Pithy Post: Truth in an Age of Politics
January 26, 2012 1 Comment
During this election season, going to factcheck.org is a necessary but altogether distressing practice. Too often, truth is not nearly as important as repetition and rhetoric is substituted for reason. As discouraging as this is to so many of us nowadays, the reality is that throughout history people in power have used language as a tool to gain and maintain that power. It is in this type of world that Jesus sent his disciples and sends us to speak and live authentically. That’s why he prayed so earnestly in John 17:
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them (in other words, Make them holy) by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
This theme and its importance for Christians and our world today struck me at a conference I am attending. My friend Kevin asked a highly respected Old Testament scholar named Walter Brueggemann this question, “If you could just wave your magic wand and change one thing in the church today, what would it be?” Brueggemann responded with this passionate plea:
[I wish] that the church had the freedom and the courage to break the cocoon of denial in our society by truth-telling. Many pastors have their guts eaten out because they know what they must say that they dare not say.
This is a radical call for preachers to tell the truth even when it hurts, and for all Christians to be the type of people who want their pastors to speak the truth even when it doesn’t fit with the ideologies they cling to. In a world where truth is routinely sacrificed on the altar of Power, we who are Christians should be willing to sacrifice power for the sake of the truth.
As Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.”