I am not known for posting here two days in a row, but this happened:
A friend posted something on facebook, encourging friends not to indulge in anything because of Marti Gras, going on to say that the world needs the example of Christians who live in moderation. Someone else posted a comment in response with a link to this blog entry by Russel Moore. These things prompted me to look up Marti Gras. Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia article:
Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. Popular practices include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, etc.
I had heard about the point of Marti Gras before, and it seems to me that it is all about hypocrisy and insincerity. It is a tradition of overindulgence before Ash Wednesday (a day of repentance) and the fast of lent. It strikes me as an attitude of “I can do whatever I want because I’m about to repent.”
The blog linked to above speaks of Christians, who are called to be in the world and not of it, but are following their fleshly cravings while standing apart from nonbelievers. Effectively, they/we are of the world but not in it. The blog entry ends with a memorable quote, “I will also pray for my kids, and for myself, to follow a Christ who refuses to follow the belly and who promises to feed us with his own inheritance. That’s hard to see for a world in which the appetites rule, a world in which it’s always Mardi Gras and never Easter.”
This (as I’m sure it was intended to) reminded me of the White Witch of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It also reminded me of a concept in eastern philosophy called the hungry ghost. In short, the hungry ghost, depending on the context, is a person, or spirit which is completely driven by their appetite which is never satisfied. And I’m thinking sometime I’m going to have to write a story with hungry ghosts and another version of the White Witch, although it’ll have to be a coven because Marti Gras has three colors…