Contemporary culture trivializes the "seven deadly sins," or vices, as if they have no serious moral or spiritual implications. Glittering Vices clears this misconception by exploring the traditional meanings of gluttony, sloth, lust, and others. It offers a brief history of how the vices were compiled and an eye-opening explication of how each sin manifests itself in various destructive behaviors. Readers gain practical understanding of how the vices shape our culture today and how to correctly identify and eliminate the deeply rooted patterns of sin that are work in their own lives. This accessible book is essential for any reader interested in spiritual disciplines and character formation. EXCERPT
Very simply, a virtue (or vice) is acquired through practice--repeated activity that increases our proficiency at the activity and gradually forms our character. . . . We often need external incentives and sanctions to get us through the initial stages of the process, when our old, entrenched desires still pull us toward the opposite behavior. But with encouragement, discipline, and often a role model or mentor, practice can make things feel more natural and enjoyable as we gradually develop the internal values and desires corresponding to our outward behavior. Virtue often develops, that is, from the outside-in. This is why, when we want to re-form our character from vice to virtue, we often need to practice and persevere in regular spiritual disciplines and formational practices for a lengthy period of time.
Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is associate professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She wrote the "seven deadly sins" entry for the "Encyclopedia of Christianity" and collaborated with two of her seminary students to develop a high school/college curriculum on the subject.
Introduction Gifts from the Desert: The Origins and History of the Vices Tradition Envy: Feeling Bitter When Others Have it Better Vainglory: Image is Everything Sloth: Resistance to the Demands of Love Avarice: I Want It All Anger: Holy Emotion or Hellish Passion? Gluttony: Feeding Your Face and Starving Your Heart Lust: Smoke, Fire, and Ashes Epilogue