On March 20, 1925, an Anglican priest named Frederick Lewis Donaldson preached a sermon centering around what he called the “7 Deadly Social Evils.” Through the help of what he called a “fair friend,” Mohandas Gandhi had the opportunity to reprint the list in his weekly newspaper. A few weeks before the Mahatma’s assassination, he gave a handwritten copy of the list to his grandson, Arun Gandhi. It was Arun Gandhi that brought the list to the world, publishing it after his grandfather’s death under the heading “Seven Blunders of the World.”
In the latest installment of This Week on Facebook, I present a meme: “Just imagine how great life would be if biscuits and gravy made you skinny.”
Well, sure. But why stop there? Let’s wish that video games increased our intelligence, or alcohol improved our driving, or pornography strengthened our marriages. The only difference is, I’ve heard people actually argue the last three. Not even kidding.
Here’s the report from planet earth, though: Good choices are frequently painful choices, and indulgent choices are rarely good choices. I am no stoic, but I must decry the rampant hedonism in our culture that has been sold to us as a tonic for what ails us.
Medicine tastes bad. Exercise hurts. Work wears you out. And yes, tragically, healthy food is less appetizing than fattening, artery-clogging food. Frankly, we should be highly suspicious when someone tries to tell us different.
But we do have a tendency to believe “information” that supports our indulgences. Most of my brethren who have tried to get around the clear teaching of Matthew 19:6 and Matthew 19:9, for instance, have a divorce and remarriage situation very close to home. The truth does not always hurt, granted; however, it doesn’t become less truthful when it does hurt.
God’s word is truth (John 17:17). Our current understanding of it may or may not be truth. We owe it to ourselves to be honest — painfully honest. If it means giving up a tasty morsel or two, so be it.
So Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, the famed and celebrated Bonnie and Clyde themselves, capped off the Oscars ceremony by announcing the wrong winner in the Best Picture category — surely a greater theft than any perpetrated by their real-life bank-robbing counterparts. And yet my biggest takeaway from the biggest television fiasco since Nipplegate at Super Bowl XXVIII is … I don’t care.