FREE OF CRIPPLING DISEASE
John F Kennedy wrote, ‘The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.’
WHAT IS TRUTH?
Life is truth and truth is life. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life in person. An undiluted, unconditional following of Jesus ensures that we can live confidently and innocently in the truth that multiplies spirit and life.
No matter how much we strive to subvert truth and how committed we are to our own versions of truth, the truth will eventually out itself. Truth has its own vitality and its own vindication – life. ‘The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.’
If we have made a life from darkness we will fear the light. Authoritarian regimes fear the truth and go to considerable lengths to preserve their power by supressing truth and purveying lies. Donald Trump has created his own reality from the conceit that ‘he knows.’ As a result he lives in a lie and must confidently assert that truth tellers are multiplying fake news. If we do this long enough we will reveal ourselves as fake persons or purveyors of fake gospels.
LIFE AND LIGHT
Major Ian Thomas wrote, ‘Jesus Christ Himself is the final exegesis of all truth. He is all that we need to know about God, and He is all that we need to know about man.’
PURVEYING CONFUSION AS LIGHT
Noel was the pastor of a local church. He lived on tenterhooks each time his congregation returned from a Christian Conference. Since his church majored in an aberrant gospel, his fear and annoyance following such conferences came from the fact that the peace and harmony he had cultivated in his congregation by avoiding the truth would be undone and he would have an ‘issue’ on his hands.
A LAZY PEACE
Peace to some is more important than truth and consequently more important than life.
We can purvey a variety of ‘normal’ that consists of large elements of truth redacted from the discourse. Or we can specialise in a ‘gospel’ that appears to be Christ’s gospel but which at heart is ‘another gospel’ of the kind Paul warned us to avoid.
Then again we can spend our pastoral life attempting to adjust the edges of a version of the gospel that is subtly but fundamentally bent.
KEEPERS OF THE LAME
Neville was not intellectually bright. Nor was he particularly able as a teacher. But he did fit the kind of person required – one not intelligent enough to see through the illusions of the status quo. Neville became the head of Christian Schools in his parish. He shifted uneasily in his seat and cast fearful looks at his colleagues in staff worship, when a colleague more spiritual and astute than himself brought in a guest speaker; a speaker who gave out the fresh words of a truth-teller.
DISCIPLES OF OPPRESSION
Truth contains the threat of disruption to ideologies of error – disruption that is either psychological or sociological in the case of communities built on the promotion of a false narrative and the resulting subversion of truth.
GEORGE AND MAVIS
George was a good man. Yet he took on the look of a frightened rabbit whenever it seemed that the guest speaker he had invited might accost his congregation with undiluted truth.
But truth is not a threat to those who value life more than conformity and power.
Mavis was the third in a line of un-remarkable leaders chosen because of the assumption what is needed is people dull enough to pose no threat to the inbuilt lies on which the faith community is built. In the meantime these crippled personalities go about gaslighting those more able and Godly than themselves – and doing it in the name of God.
BEARERS OF LIGHT
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, ‘The messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time. They will be blamed for all the division which rend cities and homes. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray; they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace.’
Or blamed for undermining denominational life and bringing life to that which is already dead.