Mitch Keeler, Stonepoint Member
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We have a bit of a strained relationship with the truth in our country. This can be attributed to the rising cult of opinion, but it goes deeper. We’ve even named the times the post-truth age. We evaluate information for its truthiness. And we are on the lookout for alternative facts and fake news.
Certainly, this is not something new, rather it is something we are much more aware of. We are drowning in a flood of information and hear of far more instances of it. But that does not make it any less troubling.
To me this has caused us to split into two different groups regarding where the fundamental problem lies. The first group sees that the problem revolves around the refusal of absolute truths. To them, the greatest problem is relativism. The answer is easy. Things are black or white, with very little, if any, grey. And the world would be better off if these absolutes were enforced.
The second group sees only grey. Every situation must be evaluated for its particular context and for the particular feelings and consequences that will be implicated. There is a greater concern for the people and things involved than in upholding any absolute.
Life, of course, is somewhere in the middle. We must recognize that there are absolute truths in this universe. Just as there are certain absolute facts that must be upheld in order for our universe to function, there are similar moral absolutes that must be maintained in order for our society to function.
It’s like the discussion of the purpose of the church from Sunday; the balance of truth and love. Some churches like to focus only on the truth, just the truth, and only the truth. No grace, no assistance in the struggle, just constant reminders of all the things that are a sin. All the ways that people are going to hell. We can think of the very extreme versions of this like Westboro, but it happens on a much more subtle way in churches all across the country in every city and town. You can even see it in the way the Southern Baptist Convention is having to struggle with interpretations on the requirements of staying in marriages versus love and grace to those impacted in abusive relationships of various forms in the wake of the controversy surrounding Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson and his comments. It’s the desire to be right above all else.
A church that is all truth is like a smoothie that is all water, beets, celery, kale, ginger, etc. It might be good for you, but its a little bitter and tough to swallow. Like trying to take castor oil.
Other churches come down on all love. Avoiding the parts of the Bible that might hurt someone or be offensive, avoiding any controversy at all. Rather focusing only on “God is Love.” And again, while we can jump to various Universalists, it happens to a larger degree than we would imagine. Pastors afraid to confront anyone in their church for fear of running them off. Continuing the example, like a smoothie made of cola, sugar, candy, and chocolate. Too sicky sweet, no substance, no benefit beyond comfort. The syrup without the medicine.
The ideal is truth in love. A church that loves so much, they are not afraid to correct each other in love to make sure that they grow and sharpen each other. A smoothie that has a little spinach, almond milk, bananas, and peanut butter. A spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.
Because we know the reality is that the churches that focus only on truth are most often focusing only on a partial truth. Cherry picking the truths that they wish to enforce. Or more specifically, ignoring the truths that require them to love, to be generous, to be kind, to avoid judging, etc. Focusing on specific, absolute truths can often blind them to smaller truths as well.
Let’s use another example. The dress controversy from a couple of years ago. An absolute truth would be that “the dress as bought in a store was black and blue”. Many people used this fact to justify their view of what was visible in the picture of the dress. Armed with this fact, there was no way that the dress could be any other combination of color. This would blind them to the fact of another truth – “a picture of the dress where the color saturation is off, the lighting is dark, and the exposure is different can make the dress appear white and gold.”
So while it is true that we should ‘have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them,” it is also true that we should “first take the plank out of our own eye” and that we should “do everything in love.”
That said, the sound clip is very clearly saying “Laurel” and if you are hearing “Yanny“, you need to have your hearing or equipment checked.
For more “assorted thoughts, musings, rants, and raves on assorted and sundry topics” from Mitch, check out his blog at https://www.mitchellany.com