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More Bonfire Reflections

I had a good lunch with one of my friends today. One of the things we talked about was the spiritual and psychological funk I seem to be in. I feel like I am coming out of the fog, but it seems to be a slow process.

It all started while I was reading Bonfire. As I saw into the minds of the various men portrayed, I began to realize their resemblance to myself. This is particularly true in a few of areas.

One is the way I seek to impress my colleagues. I hate to admit it, but I can see where I am often posturing to make the most favorable impression. I don't usually lie or falsely portray myself, but I do "put my best foot forward" most of the time. It is pure hypocrisy.

The second is the way appearance and sexuality plays into relationships between men and women from spouses to on-the-side girlfriends to attorneys and jurists. It is pervasive. It is the righteous man who this does not afflict. Now this is a sensitive issue. I am a married man, and I am 100% faithful in deed. But I have to admit, that I do commit adultery in my heart. Christ was the first I know of to say that what counts is lust in the heart. Tom Wolfe's insight into this area is disarming: he clearly demonstrates the connection between adultery of the heart and real adultery. It made me realize how shallow my righteousness really is.

Lastly, Wolfe keenly unwinds a story where small steps of deception completely overtake ones life. Secrecy and deception are evil. It is no wonder Satan is called the father of lies. I am a relatively honest man, but I have had my times of deception and dishonesty and they have near torn me apart on the inside. I am thankful for the grace of God and his mercy in sparing me the consequences of this lifestyle.

As I read the book, I wrestled with what to write here. When I started this blog, I wanted to be completely honest. Holding back on how the Spirit was showing me my sin in these areas felt like real deception. How could I write candidly and leave out the stirrings of my heart? No doubt, it would the hight of hypocrisy. Intentionally confessing a little earnestly is worse than not confessing at all. It makes people think you are holier than you really are.

I can't say that I am 100% transparent yet, but I am working on it. I am sure I am a worse sinner than I even know. Thank God for Christ.<!-- technorati tags start -->

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New Book: Bonfire of the Vanities

I had asked Courtney to pick me out a new fiction book. I recently heard on This I Believe an essay from John Updike in which he claimed that fiction was more precise than non-fiction. I found this intriguing.

I can see where in some ways he is right. Fiction is more apt to capture the non-verbal communication of through its use of narrative, social cues, and descriptions. My reading is heavily weighted toward non-fiction if you don't count movies :-).

So, I am now reading Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. It is quite good so far. I am picking up on themes of the universality of self-righteousness. It will certainly be an interesting read.