The Virtue of Selfishness*

I went to Bible Study last night.

I know, eh?!  Bible Study!!

I can tell what you’re thinking: first church, now Bible Study.  Apparently this  girl can’t get enough of the Good Book.


I was pretty nervous about going.  No, I was SUPER nervous about going.  And then I was beyond nervous when I arrived at a shiny, monstrous Upper East Side apartment, covered in sweat from my cross-Manhattan bike sprint.  These Bible Study people are not from the same world as me. Here’s to making a good first impression.

Things I liked about this Bible Study:

The people were nice.  Really nice.  Genuinely welcoming and vaguely interested in my life.  Plus, they had hummous, guacamole, and baba ghanoush.  Totally beats all the Bible Study snacks I’ve ever prepared.

The people were also very smart.  I’m not saying that I don’t like dumb people, but every so often it’s really refreshing to talk about the Bible with highly intelligent people.  Not that we were talking about the Bible; we were actually talking about this book.  But the conversation was interesting, even if I didn’t always agree with it.

Things I didn’t know how to handle:

People kept talking about the amount of guilt and sinfulness they were aware of in their lives.  One guy mentioned walking down the street and being hyper-aware of all the sinful and judgemental thoughts running through his head.  Another girl asked for prayer to deal with the huge amount of guilt she has been feeling over the amount of sin in her life.

And I thought:

I don’t think about sin and guilt that much.

I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want you to be miserable about your guilt all the time.

Um, do you seriously have nothing BETTER to think about than YOURSELF when you’re walking down the street?!

I’ve never noticed before how the emphasis on individual salvation can really blur the lines with extreme selfishness and narcissism.  But that’s kindof what it looks like to me.

Am I wrong?  Did I miss something?  Is it a virtue to be selfish?

OMG did I just quote Ayn Rand??!!  My 18-year-old self would be so darn impressed.  And, I thought I left all Randian references back in my angst-y undergraduate years.  So much for moving on.


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