Daily Links, Feb. 22: Ashes, ashes

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Today marks the beginning of the 40-day journey through Lent to Easter, and ashes are seemingly the only thing that can get the country to utter the words “church”, “Catholic Church”, or "bishops" and not include the phrase “contraception mandate” in the same sentence. So that's good.

Bryan Cones got his ashes under the L train here in Chicago on his way to work and asks if there’s a value to distributing ashes in public places like train stations. Lauren Winner writes that that’s exactly where they should be distributed: “We are going into public with our ashes because Jesus died in public.  He didn’t die in the Upper Room surrounded only by his disciples.” Religion News Service reports that Winner is joined by 49 other Episcopal parishes that are taking Ash Wednesday “to the streets.”

Did you encounter such public ashing and were confused by it? Busted Halo explains in two minutes why we smear our forheads with ashen crosses.

I actually got into an argument with my sister over this idea one time: Remember you are stardust and to stardust you shall return.

Time Magazine shows us Ash Wednesday around the world in photos, while Andrew Sullivan shares his thoughts in the words of T.S. Elliot and the images of Terrence Mallick.

Now that Lent is officially started, we’ll be posting a daily reflection for all 40 days. Today’s comes from Henri Nouwen. TheJesuits went all fancy and have a whole “social media series” going for Lent called The 40. Meanwhile a few of us were keeping the dream of the 90s alive in our office today. You know, when “social media series” wasn’t a thing.

 You may be fasting today, but if you were Tibetan, you’d be indulging in these delicious-looking “plump round purses,” because today is Losar, the beginning of the 15-day celebration of the Tibetan new year. Ooh. Vintage Internet Losar greeting!