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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.

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When a colleague inquires about my apartment hunt, I respond, "Actually, I'm ready to start self-mutilating." I typically exaggerate to make life seem more interesting and fabulous — in other words, I fib on a regular basis, flouting the Ninth Commandment, "Thou shalt not lie." But it feels okay to admit that I'm finding it hard when I can't even lie to myself. At work, fudging the truth helps oil the wheels of PR, but I need to recalibrate. I choke back a "My pleasure" after a tedious renegotiation. I dodge discussion of a weak runway collection by praising the brand's brilliant marketing strategy.

Tantalized by the promise of 80 percent off, I'm going to a designer sample sale, and quite possibly to hell. "Thou shalt not covet," warns the Tenth Commandment. I get the symbolic problem with embellishment — but I am too busy stashing a brocade skirt behind the plumbing to remember. I feel like a dieter on a chocolate binge, until Luke 12:15 comes back to me: "Be on guard against every form of greed; life is not in the abundance of possessions." Ashamed, I put the skirt back on the table and leave the store empty-handed but with my wallet intact.

Later, I repair to a kosher restaurant, free to feast within biblical confines. All is well until I check out the Israeli restaurant owner who is tall, dark, and smolderingly handsome. Last night I rewound Craig Bierko's boxing scenes in Cinderella Man over and over. A movie-geek appreciation of Ron Howard's work? Hell, no! Bierko's hot. John Mayer stares down at me from Gap billboards everywhere. But Job 31:12 warns us: "Lust is a devastating fire." With all this imagery around, the flames are getting pretty close. I place an emergency call to A.J. Jacobs. "Just keep your eye on the sidewalk," he counsels. "It's the only way."

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