Magazine article The Christian Century

Who Cares? (from the Editor/publisher)

Magazine article The Christian Century

Who Cares? (from the Editor/publisher)

Article excerpt

AT THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY lecture in September, about 200 people gathered for a festive evening to meet author Kathleen Norris. Her topic that evening was not exactly festive, however. She spoke personally, thoughtfully and deliberately about sloth and its spiritual expression, acedia (see her article on p. 8).

I've been thinking about her presentation for months now and realized that the ancient church was right in thinking sloth is serious business, serious enough to be one of the seven deadly sins. I recall that the church's General Confession used to say, "We confess our sinful nature, prone to evil and slothful in good." I always thought "slothful in good" was a very helpful phrase.

I was reminded of an essay by Harvey Cox in which he observed that the Greek root of sloth means "not caring." Cox said that sloth is the lackadaisical refusal to live up to one's essential humanity. Sin may involve pride, the tendency in every one of us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but sin also involves the refusal to be fully human, to be the responsible moral agents God created us to be. The human predicament is not simply that we are vain, selfish and egocentric, that we want to be gods and are altogether too full of ourselves, but that we don't live fully enough or aim high enough, that we refuse to acknowledge our potential and our responsibility to be God's co-workers in creation. …

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