Posted by: Ken Homer | April 5, 2008

Thots on “The Truth”

There is a lot of emphasis placed on “The Truth” as it pertains to how we live our lives. 

Our public discourse is riddled with questions and phrases such as:

What is truth?

Tell the truth.

The Gospel Truth.

That’s a true story.

Is that true?

I swear this is true.

I believe this to be true.

How can that be true?

That’s not true!

And that’s the truth – phhhb.

Questions of truth in my experience tend to be very divisive. They tend to demand that you take a side, and by doing so set yourself apart from someone or something.

While hosting a dialogue among faith leaders, a woman rose to speak about truth in a way that was very challenging for many in the room.

The first hint that her sharing would be hard for some people was her use of the second person pronoun.

By speaking about truth in terms of “you” she unknowingly separated herself from the rest of the people in the room.

Another challenge in her sharing was how she objectified truth. She spoke of it as “something out there for all to see.” 

The wall she was unwittingly building grew even higher around her.

Clearly she wanted to reach out to her peers, her heart was full, her intent was honorable, her goal admirable.

Yet her means were inadequate for the task, and there was a moment at the end of her sharing when the whole room seemed to hold its breath.

Before she sat down she was asked to say a few words about what truth is for her personally – how does it inform her day-to-day living? 

Taken aback at first, she gathered herself and spoke now of how her faith helped her be more patient with her children, more forgiving of other people, and of the joy of community that she found in her work. The room began to breathe again.

The sharing in the room continued, and a few minutes later a man, with some 40 years of experience as a priest, rose and said that he had discovered over the years that any idea he had about truth that kept him separate from others around him was, in his opinion and experience, not really truth at all.

Questions:

What ideas about truth do you hold that keep you separate others – especially from those you’d like to be closest with?

In what ways do you create bridges to those who hold different views about “the truth” from your own?

For extra credit:

Where are the edges of truth for you? Where does the idea of something being true or untrue produce real uneasiness in you? 

What are your practices for working with those edges?

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Responses

  1. Would you accept my response as truth if I said I really enjoyed reading this stimulating, soul awaking blog? The whole truth and nothing but the truth? and Whose truth would it anyway…mines or yours..
    I look forward to reading more of your fascinating blogs

  2. Thank you.

    Response accepted as true for you.

    And noting a truth for me that I appreciate your kind words.

    I’ll do my best to keep my posts fascinating.

    Ken

  3. Christ alone is Truth. Anything that is outside Christ (the anointing/Life) is of the duality of “knowledge of good and evil”. So we can debate true-isms ’til the cows come home and its all relative to our personal experiences and intellectual/carnal reasonings. This keeps us seperate from other people.

    I found the TRUTH, and understood the truth, once I was willing to forsake my own understanding and the duality of it. Truth is Life and of a life-giving spirit and far supersedes anything we can debate from our realm of carnality.

    Therefore, Truth that is Life is also Love. It does not seperate on differences, it loves and accepts in spite of them. Loving others (even the unloveable) brings them Life, that Life is the Truth, and the Truth (Christ) will set them free.

    That’s the Truth as I know it.

  4. Thank you for your comments. They are quite evocative.

    The statement “Christ Alone is Truth” does not seem to leave a lot of space for other perspectives to be considered.

    It’s pretty much is a “my way or the highway” kind of statement.

    Because this blog is about creating and leading sustainable conversations – which by definition require respectful dialogue and a stance of being open to perspectives and ideas different from the ones we currently have – I need to ask you a couple of questions that you might find challenging.

    I am not questioning your right to your truth. I am seeking to understand your intent in posting your comments on this blog:

    As a Christian, how does your understanding of “Christ as Truth”, make space for and learn from other people’s understandings of Truth?

    And if you would be so kind, please tell me how your interpretation of “Christ Alone is Truth”, can make a useful contribution to creating and leading sustainable conversations?

    Thanks

  5. ”Jesus said unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life” John 14:6

    My statement that ‘Christ alone is truth’ was based on the above. It wasn’t meant to be an opinion shared, an interpretation or “my truth”.

    I didn’t mean to stifle any conversation about Truth, in fact, I had thought what I shared might stimulate conversation about Christ being our truth, just as He said He is.

  6. Hello DJ,

    Thanks for your reply… I appreciate knowing that you did not mean to stifle conversation.

    I am still not clear on what you mean when you say the statement “Christ alone is Truth” wasn’t meant to be an opinion shared, an interpretation or “my truth”.

    What exactly do you mean by it?

    In my post I asked a couple of questions at the end.

    The second one on building bridges, is the one I’d ask you…

    If people were to enter into a conversation about “Christ being our truth” in this space, how would that build a bridge to people who do not share your views?

