On “The Troubles,” a song off of U2’s latest album “Songs of Innocence,” the band observes that the loss of one’s soul is far more serious than any social or political problem: “Somebody stepped inside your soul/Somebody stepped inside your soul/Little by little they robbed and stole/’Til somebody else as in control.” These words are a soul alert for men to be paying attention to their souls. The Austin band “Spoon” has named their new album “They Want My Soul.” The title track describes an urban pilgrim who sees that everyone he encounters want the same thing: “Card sharks and street preachers want my soul/All the sellers and palm readers want my soul.” These words are a warning to be vigilant in the care of our souls.
Over twenty years ago, Thomas Moore wrote a book that alerted our culture to our loss of soul. “The greatest malady of the 20th century, implicated in all our troubles and affecting us individually and socially, is ‘loss of soul.’ When soul is neglected, it doesn’t just go away; it appears symptomatically in obsessions, addictions, violence, and loss of meaning.” As astute social critics of culture, U2 calls us to pay attention to our souls. Twice in their song we have this refrain, “I have a will for survival/So you can hurt me and hurt me some more/I can live with denial/But you’re not my trouble anymore.” The words, “But you’re not my trouble anymore” are rather haunting. While living in denial, as a means of protection, is there the real possibility of becoming hardened? We may become brittle and inflexible in our relationships. If you wonder about this is happening to you, check with your wife or someone who knows you well.
One of the passions of this blog, is for men to become soulful. The call is to pay attention to our souls. The Psalmist cried, “Awake, my soul!” (Ps. 57:8) In Psalm 130:6 the Psalmist depicts his soul being more awake then the morning watchmen; alert, attentive and aware. “My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait fro the morning.” (v6) Men, don’t neglect the condition of your soul. According to Dallas Willard, “What is running your life at any given moment is your soul. Not external circumstances, not your thoughts, not your intentions, not even your feelings, but your soul. The soul is that aspect of your whole being that correlates, integrates, and enlivens everything going on in the various dimensions of the self. The soul is the life center of human beings.” There is a lot going on in our souls. As one observer of our soul life puts it, “Where I find nothing done by me, much may have been done in me.”
We need to be mindful of the words of Jesus, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? (Matt 16:26). Or as The Message puts it, “What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” Don’t neglect or be fearful of your soul. Pay attention to your soul life, by being quiet and listening to what your life is telling you, instead of dictating how you think life should be. The soul brings us down into realities of life, while we have the tendency to life on the surface.