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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rainy Day Reflection on Reader's Digest

My husband was browsing Reader's Digest this morning over his coffee and directed my attention to an article called The Petrified Woman. Here's how it begins:
Stop! Are you about to eat a scoop of onion dip? It could cause meningitis. Showing some kids around work? For God's sake, keep them away from the stapler. Planning a walk? Bring plenty of water or you could end up in a coma! And let's not even talk about what could happen if you take the kids to the mall and find yourselves contemplating an escalator ride.
The author goes on to describe warnings about children in shopping carts, tripping over pets, the relationship between sun exposure and cancer and sunscreen and cancer, getting runover by parade floats, not jumping into the back seat to answer a ringing cell phone while driving, etc. etc. ad absurdum. All of these warnings are really out there guaranteeing we'll all be safe as long as we stand still (in the shade, of course) and don't move, particularly along parade routes. She concludes with the advice to "Pay attention to your health - and a little less to the health scare of the day - and you'll be fine."

When my husband finished sharing this humorous article I couldn't help thinking that it makes perfect sense in an insane culture to worry about everything except what really matters - sin and damnation. Instead of focusing on the state of the soul, stress out over germs on the mint wrapper at the cash register. Instead of reflecting on the evil that comes from within man, obsess over the bacteria without. Worry about stepping on an escalator and shrug over stepping into an occasion of sin. Quake at the thought of global warming and ridicule the thought of hell fire.

It all makes perfect sense. People who give up confession, confess their sins to Oprah or Dr. Phil and get the "absolution" (or condemnation) of the audience god. The only personal sins are pollution, failure to recycle, having too many children, and intolerance. Salvation is found in embracing green technology, recycling, and planting trees to reduce the carbon footprint. And thus the philosophy of moral relativism practiced in the secular city sinks into absurdity!

Who would have thought Reader's Digest would be the source of stimulating such rainy day reflection?

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