Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Glorify God

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field...
Genesis 3:1

What is true of the serpent is true of his inventions. The most deadly sins are the most subtle, pride being chief among them. Sure, pride can be noisy and brash, an ugly display of self-important pomp. But in this way, pride is often like the obvious swindler who, eliciting our devout rejection, enables his partner to pick our pockets in the diversion. Subtle is the pride that comes from being selfless. There is a way of glorifying God which is really a way of glorifying ourselves. This is the serpent's insidious masterpiece, one that I am learning to guard against.

Monday, February 6, 2012

D'Artagnan and the Meaning of Devotion

In the classics book club I belong to, we recently read The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. The Three Musketeers, as you may know, is a tale of swashbuckling heroes who are such friends that one may gamble with the others' money after squandering his own, who are so brave that they are ready to fight to the death upon so much as an insult to the color of their horses, and who are so devoted as to risk life and limb in service to their lord or mission. Put that way, the story sounds quite interesting. In truth, none of us in the club liked it much.

For me, the biggest take-away from The Three Musketeers was a single word, one I've already used to describe our heroes: devoted. The word was spoken by the main character, D'Artagnan, who ironically is not one of the three musketeers of the book's title. While he pursued his love interest, Madame Bonacieux, with irresistable romantic charm, D'Artagnan told her that he was completely devoted to the Queen of France. He did not mean by this word what we might mistake him to mean.