Introduction to Class: Glittering Vices

Gary W. Moon Part 1 of 7

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Table of contents

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Introduction

Rebecca DeYoung (Ph.D., University of Notre Dame) is a Senior Fellow at the Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture. In her spare-time she is philosophy professor at Calvin University. Or, perhaps that is the other way around.

As many know, much of her work focuses on the seven deadly sins, virtue ethics and spiritual formation. Her book, Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies, which was awarded the C. S. Lewis prize, is a remarkable addition to recent spiritual formation literature.

Given today’s climate of social and political unrest, global pandemic, economic volatility, and what appears to be a kidnaping of civility, it seemed like a good time to learn more about vices, and in particular, their remedies.

We are very pleased that Rebecca has agreed to help us explore her book and to put together some materials for conversaio.org. In addition to a broad discussion of vices and virtues, we will drill down a bit and look in more depth at the particular vice of anger and also the virtue of hope. We will also bring to you the voice of Dallas Willard in the form of audio (with a transcript) of a talk he did under a series with the folksy title, “Anger, Lust and Cussing.”

A dear friend recently reminded an audience that the term “unprecedented” has been used to describe the events of 2020. It was the go-to label for the raging pandemic, dramatic economic downturn, and racial tensions. However, when you sit down and take a couple of long, slow deep breaths, you realize that these recent events are actually quite precedented. The Black Death of the fourteenth century, the pandemic of 1918—on the staggering backs of a world at war, The “Great Depression,” and the of the racial tensions and civil unrest of the 1960’s.

“Unprecedented,” is a good word. But it needs to be reserved for events that truly are unparalleled. I need to remind myself of this. It gives me hope. And, I believe, our hope for healing our present trauma will require becoming transformed by something truly unprecedented, the way of life demonstrated by Jesus and echoed by heroes such as Howard Thurman in his life and remarkably poignant work, Jesus and the Disinherited.

We do need the unprecedented empathy of Jesus and his unprecedented way of living in this world. We do need virtuous remedies for the polarizing vices that we see in most every news report we watch today.

We live in a very polarized world. Levels of anger and rage are at high tide. We need to understand our anger, listen to it, and in the words of Rebecca DeYoung, we need to discover what our anger is guarding.

We hope you’ll take some time to listen in on an interview with Rebecca and then follow the links for additional reading and viewing

A Map for Your Journey

1. Read our interview with Rebecca
2. Read Rebecca’s overview of her book, Glittering Vices, which was part of a recent Renovaré book club study
3. Read Rebecca’s blog on Anger (See information on Biola University’s CCT below for additional information and reading)
4. Listen to and read the transcript to Dallas Willard’s talk on Anger
5. Read Rebecca’s more popular treatment of the virtue of hope
6. Read Rebecca’s chapter titled, What Are You Guarding? Virtuous Anger and Lifelong Practice” from the book Faith and Virtue Formation: Christian Philosophy in Aid of Becoming Good.

Additional Materials and Links

In addition to Rebecca’s podcast on Anger which can be viewed above, you may also want to view the following:

  1. A blog essay in which Rebecca DeYoung discusses how sloth (or acedia) is resistance to the daily, transformative demands of our love relationship with God.
  2. In this blog essay addressing the question of how to do good deeds that God might be glorified (Matt 5:16) while not doing good deeds in order to impress others (Matt 6:1). In other words, how to share your virtue without showing off.
  3. Renovare Podcast: Deadly Sins and Their Remedies
  4. Calvin College January Series: Glittering Vices—Soul Care for Struggling Christians
Listen to all parts in this Glittering Vices series