Talk about Lent to most folks and they either have no idea what you’re talking about, or they think it is some exotic season of superstition and (mardi gras) pomp. Yesterday I was at St. Arbuck’s and some young professionals were meeting for a work project. In walks a priest in a black cassock. After the priest left, one of the slick urban professionals said, “That priest thinks he is something dressing like that…he just wants free coffee or to show everyone else how hoooly he is.” At that point I caught one of the young ladies out of the corner of my eye pointing to me (I was wearing clericals, though no cassock) and whispering, ‘hey there’s another one!’ presumably so Mr. blowhard wouldn’t put his foot further in his mouth. The didn’t see her, however, and proceeded to say, “Yea that priest just wants to look like Neo,” to which I then replied, ‘Hey that’s why I dress this way…’
A perfect postmodern Lenten moment. No respect for religious leaders and suspicion over every motivation a priest/pastor might have. A misunderstanding of the clerical cassock and the black that it represents.
So do we still need Lent? How about priests?