A Sloth

Ephesians 5:13-14

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that is illuminated becomes a light itself. So it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

In the Bible the second coming of Christ is signified by the ‘awakening’ of Christians. What does this awakening refer to? It cannot only be referring to dead Christians waking  from the dead, because the call includes living Christians.  The reference to ‘sleep’ reminds me starkly of a depiction of the seven deadly sins from Dr. Faustus. One sin most do not understand is sloth. Typically, sloth is interpreted as someone lazy and sleepy, who cannot respond to life without giving up.

How can this be as bad as the rest of the deadly sins? To be completely honest, I am not convinced that the sin of sloth is completely based on laziness alone. It seems to be more a reference to apathy, cowardliness, and even a tolerance to any and all other opinions.

Although this may appear to be an extreme stance, something similar is espoused by several authors. I read a book recently called Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which follows a world set in 2540. This world is full of people who learn in their sleep, are continuously brainwashed, and are completely ruled by fantasies.

The irony lies in the title as this ‘New World’ is anything but brave. Everything is by design, people controlled by their own pleasures which are encouraged without moral objections. Without ethics or morality, no concept of imagination aside from drug-induced ‘holidays’ exist. In this new world, the government supports and pushes propaganda on that touts these ‘holidays’ as better than dealing with the pain caused by emotions. People, as cowardly as their robotic lives, did not think for themselves, could not love, but only felt lust. They never need to wake up and feel emotion or pain, but live in a dreamlike, robotic, monotonous state of complacency and apathy.

My contention is that the sin of sloth is similar to this situation, though perhaps not on as wide a scale. The loss of imagination appears as a clear prerequisite to loss of morality and descent into apathy. Although I cannot prove that imagination can help display ethics, I do know of someone who can. This topic was covered in depth by one of my favorite authors: C.S. Lewis.

C.S. Lewis spent a good deal of his career creating works steeped in Christian principles and allegorical meaning. Lewis adamantly believed that imagination in Christianity was a major factor in our moral and spiritual ‘awakening’.

Perhaps this is part of what Christians will experience on Christ’s return, perhaps not. It is always worth thinking and perhaps imagining.

Be blessed today.

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