When we talk about soul toxins it immediately raises the appropriate question, what is toxic to our souls in our culture? The list will be different for every individual because there are healthy and unhealthy ways to use a neutral medium such as TV. So this list is only intended to make you think about how you interact with the culture. It is not intended to be an exhaustive commentary on our culture and neither is it intended to imply these things are all good or all bad. You must make your own discerning choices. Having said, that this list is a good place to start asking the right questions.
We live in a very sensual culture that has elevated sexuality to a place where it is treated like a cure all for human happiness. Media and the way it is often used in our culture helps drive this. Movies, porn, and lyrics in music treat sexuality more like a drug than the gift of intimacy that it truly is.
Women are often exploited in the process. Part of the problem is that his has become so main stream that it is hard to find a popular movie that doesn’t include bare bodies or sexuality that goes outside of biblical morals. Have you considered that is toxic to the human soul? Do you realize that this actually works against us in developing true lasting intimacy? Unfortunately we become numb to the portrayals of sexuality and violence so that we are seldom shocked. We take it in and it affects us more than we know. If we complain the public says it is prudish to take a stand against it. We are cast as nay-sayers, self-righteous judges or controlling. But I’ve heard figures as high as 40% of us have had some form of sexual abuse in our lives. I believe the media we consider mainstream is putting our emotional, physical and spiritual health at risk. The over-sexed culture is toxic to our souls.
The Speed of Life
We have more gadgets than ever before. There are more ways to stay in accessible today than we did a year ago. Have you looked around at a restaurant and seen a family, all sitting at the same table, but all looking at their phones at the same time? Has that happened at your table or your home?
At times it seems like the person trying to get to you on social media is the one that is more important than the one in front of you. I saw an article in the paper this week that talked about the rise in ADHD. There is agreement that the amount of gadgets and connectivity erodes the ability to have genuine conversation. It works against the ability of children, students and parents to focus, build strong relationships, and get work done.
Drugs and Alcohol
We think we can handle more and more in the name of just having a good time but it gets to the point that we begin to think we can’t have a good time without alcohol or a pick me up drug. We call drugs recreational now. The problem with anything we use as a crutch is that it takes more and more to get to the level of coping we attempt to reach. As we use more we begin to "need" more. Before long what we used to be able to take or leave has a grip on us.
I was listening to a sports talk show in the KC area leading up to the super bowl and the host was talking about how that he likes to bet on every part of the event. He bets on how many planes will be in the fly over. He bets on who will win the coin flip, who will score first, who will get injured first (which team), who will lead at half time and on and on. The game isn’t exciting to him unless he has his computer open and he is watching his bets and following twitter. He said his idea of a great time is to have one girl over to watch the game with him but she has to understand that the game comes first and he wants to keep conversation to a minimum. I found myself thinking what kind of self-respecting girl would sign up for that? It was obviously all about him. And isn't it sad he can't enjoy the game without imposing that kind of risk into it.
If my wife was making this list she would add that our culture is out of control when it comes to sports. Basketball season runs into the start of baseball season which runs into the start of soccer and then there is the NFL draft and spring football and on and on. I think hockey fits in there somewhere, oh wait, are they still in a lock-out, no but who cares. Sports is one of those things that can be a good release and even provide recreational benefit if it isn't used to excess. Beware of the reflected glory syndrome where people begin to take on the feeling that they are one with their team. When their team wins they are on top of the world. When they loose they are in the dumps. Is that how you feel after a win or loss?
The temptation to try and keep up with what is “average” around here is impossible because every time you think you’ve attained “it” it changes. It used to be a big deal to have a mobile phone but now everyone in the family has a cell phone and most of them are PDA’s. If you don’t have an iPhone, iPad, iPad mini you are really out of it. Oh, but now Google fiber is here and the Androids like the Galaxy are giving Apple a run for it.
Dave Ramsey says, We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t know—and by the way they don’t care and aren’t impressed.
This isn’t an exhaustive list is it? I'm really not a basher and I'm not against having a good time. Some of these things are good when you use them in moderation but toxic if you go to the extreme. I don't have the answer but I want you to ask the right questions and find the best answer for you. My strongest desire is for you to find soul health.
I encourage you to go the Indian Creek Web Site and find some resources that will help you do some soul searching to find soul health. The Soul Detox series is a great place to start