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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.

women and men at bar

Photo Credit: Jessica Antola

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Harder still is refusing to participate in gossip, banned in Leviticus 19:16 ("Do not go about spreading slander"). There goes watercooler chat, blogs, the better part of diplomatic relations, and my usual sweep through the tabloids that litter the office. I walk away from sotto voce chats about Marc Jacobs's boyfriend and gleeful speculation about Lindsay's next tailspin. It's only when you have to shun the mean-spirited that you realize, that's what gossip almost always is, and it rarely makes us feel better.

When someone cuts in and steals a cab, I have to suppress my outrage, invoking Proverbs 14:29, "He who is slow to anger has great understanding." Calm, collected, I say to the next harried female executive who comes along, "Go ahead, take it. I'm in no rush." Totally disarmed, she breaks out into the most grateful grin, and I feel flush with goodwill. It's liberating to drop the petty striving, even though it likely means I'll be late.

9 P.M.
Office workers spill into the bar in search of some very unholy good times. The raucous male patrons want to engage, mock, and score; I want to relax and read. My "Bible directional" clothing piques their curiosity and unleashes some witless boys-will-be-boys comments: "You can still see your tits in that, alright." Mentally, I flip to Matthew 6:15: "If you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Snappy comebacks just aren't an option. As the guys slam shots and blather on, my unruffled politeness and happy grin rob them of their power to insult me. Chastened, they christen me a "good sport" instead of a freak in white cotton.

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