envySinning Like a Christian // 03

It’s official. I am, without doubt, an envious person. I knew it was true in theory, of course, but I like to tell myself that I like myself (which I do) and that I’m fine with other people doing “great” things (and indeed, liking themselves for it). I’d like to think I’m less envious than many others, but that too scares me. Regardless, I now know that in the game of envy, I have lost. Let me give you some context: I am writing this before the 2008 election (but I likely won’t be posting until after it, which might prove interesting), and today (10/7) I was reading an online article about Obama’s rising positive ratings among evangelicals. In the course of the article, I read this sentence, “The man behind the push to reach out to evangelicals is Joshua DuBois. The 26-year-old black Pentecostal associate pastor from Boston is Obama’s point person for faith policy.” When I read this sentence, I felt something in my heart/mind/body that can only be rightly described as envy.

Now, let me be clear. I don’t find either candidate satisfying in terms of my Christian convictions, so I would never do what Joshua DuBois is doing. Moreover, I do not even think what Joshua DuBois is doing is very “great” from a kingdom perspective. I think he very well may have missed the point of what Jesus is about, he’s suffering from the long-term effects of a disease called Christendom or Constantinianism, and by devoting much time and energy to getting Obama elected under Christian pretenses he’s likely complicit in whatever in Obama’s policies displeases God.

But he’s 26! And I’m . . . 26. (Now I’m 27 but the point stands.) To be honest, for the most part I don’t want anyone writing about me in online articles, even for better reasons than he is, but I have to admit that apparently something in me doesn’t like where he is in relation to where I am.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about what this experience, including my explanations in the final two paragraphs, reveals about envy.

For now, let’s get uncomfortably personal: Who (or what kind of people) do you envy?

(I’m blogging through William Willimon’s book Sinning Like a Christian, reflecting in turn on each of the “seven deadly sins.” To see the other posts, click here.)