Friday, December 18, 2009

Truth Changes Everything

Part of the reason I started this blog and invited my friends to join me on this adventure is that whatever our differences our common bond is that we are seekers of truth. Interestingly enough what the older three among us have found on our journey thus far, and perhaps the younger one as well I just haven't talked to her about this so I'm hoping she'll comment, is that being a seeker of truth is not an easy task. The Bible says in John 8:32 that "You (we) shall know the truth and the truth will make you free." It has been my experience thus far though that before it makes you free, it will first make you thoroughly miserable.

I think this is why Jesus makes those strange statements about turning "a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." That's in Matthew 10 by the way and also in Micah 7. Its not a curse. Its a statement of what happens when one member in a family starts to seek truth and finds that it doesn't match with the traditions in which one has been raised.

Truth changes everything.

Lets take the most immediate example. Christmas. I enjoy Christmas. I cherish our family's Christmas traditions. I grew up reading the first chapter of Luke on Christmas eve before bed and I incorporate much of what I grew up with in my traditions now.

Where I get tripped up and made miserable by the truth of Christmas is in knowing that it is highly unlikely that Jesus was born in the winter, and knowing that the date on which we observe Christmas is a pagan holiday co-opted by the Church. Knowing all this it frustrates me greatly to see people get all upset and start fighting over "keeping Christ in CHRISTmas" or over being told "Happy Holidays" as if Christianity is the only world religion that has a major holiday during this time of year. I hate to see emotional energy that would far better be invested in following Jesus example wasted on untruth. The truth is that Christmas isn't Jesus birthday and He is only the "reason for the season" in the same sense that He is the reason for every other day of the year(In him we live and move and have our being). The truth is that He cares more about how we care for the least among us all the time than about how much pomp and pageantry we can create to celebrate His "birthday" within the walls of our multi-million dollar stained-glass enclaves.

I am coming to the belief that Mega-Churches are a blight on the world. I don't say that to cast aspersion on those who found Jesus through the ministries of a Mega-Church or on those who worship at a Mega-Church. I live in that glass house still so I can't afford to throw stones. Its just that I don't think we were ever supposed to be so consumed with maintaining an array of programs and a physical plant that we no longer seem to care about what happens to the people that actually ARE the church.

I'm less a fan of CCM than I once was but there is a song by a group called Acapella Vocal Band (AVB) on their album "What's Your Tag Say?" that resonates with me more and more as I continue to seek out the truth of how this whole Christian Life thing was probably intended to be done. It was called "U can't Go 2 Church". The chorus makes the point:

You can't go to church as some people say
The common terminology we use everyday
You can go to a building, that is something you can do
But you can't go to church 'cause the church is you
'Cause the church is you

Our traditional understanding would have us believe that those of us who have opted out of going to a designated building are somehow "forsaking the church". The truth is that as long as we haven't stopped spending time with other believers and we haven't stopped working out our own salvation with fear and trembling (to paraphrase Paul) then we haven't forsaken the church. We ARE the church. These buildings and other trappings that we call the church came directly out of Roman paganism. That truth, while setting me free to explore other possibilities for ways and places to worship in spirit and in truth, offends the stuffing out of a lot of people.

The fact is that freedom scares people. Truth leads to freedom and that leads to resistance from people who are afraid to be free. Who prefer the safety of tradition to the risk of seeking truth. Truth changes everything.

So my friends, readers and co-authors, how has seeking truth "rocked your world" recently? Comments?

1 comment:

  1. Oh! The younger one! That's me! I'm the younger one!
    Some part of John says the truth will set you free, but a lot of times the truth is really hard to deal with. We have trouble dealing with certain truths in our personal lives, and the greater truth is even scarier than our own personal truths, I guess mostly because it is so much larger than we can even fathom it to be.

    Sometimes I realize that I'm just this teeny little thing, and one day it'll be like I was never here, and then I kind of freak out a little bit, because then what do I matter really? But I like to think we matter because we are trying to find the truth, and everyone is - their own greater truth. (which is why I believe there are so many different religions and whatnot - everybody's got a different chunk of "truth-ness".) So those are some of my thoughts, but right now it is midnight and I have to go to sleep, otherwise my personal truth to contend with tomorrow will be limited to "I'm sleepyyyyyyyyyyyy," which would kind of suck!