[Rector]

Life's little destruction book

 

"Goody two-shoeism hangs like an angel's halo over the land, pressuring us to improve ourselves and constantly do the right thing. Sensitivity shades into silliness. One more rant about co-dependency and we will all go cuckoo. There are just too many good things to do.

Unchecked, the pursuit of perfection threatens to erase the little quirks and foibles and peculiarities that make us us. If we become any nicer, better behaved, more socially concerned, blissful - or repressed - we could end up a nation of axe murderers.

Enough already, vent your spleen lest it explodes and splatter your neighbor. Go ahead and indulge yourself."

So runs the advice given in "Life's Little Destruction Book." Some of the practical advice is as follows:

    Hum along at the concert

    Leave used dental floss on the bathroom sink.

    Eat biscuits in bed, and then move to your side.

    Call your spouse by the name of an old flame.

    Don't tell the committee that you cancelled the meeting.

    Remember that everything was better years ago.

    When you're done with the gum, stick it under the chair.

    Leave people in limbo with Call Waiting

    Assume that your place is next to the hostess.

And so it goes on. The last piece of self-centered advice reminds me of the churchmen who were busy trying to get the best seats in the house. Jesus tells the story in Luke 14:7-11.

Is there is any redeeming worth in self-indulgence? Well there actually is. Remember what the apostle Paul said, "husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies." There is nothing evil in self-love, we are just encouraged to love others with the same intensity - particularly our family and brothers and sisters in the Lord. Of course, that rules out much of the advice in "Life's Little Destruction Book", as most of it is destructive "gamesmanship". Self-indulgence is not evil in itself. Indulgence is only evil when it destroys others, or worse, ignores the source of all that we indulge in. In fact, a life lived without self-indulgence is itself evil. It is either a sham or a denial of our worth in the sight of God. As a sham, we can act out the life of goodie-two-shoes - the life of a hypocrite, a lie. As denial, we can suppress self, deny self-worth, and end up psychologically debilitated. Both are dishonoring to God.

So yes, do "indulge yourself", and others as well.