In a lighter vein...
I am guilty of falling sway to the Hyacinth effect. Who is Hyacinth and what is her effect...We-l-l... more on Hyacinth at the end of the post.
I'm really good at coffin polishing. Sound grim? Here's one more morbid: "...you're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and all the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh."
This is performance based religion in a nutshell. And who better than Jesus could spot its slithery, slimy symptoms? This is why he used disturbing images to describe it. He wanted his listeners to realize and realize good performance based religion is rotten through and through.
I cut my teeth on performance based religion. Appearance MATTERED!!! And boy do I mean actual appearance. As the pastor of the cult was female outward neatness scored high with her. She was obsessed with neatly pressed clothes, perfectly cleaned houses, and Emily Post deportment.
Don't get me wrong-these things are good and healthy in perspective. However, they are not possible all the time. And that's what she demanded: PERFECTION ALL THE TIME.
But enough about her. This post will be funny and the harm she inflicted isn't funny.
Back to the Hyacinth Effect. I suffer with it. And poke fun at myself for doing so. Hyacinth is a character from a British sitcom, Keeping Up Appearances, who labors mightily that her neighbors, friends, and family would recognize her to be the member of the upper-crust echelon she knows herself to be. For her pains, Hyacinth is arrested, misses a long-awaited cruise, loses the chance to talk to royalty and many others hilarious scenarios. The moral of the story: her slovenly older sister and her slutty younger sister enjoy life in so much more fullness because they don't strive to keep up an appearance (not that I am endorsing slovenliness or sluttiness...but it beats coffin-polishing by a mile)
So if you're tempted, as I am, to rush about, believing you are controlling other's opinion of you by keeping up an appearance, visualize yourself in this Hyacinth clip: