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November 12, 2007

Bible Study: A Week of Living Biblically

Could you give up gossip, designer clothes, and makeup for a week to be a better person? Cleo Glyde gives it a try.

woman with bible opening taxi door for girl

Cleo lets someone else take her cab!

Photo Credit: Jessica Antola

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Like many modern women, I have done just about everything wrong you can think of, Biblewise, short of murder. I've lied, I've bitched, I've coveted, I've even committed adultery. I would have been pockmarked with pebbles back in the day. Despite my convent-school past, I couldn't resist the secular freedoms of big-city life, where "no carbs" is as harsh as the rules get. But having it that easy is no way to develop character. When writer A.J. Jacobs began to wrestle with his agnosticism, he vowed to literally obey the Bible for a year as the ultimate test. His new book, The Year of Living Biblically, stirred my own desire to be a better person. It got me wondering: Could I do it for even a week? Could I reset my moral clock in time for the New Year?

Full of hope, I take out cash for the week to avoid credit cards: "You shall not borrow" (Deuteronomy 28:12). I wait for a green light on an empty street — no jaywalking; it's a civil law. But when a monster, gas-guzzling SUV passes by, I automatically think, God, what an asshole. I'm appalled — an uncharitable, negative thought and taking the Lord's name in vain (Commandment Three) before lunch!

9:30 A.M.
All the womanly fun I take for granted — skirts that swish, floaty chiffon blouses, costume jewelry, and full makeup — are verboten (1 Peter 3:3: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, gold jewelry, and fine clothes"). Ecclesiastes 9:8 narrows it down: "Let your garments always be white" — and mixed fibers are a no-no. Done: This week, everything I wear is 100 percent cotton. Despite working in a building where hems bubble, blowouts reign, and designer accessories are more emblematic than a sheriff's badge, I replace my Furla red patent clutch with a charity feed bag in reversible sackcloth. I am totally defanged as an urban player.

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