“Like many evangelicals who love the gospel, I had my doubts about Lent.”
It's true, Lent can often seem like an empty ritual. But what Aaron Damiani came to find, and what he describes inside, is something else entirely. Something exceedingly good.
In The Good of Giving Up, Anglican pastor Aaron Damiani (who comes from a low-church background) explains the season of Lent, defends it theologically, and guides you in its practice. You'll learn:
Lent has been described as a “springtime for the soul,” a season of clearing to make room for growth. The Good of Giving Up will show you why, encouraging you to participate in what many know as a rich spiritual journey.
“When I was finally ready to take the plunge, I learned that observing Lent is not a forced march of works-righteousness. But it was good medicine for [my soul], for the painful split between what I knew about God and what I experienced of Him.”
The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent by Aaron Damiani is a great introduction to the history, practice, and benefit of Lent for those who are unfamiliar with the practice. The author grew up in a tradition that did not celebrate Lent, was introduced to it as a young adult, and now pastors a church that celebrates Lent. His perspective is useful, having been on all sides of the issue.
Damiani splits his book into three parts: The Case for Lent, The Path of Lent, and Leading Others Through Lent. In the first part, Damiani gives a brief but comprehensive history of how Lent has been viewed and celebrated throughout church history. He also answers common objections from those who view Lent with suspicion. In the second part, he covers the key aspects of Lent including fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and confession. The last part is more of a guide for those in charge of leading groups through the season of Lent, though there is useful information for laymen as well.
As one who has never really practiced Lent, I found The Good of Giving Up informative and encouraging. It has a very humble tone that gives the reader information without putting any pressure on him/her to think a certain way about Lent. It is just the right length to be an introduction to a commonly misunderstood topic. The focus on Jesus being in relationship with Him ties the entire book together. I'd encourage anyone curious about Lent, those practicing it for the first time, or those just starting to lead others through it to read The Good of Giving Up.
This book is perfect for me because I know so little about Lent. The book's synopsis begins with the author saying, "Like many evangelicals who love the gospel, I had my doubts about Lent." YES, that's me too.
Lent can seem like an empty ritual, while it should be more of a "springtime for the soul," or a season of cleaning to make room for growth. In this book, Damiani talks about the history and purpose of Lent, how to practice it with proper motivation, ways it can reform your habits/convictions and how to lead others through it (at home or at church). While I don't anticipate leading anyone through Lent, I loved the other sections of the book, especially the history and purpose of Lent.
I found this book a good blend of informational and inspiring. I'm very glad I read it before this year's Lent season began.
Did you grow up in a church that recognized the season of Lent? Every year, the season of Lent comes and goes and as Baptists, we simply disregard the season in its entirety. Many of us view it as ritualistic and extra-Biblical, even a works-based religious act, so therefore something we shouldn’t do. Author Aaron Damiani shared these views until he made the intriguing discovery that Lent can be something incredibly good–something that can be a great benefit to prepare our hearts for the worship and celebration of Easter. Rather than simply focusing on the personal sacrifice of giving up food, drink or some other thing we love, Damiani shows us that the true focus of Lent is our need for Christ. As we “give up” in Christ, we recognize our need for Him and that is what Easter is all about: A loving God glorified through His son paying a ransom we could never pay. Damiani first presents a case for Lent and provides a perspective through an Evangelical lens. Then, he carefully and thoroughly guides the reader through an experience of Lent that keeps Christ center and glorified. “Giving up” can be done any time of year, and is not limited to a period of time leading to Easter, but the forty days leading to Easter is a wonderful time to experience it. I encourage any believer to learn about this powerful opportunity to grow closer in relationship with their Savior as they read, learn about and experience Lent with Aaron Damiani’s guidance in The Good of Giving Up.
Giving up is anti-culture in the West. For the culture screams & shouts to gain & consume at all costs. But there is a draw & power in giving up that is untapped by consumers.
The title lends itself to a play on words, because there is actually good in consciously giving-up something in order to gain something else. The season of Lent is designed to illuminate hope & victory. But it is hard to experience this when you’re in a daze from a totally consuming nature.
The author presses in on giving-up and/or fasting so that you are able to be filled with hope, love and genuine excitement for who God is and what He has done. The author realizes how hard this can be when our motor never stops running and our plate is tipping over from an unbalanced life.
This book is a simple book with a powerful premise that will truly tempt the reader to consider the good of giving up and what one can gain from pouring themselves out of the things that actually weigh them down and become burdensome.
You don’t have to wait until Lent to grab this resource and dive in. You may find this to be something you read throughout the year as you sense the unbalanced life building up.
The Good of Giving Up helps the reader to discover the origin, true meaning and practices of lent. Often viewed as an old tradition, many "give up" things for Lent without realizing the purpose - cleaning out to make room for new growth. I found myself encouraged and challenged to observe Lent in a new way this next year.