Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vanity: My Favorite Sin

There is a lively discussion over at Preludium about ACNA and Robert Duncan and all that that entails.  Everyone is trying to figure out what pushed Robert Duncan to the "limit"; what caused him (and so many like him to go over to the dark side?  Is it the LGBT issue?  Is it the prayerbook issue  Or perhaps it is the need for scripture to reign over reason.  Personal opinion, having lived through the actual day to  day routine with John David Schofield is that it is pride -- or more apropos, vanity.  And what is vanity?  Here is the wikipedia definition:

In conventional parlance, vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others. Prior to the 14th century it did not have such narcissistic undertones, and merely meant futility.[1] The related term vainglory is now often seen as an archaic synonym for vanity, but originally meant boasting in vain, i.e. unjustified boasting;[2] although glory is now seen as having an exclusively positive meaning, the Latin term gloria (from which it derives) roughly means boasting, and was often used as a negative criticism.[3]

In conventional parlance, vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others. Prior to the 14th century it did not have such narcissistic undertones, and merely meant futility.In many religions vanity, in its modern sense, is considered a form of self-idolatry, in which one rejects God for the sake of one's own image, and thereby becomes divorced from the graces of God

This whole sordid mess reminds me of a conversation in the Devil's Advocate,  a movie starring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves.  In one of the concluding scenes the discussion between the two attorneys heats up.  It goes like this:

I'm a lawyer! That's my job!

That's what I do!
I rest my case.

Vanity... definitely my favorite sin.
Kevin, it's so basic.
The all-natural opiate.
It's not that you didn't care for Mary Ann, Kevin...'s just that you were a little more involved with someone else.

You're right.
I did it all.
I let her go.
Don't be too hard on yourself, Kevin.
You wanted something more.

Believe me.
I left her behind and just kept going.
You can't keep punishing yourself.
It's awesome how far you've come.
I didn't make it easy.
Not for you.....or your sister.
Half-sister, to be exact.
Some scene, huh?
Don't let him scare you.
I've had so many children.
I've had so many disappointments.
Mistake after mistake.
And then there's you.
The two of you.

What do you want from me?

I want you to be yourself.
You know, I'll tell you,'s like a bag of fucking bricks.
All you got to set it down.
I know what you're going through.
I've been there.
Just come here. Come here.
Let it go.
I can't do that.
Who are you carrying all those bricks for?
Is that it?
I'll tell you.....let me give you a little inside information about God.
God likes to watch.
He's a prankster.
Think about it.
He gives man......instincts.
He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do?
I swear, for his own amusement......his own private, cosmic......gag reel.....He sets the rules in opposition.
It's the goof of all time.
Look, but don't touch.
Touch, but don't taste.
Taste, but don't swallow.
And while you're jumping from one foot to the next, what is He doing?
He's laughing his sick, fucking ass off!
He's a tightass!
He's a sadist!
He's an absentee landlord!
Worship that? Never!
"Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven," is that it?

After reading the dialog can't you picture Robert Duncan or Jack Iker or John David Schofield in the role opposite Al Pacino?  I surely can.  NO, the core issue with ACNA is vanity.  So let's turn the tables on these folks for just one more second and quote scripture right back at them:  Ecclesiastes 1:1 "The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."

And so it goes.


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