The Ancient Sins of Modern Man

Today’s sonnet is inspired by my bad habit of checking my phone constantly. In fact, as terrible as this is to admit, Twitter is one of my biggest sources for news. Not for the information itself, but as a launching point to hear what’s going on in the world and hunt out more details elsewhere. There are advantages to doing it that way, but there are a number of disadvantages too: Twitter’s natural limitations in length mean that even the most well thought-out concepts are either articulated poorly or taken out of context quickly. Then there’s the tendency among many Christians (often, but not always, members of the Southern Baptist Convention) to intentionally incite anger. They make outrageous statements that sound profound but are provocative at best and downright based on poor or selfish interpretations of scripture at worst.

I don’t actually remember what outrage, if any, prompted today’s sonnet. There’s usually something on any given day. I do remember writing it during or shortly after a talk at Hutchmoot about a mail-based conversation between Dorothy Sayers and CS Lewis; the Sayers quote, copied down just before this sonnet, of “It always works better if the argument is directed to the subject, not the person” seems particularly relevant. This poem was intended to be more witty and humorous (like the conversation) than it wound up. Regardless, it’s definitely relevant today.

The Ancient Sins of Modern Man

Originally written October 11, 2019

My phone is buzzing loudly in my hand,
Alerting me to all the latest news
And all the ancient sins of modern man:
The vitriol, the language of abuse,
The latest scandal from the SBC,
Another Black man murdered on the street,
The yoke of culture weighing heavily,
Put on by those called to be hands and feet—
Instead, now meting out self-righteous wrath
On those who need our compassion the most.
God’s soldiers, following their own war path,
Not knowing they depart from Heaven’s Host:
On Twitter, they raise up the hue and cry,
And leave the souls of hurting sheep to die.

Photo by Zane Lee on Unsplash

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