Monday, June 28, 2004

What is Truth?

As mentioned previously, this certain bishop said that the great thing about the postmodern era is that people "realize there are multiple realities." He then proceeded to talk about "living into the questions" and ambiguity as a Christian value in itself. However, this idea that every truth must be balanced by an equal and opposite "truth" in order to find God's truth is logically silly, and indicative of a worldview shaped more by Foucault than Jesus.

I believe it was the former who taught the last couple of generations that any claim to an absolute truth is actually an attempt by the powerful to solidify their control over those with little or no influence. In other words, power is knowledge, instead of the other way around. Therefore in a purely pomo worldview, to claim an absolute truth is to assume the role of an oppressor.

Jesus, however, said that the truth would make us free. He said that he is the truth. I think it must be both relational and propositional. And I think the truth can only be and do what the truth is and does if it is those things over and against other "truths." That is, lies. In other words, can we have a truth if nothing is a lie?

Frankly, I live my life among men and women who know their sexuality only as a curse, not a blessing, and their close relationships as power struggles and sources of pain instead of wholeness. Why? Because we believe all kinds of lies about God, ourselves and the world. If there is not an overriding truth that will reveal others "truths" to be the lies they really are, nobody's going to be healed.

Is there a word from God that is definitive? That can be trusted? That will enable us to cling to him when all of the lies scream at us so much louder than the truth?

I'm betting that there is, in the apostolic tradition. The faith once delivered to the saints. That the original communities' experience with Jesus can really be normative for us. How can we translate it faithfully instead of merely copying customs and mindlessly repeating ancient creeds? How can we own it and live it? I hope to find out.

But I'm not afraid. I don't have to try to "live the questions." The questions come out of the life I live anyway. It's the answers, and ultimately the Answer who is Christ that I am working to live into.

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