Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sweet Aroma

Every Friday something happens that is not that pleasant to talk about. 

In Bolivia, as in many parts of the world, one cannot flush their toilet paper. Many homes in the city do not have toilets. Those that do, even in the restaurants and large stores, the plumbing and paper make it so that flushing is not an option. The finest steakhouse in the city has a trashcan beside the toilet for your TP.

That means that you end up with a trashcan full of used TP.

What to do? What to do? 

You could put it in the trash. However, the trash collectors here have to open up the trash and sort it. Bottles, cans, plastics and then the non-recyclable trash go into different bins. Therefore, if you put your used TP in the trash, a city employee is going to have to dig through it. (Yuk).

The solution of a large portion of the city is to burn the used TP in their yard every Friday. All of our neighbors do this. We have no a/c or heating, so our windows and doors are always open. We will be sitting at our desk, maybe eating lunch, writing a sermon, or just going on with our day when the first waft of smell crawls over the window and invades our olfactory senses. 

It was horrible. 
It was nasty. 
It was disgusting. 
It was like you could feel the typhoid climbing down your throat to invade your body.

Notice that all of those verb tenses are past tense. It WAS all of those things. Now it is just a part of life. We have adapted to it. We smell it and go, "It is Friday, TP burning day."  Or I will ask Denise, "Do you smell something burning?" She replies that it is Friday. No disgust. No gag reflex.

What happened? We got accustomed to not only the idea of not flushing and burning, but also the actual event and smell of burning used TP. We no longer imagine disgusting little bacterias on a war campaign against our health. We just smell it and move on. 

We got used to smelling poop.

Wanna know something? This is how it is with sin in our lives. At first, the sin revolts us. We cannot believe that we did or allowed that to happen. We seek forgiveness. We feel guilty. We feel ashamed. 

Then we do it again. After repeating the above cycle, something starts to happen. We don't feel AS guilty. We don't feel AS shameful. We don't feel AS bad.

We commit the sin again. Guess what...we see that it is sin, but that is the extent of our revulsion. Just a label on the action or thought. 

Then, we remove the label. 

How can we explain our obesity and weight issues without acknowledging the sin of gluttony? It is because we do not think that eating more than we need, more often that we need to, is a problem. We may say that we have a weight problem. Do we ever say that we have a sin of gluttony problem? We may feel bad physically but do we ever feel bad spiritually? 

How else can we explain the consumptive lifestyle that we live...always clamoring for bigger, better, faster and more without using the sin of coveting to describe it? Simple. We just ignore it as we charge up our credit cards. 

What about the sin of anger? We live in anger. We speak harshly to our spouses and our children. We have road rage and spout obscenities, even the christian cuss words, at other drivers. We speak evil of the opposing political party/candidate. We gladly spread fake and true news that hurts other people. Are we ever convicted of the sin of anger? Does gossiping, backbiting and spreading rumors break our hearts and cause us to weep over our sin?

Or do we just smell it and move on with our lives?

Sin is disgusting and wrong, even when we grow accustomed to its stench. 

It is time to take out the trash. Instead of just putting up with the smell, lets stop the sin. Repentance is a wonderful thing. 

Just a thought.


Ruth Kennison said...

Jajaja. I was going to ask you what y'all do with the tp in Bolivia, but now I know!