Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Year of Living Biblically: Lying

Several times through out the book, Jacobs talks about the ever-important (yet pretty impossible) commandment, Thou Shall Not Lie. Besides the part about the tantrum his son throws when Jacobs doesn't lie about the English muffin (see two posts ago), I have another favorite moment: When he and his wife run into her old college friend and his response to setting up a play date for their kids is: "You guys seem nice, but I don't really want new friends right now." You see, he's not trying to be mean - just honest. They hardly have time to see the friends they already have - why throw more into the mix?

This made me think of a feature Jacobs wrote in Esquire last summer, "I Think You're Fat," an article about a movement called Radical Honesty. Jacobs tries to immerse himself in a completely truthful life, discovering how hard it really is and how many people he can easily piss off (we don't all handle the truth very well). It's hilarious and worth a read. It also made me wonder if he came across this Radical Honesty movement while living biblically and thou-shall-not-lying? I'm sure the two go hand-in-hand somehow.

Side note: Another passage in the book that really made me think was about prayer. Jacobs tried to pray several times each day. Once he got the hang of it, it made him feel good. One of the advisers on his call list suggested that he should really be praying for God, not for himself. It should take time out of your day - you should sacrifice to pray. However, as Jacobs points out, if he sacrifices and becomes more selfless, then he'll actually become a better person, and good for him. It's silly, but it reminds me of an episode of Friends when Joey and Phoebe talk about how there aren't any selfless good deeds - they all make you feel good about yourself. Maybe that's OK, though? I say, even if people do good things for others because it makes them feel good, it's still better than no one helping anyone else at all.

1 comment:

CMS said...

I love your posts, A. Keep 'em coming.