I was cleaning our kitchen the other day. I wiped down the countertops, scrubbed the sink and got the stovetop so clean it sparkled. Heck, I even knocked down the cobwebs in the corner of the ceiling. I have laser focus but I tend to be a little oblivious, sometimes failing to notice obvious things. Anyway, I was putting the dried goods in neat little jars and arranging them happily on our quaint wooden shelves with some jazz music playing softly when I heard a voice down the hallway.
I didn’t think much of it at the time and resumed my amiable arranging. Somehow, by the grace of God, my friend Malcolm walked in. “Lee, the upper half of your kitchen looks fantastically polished; it’s a thing of beauty. But I fear you may have overlooked something.” My gloating smile began to droop in suspicion. What did Malcolm mean? Overlooked something? I stared at him and waited for him to clarify. He continued in disbelief, “Really? You didn’t notice that?” He pointed to the far corner of the kitchen.
I looked down. Oh… I hadn’t noticed I was ankle-deep in sewage. There, on the floor was the sewer line- a rickety old clay pipe. Must’a sprung a leak. It was not only spewing a steady stream of murky fecal water but there were occasional sprays of liquid into in the air as if the pipe was a vein pumping blood from the heart. With each beat the pipe pulsed more sewage into the room. It was rising at a steady rate. “Huh, how silly of me to not notice. I’m practically swimming in this,” I said.
Our lives are changing rapidly. Suddenly, the world has arrived at our fingertips. Masters of design are partnering with bottom-line marketers to bring us an endless supply of discontent. They drop blankets across all media to make sure we don’t have to go without our sweet, tasty discontent. They slip it under our door while we are sleeping. They leak it into the air. Before we know it, we’ve let them build pipes of cultural filth to flow all around us. And it’s hard to keep it out. It comes to our gates. We can stuff it into our ears and inject it into our eyes pleasantly, effortlessly. And it happens instantly, seamlessly. We are told it will make us more productive and more efficient; it will save us time. It will save us. And we buy it. The savior has come.
This so-called savior too easily sweeps into our lives unsuspectingly and brings cultural crap straight into the veins of our identity. Sure, we can clean like never before but it is covering our kitchen floors with filth. Cultural turds are floating all around us, contaminating us. But it happily entertains us as we go about our days. We seem to not mind walking in poop. Or maybe we’re so distracted we don’t notice.
But for some there is a general resistance to this promised savior and its prophets. Perhaps we know it is as dangerous as an alcoholic trying to get sober with a flask of whiskey tucked away in their jacket- always whispering telepathically that one touch wouldn’t hurt- because whatever our downfall may be (social media, games, email, productivity, porn) our personalized temptation never leaves our side. Our downfall rides with us in our pocket wherever we go; it is our constant companion: always there, waiting, yearning sensually for our touch. It is there when no one else is; it is there in our time of need. We enter further into a progressively exclusive relationship with it until we- our thoughts, words and actions- all smell of the turds upon which we tread. Our spiritual, mental and emotional lives become disgusting, causing problems for our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with God. Instead, we need to widen our attention. Take a look around, down. We, amid communities, need to remind ourselves of the turds we’re stepping in. We need to call each other out of it. And most of all, we need a different savior.