Doug Giles

Fourth on The Se7en Deadly sins list is listlessness, or acedia, or spiritual dejection, or sloth, or blah-blah . . . whatever. I really don’t care anymore. Hey, what time does the Surreal Life air on the All-Hope-Is-Gone channel?

Anyway, sloth is essentially the desire to sit on your butt and pick lint from your navel because you’re a jaded and dejected bleak little monkey. Sloth is the sin, according to Dorothy Sayers, “which believes nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, loves nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and only remains alive because there is nothing it will die for.”

The decadent tub of spiritual lard that’s satiated with this swill will not lift a finger to fight insanity or to stand for God and humanity because, to them, there isn’t anything worth getting riled up about. As they see it, life has sucked, does suck and will continue to suck, and they feel there’s nada they can do about it. Therefore, don’t ask or expect them to cheerlead any cause because the world, according to this gloomy group, is irrevocably hell-bent for leather.

This sin, unlike pride, envy, anger, avarice, lust and gluttony is a sin of omission rather than of commission. Being a sluggard is a simple sin in that all you have to do to do this doo-doo is do nothing when you’re s’posed to do something.

When most folks think of someone who’s given to sloth, they usually conjure up an image of some bloated, slow moving, mumbling, unshorn, unemployed human sea cow with excessive eye buggers. The fact is that most indolents aren’t your typical heel draggin’ slackers. True slothfulness is easy to hide under a flurry of inconsequential activities and frothy busyness. Yes, you can be hectic, fit, religious and industrious and still be slothful. “But how?” you might ask. Here’s the real acid test to gauge whether or not you have this soul disease: when that which is consequential confronts you . . . such as the pursuit of God, the good, the true and the beautiful . . . how do you react?

Does that which is holy, just and good get a rise out of you and cause you to get off your butt and move into action? Or do you stand there and stare at the substantial like a calf looking at a new gate and then shrug and say, “Whatever.”?

Sloth can not be simply deduced to just loitering in life. Classically defined, sloth is a sluggishness of spirit which is the byproduct of a Van Gogh-esque spiritual gloominess that no longer sees the worthiness of the worthwhile and, ironically, leaves one, as Os Guinness states, trying to find “meaning in its own meaninglessness.”

Doug Giles

Doug Giles is the Big Dawg at and the Co-Owner of The Safari Cigar Company. Follow him onFacebook and Twitter. And check out his new book, Rise, Kill and Eat: A Theology of Hunting from Genesis to Revelation.