It had been 400 years since the Jewish people heard the voice of a prophet. Four hundred years when the voice of prophecy was silent. The Jewish prophets of the Old Testament weren’t so much conveyors of the future, but truth-tellers. They pointed out what was wrong in their midst and called people to turn from the wrong-doing to what they new in their hearts to be right.
Sometimes I think we’re afraid of calling out the wrongs in our midst or we’re in denial that there are any problems at all! I know it’s hard to put the blinders on in the middle of the most distracting season of the year, but see if you can take five minutes to ponder what might be some of the sins in our American culture.
I thought I’d put a modern spin on the seven deadly sins to jump start my pondering. Here’s what I came up with:
Old: pride; New: privilege. Having privileges in society that you refuse to admit to yourself and others. Believing that there is a level playing field and not accepting that the doors of opportunity are not open to everyone. Believing that others don’t have your advantages because they aren’t working hard enough to attain them.
Old: envy; New: photo obsession. Endless posting on social media as a way to show others you have a better life than what you’re seeing of others in your feed. In reality, you’re living your life through a lens because you’re envious of the celebrity of others.
Old: gluttony; New: over-indulgence. Flippantly stating, “You can never have enough.” Making blanket statements that don’t mean anything or don’t have any grounding in fact. Over eating, drinking too much, and anything else that consumes you.
Old: lust; New: sexual objectification, sexual assault, misogyny. The recent presidential election and the horrific attitudes toward women brought this sin front and center. End of story.
Old: anger; New: normalizing hate speech and intimidation, domestic violence, bullying. Speech and actions that promote violence, approve of oppression, and alienate groups and individuals come from an evil place.
Old: greed; New: economic inequality. There’s a problem when less than 1% of the population owns and controls a disproportionate share of capital, political influence, and the means of production.
Old: sloth; New: reality programming. I hate reality shows. It’s the ultimate disregard for the truth of your own life. Living vicariously through the made-up lives of others denigrates the uniqueness of your own and keeps you from fully engaging in your own reality.
What truth telling do you have?