Saturday, February 26, 2011

Truth is a Verb

When Pilate asked his famous question about truth he had already missed the point. He assumed that truth was a noun.

Truth is something that is done, not just something that is known. Theology can easily become nothing more than a distracting hobby for the Church. Our discussions and speculations about truth are both essential and irrelevant. Description becomes a distraction if it doesn't take us to the point of incarnation and then castrate itself. (Selah)

We need fewer declarative sentences and more declarative actions. The gospel is not merely to know the truth, the gospel is to be set free to love God and incarnate God's love to the world. We must translate truth into a verb. We must be truth-doers - truthers.

This is because truth - in order to be Truth - must be incarnated and actualized. Truth is absolute* but not static. The possibility of the Kingdom of God is not "out there" to be studied and theorized about: it is within you. And I have a good source for that.

What you say or think or intend is not as important as what you do.

“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you."

What makes a theory true or false? Is it what it contains or how (or whether!) it is carried out? You don't have to look far to see that "true" theories can be used for hate and destruction and "false" theories can be used for love and encouragement and reconciliation. Doing right is a lot harder than being right. Knowing all truth and explaining mysteries without love just makes you more annoying percussion, and the world doesn't need more annoying percussion. Truth is a package deal, which means we need deeper and more patient definitions of right and wrong. Woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Amen.

Having right beliefs is good, but that's not the point. Remember James and the demons. The fruits of the spirit are not theological merit badges; they are all qualities that are evidenced in actions. Knowledge of God is experiential rather than intellectual. You do not know God with your mind. Love knows God; non-love doesn't know God. And I have a good source for that too.

*What we can learn from the postmodern Church is that truth is absolute but we are not. Because we see through a glass darkly, our intellectual apprehension of truth is relative, shady, and imperfect. We cannot know all of the truth. But because of the Holy Spirit we can operate in a mode that is consistent with all of the truth. That is better.

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