  7. I appreciate your desire to creating and leading sustainable conversations about truth, or truth as we understand it. It offers an opportunity for others to express viewpoints and perspectives that many may not have heard or considered before. May we never stop encouraging each other to ask questions for without questions we close ourselves off to the answers that can change ourselves and our world.

    We are ALL in some way or another seekers of truth because truth is an absolute. People often don’t like that word; “absolutes”, nor do they want to accept the fact that absolutes exist in the universe they live in, unless the particular absolute gives them the advantage in gaining what they are pursuing in order to ultimately please them self.

    For example, the law of gravity is an absolute that we all are grateful for and take for granted 99 percent of the time. When we drop a precious plate or fall off a ladder are instances when that absolute becomes something we wish wasn’t so absolute. The wonderful thing is that there are other absolutes that, if properly harnessed, can overcome the absolute of gravity, in fact build on it, for example the law of buoyancy, another wonderful absolute.

    Other absolutes that no one can take exception to or argue with are the fact that nature will not allow a vacuum, that everything in this universe is subject to decay and death, that man has no power to give life to another creature, or that darkness is the absence of light, or that fallacy is the absence of truth. Therefore the existence of matter is the absolute over a vacuum, light is the absolute over darkness and truth is the absolute over a lie.

    As creatures in this present order of things we find comfort in absolutes and we are lost and become fearful when we lose touch with absolutes. We can’t exist without absolutes. Therefore when “our absolutes” are challenged, we get very uneasy because we desperately want to remain in our comfort zones which, whether we like to admit it or not, is created by the “truths” that we conveniently adopt. We use them to create a border line for our thinking and as a man thinks in his heart so is he. When someone else’s truth counters our own, it shakes our thinking, it challenges us to broaden our border, it challenges us to leave our comfortable camp and go further up the mountain. Scary!

    If these absolutes exist in the natural universe in which absolutely exist, what makes us think there are no absolutes in the spiritual realm? A huge part of why we have the natural realm was so we could better understand the spiritual dimension which is, in fact, not subject to decay and is more real than the tangible realm we exist in. It is in, and out of, THAT realm of the Spirit that we REALLY live and find Truth. It is THAT realm that will give us the power to overcome this realm of death and decay.

    The challenge for us all is to learn how to understand and harness the absolutes that are inherent in THAT realm. Only then will we be able to overcome and not remain bound by the absolutes in this realm.

    Just the Truth as I see it.

    Do YOU have an understanding of truth that will set me free to live more completely in the eternal realm, to apprehend the absolute Truth that encompasses, supersedes and gives context to ALL other truisms?

  8. What I mean by `Christ alone is truth` is that He, Jesus Christ, said He is the ONLY way, truth and Life. As Christians, do we believe it or not?

    Or do we look around the world and perceive the things and experiences of this world (which we are not to be of) as presenting to us truth? The Life of Christ is above all things in this earth and this world. His truth is also above (greater than) the truth`s we learn in this world.

    As provision147 says, there are absolutes. Things of God and the Spirit that can not be changed no matter our perspective or experience. They simply are. (He is the same yesterday, today and always). But Christ as our truth is an absolute that rises above all other `truths` (ie: true-isms).

    If we call truth whatever someone believes or thinks, then that alone will cause division. I don’t consider what someone else holds to be truth as THE TRUTH. What they believe is a true-ism. So I don’t let it get in the way of a friendship or fellowship. We all have true-isms. If we make the mistake of building any part of our lives around a true-ism we begin to separate ourselves from others.

    The Truth that Jesus said He is, is from the tree of Life, not the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So I know that when I am struggling to understand something as good or bad (an experience, a philosophy, or a doctrine, etc) ultimately my decision is still a fruit of the wrong tree, death.

    So I seek to know (what only the Holy Spirit can teach) what is greater than good or bad, and is Life instead. Just like Love covers a multitude of sins. We can debate the sin but it still isn’t Love. We need to rise higher.

    You asked me, As a Christian, how does your understanding of “Christ as Truth”, make space for and learn from other people’s understandings of Truth?

    The space I afford to learn from others is vast, but it is in context of Christ. (ie: Don’t try to tell me the truth you know that the world is flat, because I know it isn’t.) Truth is not arbitrary. We can not decide what truth is. It already IS, we just need to know it (Him).

    The Truth, that is Christ, will ALWAYS set us free, to be who we are and to love others, regardless of our differences.

    Does that explain better where I am coming from and what I consider Truth?

    What is truth to you?

  9. Thanks for your comments, and for your time in writing them out.

    You speak a lot of absolutes. Funny how that word so often arises in conversations about truth.

    Absolute Truth is pretty hard to argue against when someone believes in it.

    What I am after in leading sustainable conversations is not truth. It is usefulness.

    As to your question of do “I” have an understanding of truth that will set you free to live more completely…

    I am afraid I must respectfully say no, I do not.


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