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Detouring Through Vanity Fair

Friday, August 16, 2019

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“But my kind reader will please to remember that this history has “Vanity Fair” for a title, and that Vanity Fair is a very vain, wicked, foolish place, full of all sorts of humbugs and falsenesses and pretensions.” – William Makepeace Thackery, Vanity Fair

Sadly, I have never taken the time to read The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan’s classic novel written while he was imprisoned and first published in 1678. It is a Christian allegory which tells the story of a man named Christian as he travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City.

And so, when a local church advertised that they were showing a free animated version of the book, I decided to go. No more excuses, right?

Well, I am so glad I went, because the movie was excellent and I enjoyed it immensely. I was also challenged by some parts, convicted by others, and encouraged by still others.

The most convicting episode was when the newly born-again Christian and his close friend Faithful journeyed through the town of Vanity Fair. They had been warned of the town’s inherent dangers by Evangelist, but he insisted that there was no way around it if they wanted to get to the Celestial City.

As Christian and Faithful entered the town, they immediately encountered people who were engaged in one continuous party. They lived by their own senses and for their own pleasure. The greatest danger posed by Vanity Fair and its residents was the tendency for well-meaning and good-intentioned believers to become entranced by their surroundings.

Did you just say “Ouch” or was that only me?

From my own personal pilgrimage – and from observing thousands of fellow believers – I can attest first-hand how the world and its siren call can cause a person to stumble and fall. The minute we take our eyes off the Good Shepherd, we start to detour from the narrow path He laid out before us. However, the Good News is that He always allows U-turns… and never chastises a truly repentant heart.

My fellow traveler, do your best to resist the evils and temptations of Vanity Fair. All the fleeting pleasures that this world offers pale in comparison to a single day in the Celestial City.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NKJV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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