DeYoung interview & busyness


As mentioned earlier, one of the primary sources lending structure to our study of the 7 Deadly Sins this Fall is Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies, by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung.

Christianity Today recently interviewed DeYoung to talk about why she wrote a book about these sins; how we can identify them without becoming obsessed with them; and, once identified, how we root them out. Since we're considering sloth this Sunday, here's what she had to say about it:

"Once you take God out of the picture, there's really no good way to make sense of sloth. People have floundered to know what to do with that one and whether it belongs on the list. I say in the book, 'Oh, good, sloth—finally a vice I don't have to worry about having.' But when I studied the tradition, I realized that busyness, workaholism, diversion, and frenetic activities can all be symptoms of sloth, just as much as laziness or inactivity can be."

Her answer brings to mind these words from Eugene Peterson in writing about the "unbusy pastor:"

"I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself…It was a favorite theme of C.S. Lewis that only lazy people work hard. By lazily abdicating the essential work of deciding and directing, establishing values and setting goals, other people do it for us; then we find ourselves frantically, at the last minute, trying to satisfy a half dozen different demands on our time, none of which is essential to our vocation, to stave off the disaster of disappointing someone."

The sloth image is taken from the cover of Sloth by Wendy Wasserstein; part of Oxford University Press' 7 Deadly Sins series.