through eyes that had seen more than white straight Christian rural America. This is what I had known my whole life. And it was strangling my ability to be truly compassionate about others. Sure I felt sorry for others, but that is pity. No one needs pity. They need compassion, a hand up, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and a mouth to stay closed.

Stay closed? But I’m American! We speak our mind. Freedom of speech! It’s my right to say whatever I think whenever I think it.

True, but no. Understanding doesn’t come with spouting your own ideals and thoughts. Understanding, the battle against indifference, comes when we LISTEN to others, internalize the words, and allow them to help shape our hearts. It doesn’t mean you have to believe every other viewpoint given to you. But you do need to take the time to think about it before completely rejecting it.

So for this Lenten season, I will attempt to post on my blog, Facebook and Twitter, links to articles, blog posts or even Twitter accounts that reflect a viewpoint that might be different than mainstream white straight Christian America. It’s kind of a momentous undertaking, so I may miss some days, but I’ll do my best to share with you some of the things that have helped me to understand my role in this world and how I affect people I will never meet. Through education we can better ourselves and the world around us.

**On a side note, this exercise is meant for the improving of ones mind, not their debating skills. If you disagree with me, or any of the articles I present, please keep it to yourself. I do not want to bring negative commentors to the blogs I share, nor do I care to hear your arguments about what I’m doing. This is for educational purposes. Take what you can from it, but don’t leave your crap behind**

**And if you have suggestions of articles or blogs that I can share, please leave links below! I would love help in this endeavor.**

49 thoughts on “I’m giving up HATE, PREJUDICE, and INDIFFERENCE for Lent!

  1. Jennifer, I love that you are doing this and will be following it…I’m reading a wonderful little book called “Rediscovering Jesus” that was given to our parish members at Christmas. I’ll private message you the link, it might help you in your endeavor. Annie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Lenten Post #2: Coming out again, and again, and again . . . | Jennifer Austin – Author

    • Thanks Laura! I mentioned it on Facebook as an idea and my husband’s cousin said I was inspiring and so of course then I had to do it! 🙂 But I’m excited (and a little scared) to share some stories that have been meaningful to me. I just hope everyone follows my request that they keep their negative comments to themselves. I want this to be all about positivety. We have enough negative in the world as it is!


  3. Pingback: Lenten Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab | Jennifer Austin – Author

  4. Pingback: Post #4: Why Diversity in Children’s Literature Really Matters | Jennifer Austin – Author

  5. Pingback: Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America | Jennifer Austin – Author

  6. Pingback: Post #6: Picture from the Box | Jennifer Austin – Author

  7. Pingback: Post #7: Diversity 101 | Jennifer Austin – Author

  8. Pingback: Post #8: Study examines television, diversity and self-esteem | Jennifer Austin – Author

  9. Pingback: Post #9: Growing up Muslim in America | Jennifer Austin – Author

  10. Pingback: Post #10: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack | Jennifer Austin – Author

  11. Pingback: Post #11: Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person | Jennifer Austin – Author

  12. Pingback: Post #12: It’s a Choice! Oh Shit! | Jennifer Austin – Author

  13. Pingback: Post #13: Representation Matters | Jennifer Austin – Author

  14. Pingback: Post #14: #DisabledTwitter Needs to be Dominated by Disabled Voices | Jennifer Austin – Author

  15. Pingback: Post #15: #BuzzWordsBeDamned | Jennifer Austin – Author

  16. Pingback: Post #16: Listen and Learn . . . | Jennifer Austin – Author

  17. Pingback: Post #17: Comprehensive List of LGBTQ+ Term Definitions | Jennifer Austin – Author

  18. Pingback: Post #18: Discussion: Body Positivity in YA – Where’s the Love For Curvy Women? | Jennifer Austin – Author

  19. Pingback: Post #19: Beyonce in Formation | Jennifer Austin – Author

  20. Pingback: Post #20: #OscarSoWhite | Jennifer Austin – Author

  21. Pingback: Post #21: #OwnVoices: Why We Need Diverse Authors in Children’s Literarure | Jennifer Austin – Author

  22. Pingback: Post #22: The Pain of Growing Up Muslim in Post-9/11 America | Jennifer Austin – Author

  23. Pingback: Post #23: What You Imply When You Call a Disabled Person inspiring . . . | Jennifer Austin – Author

  24. Pingback: Post #24: 9 YA Authors Discuss Music, Chronic Illness, and More in March’s YA Open Mic | Jennifer Austin – Author

  25. Pingback: Post #25:We can disagree without attacking . . . | Jennifer Austin – Author

  26. Pingback: Post #27: When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person | Jennifer Austin – Author

  27. Pingback: Post #26: A Letter on ‘What It’s Like to Have a Sibling with Autism’ | Jennifer Austin – Author

  28. Pingback: Post #28: DeRay McKesson: Tackling Racism in the Black Lives Matter Movement | Jennifer Austin – Author

  29. Pingback: Post #29: Never assume that you’re magically free of prejudice . . . | Jennifer Austin – Author

  30. Pingback: Post #30: Intersectionality | Jennifer Austin – Author

  31. Pingback: Post #31: Almost Asian (But Not Quite) | Jennifer Austin – Author

  32. Pingback: Post #32: Accurate Representation | Jennifer Austin – Author

  33. Pingback: Post #33: 13 Tweets That Define What Growing Up as Lesbian Was Really Like | Jennifer Austin – Author

  34. Pingback: Post #34: Growing Up Black and Jewish in America | Jennifer Austin – Author

  35. Pingback: Post #35: We All Do It: Ableist Prejudice Against Disabled Persons | Jennifer Austin – Author

  36. Pingback: Post #36: The Secret Dual Lives of People Living with Mental Illness | Jennifer Austin – Author

  37. Pingback: Post #37: 13 Things People With Chronic Diseases Wish You Understood | Jennifer Austin – Author

  38. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Winter 2016 – Writing, Art Journaling, & Music | Musings From Neville's Navel

  39. Pingback: Post #38: 9 Portraits that Prove Feminism really is for Everyone | Jennifer Austin – Author

  40. Pingback: Post #39: Nina Simone’s Face | Jennifer Austin – Author

  41. Pingback: Post #40: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headresses | Jennifer Austin – Author

  42. Pingback: Post #41: Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait | Jennifer Austin – Author

  43. Pingback: Post #42: Being Completely Normal Living With a Mental Illness | Jennifer Austin – Author

  44. Pingback: Post 43: Life When You’re Not Just Poor, but Deeply Poor | Jennifer Austin – Author

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s