Yesterday I had this thought in my mind tumbling around like laundry stuck in the spin cycle. I just couldn’t seem to open the door and get it out. It was this thought ; the ” fatality ” of truth. It ‘s truth that is in the quality or state of causing death or destruction, or truth that is in the condition of being destined for disaster.
A lot of so called religious truth is like that, truth that has been carved out in stone, that has become indelible that we some how determine is eternal. Or we are inspired by spirituality, or by some infinite consciousness to write what we determine is code for the OS of life. Our religious tribe determines it as the truth for “all” to obey. We use it as a weapon to confront others, and the deepest concern, we use it to construct an illusion of our own little world.
If anything, this kind of truth is lifeless. And this is the truth that Jesus seems to confront so often in the Gospels. So often we see Jesus in a heated conversation with the religious folk of his day saying, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies!”
It is Jesus confronting the ” fatality ” of religious truth.
We keep forgetting above all that Jesus was the profound revelation of God…but he was also the deepest mysterious revelation of what it is to be abundantly human. He took the religious truth in the context of his culture, society and in the corridor of human history challenged it with his “living” truth.
Left to their own devices and passions, religious folk have a hard time seeing beyond their fences into the world. While the issue of slavery and its grotesque inhumanity seem obvious to us now, it was not so obvious to slave owners then who argued—from scripture, no less—that slavery was a part of God’s plan. . Rather than being “fatal ” to religious truth, it seems to me that these changes have argued for a more true following of Jesus’ “living” truth for us than past understandings of the faith have allowed. Faith is a dynamic and ever-changing process, not some fixed body of truth that exists outside our world and our understanding. The “fatality” of religious truth may seem to be fixed and unchanging, but our comprehension of that truth will always be challenged in the midst of an ever changing human landscape. Over time, hopefully, we will continue to wrestle with the “fatality” of religious truth.
We must learn to read between the lines of religious truth, maybe the empty space between lines is pause to reflect to wrestle deeply with its understanding in the midst of our cultural diversity, our pluralistic landscape…and in the footsteps of where we are down the corridor of history.
Probably the most deadly and destructive “fatal” truth of our day continues to be…that Jesus doesn’t accept the LGBT community. The “fatality” or religious truth may seem support that. I would challenge that assumption with the profound redemptive imagination of Jesus’ “living” truth. I think Jesus would challenge any truth that marginalizes, isolates…and destroys the human experience of any life. I imagine Jesus in our midst today, in the midst of our stone throwing, our dehumanizing assault, saying, ” You have heard what the law says, but, this is what I say…”
Jesus has given us the example of what it is to be profoundly human by confronting the “fatality” of religious truth…with “living” truth…life giving truth as he lived.
And Ironically having coffee this evening, I’m reading Acts 15…it’s what I’m sure was a chaotic angry debate in Jerusalem. It was the decision to let the Gentiles ( the people that still had that wobbly bit on their weenies ) become Christians. You talk about the ” fatality ” of religious truth…as long as folks could remember God only accepted people who had been “nipped.” I can only imagine how wild this scene must have been. And then, out of the conversation Peter says something profound, bringing a hush over the crowd…
“And God, who can’t be fooled by any pretense on our part but always knows a person’s thoughts, gave them the Holy Spirit exactly as he gave him to us. He treated the outsiders exactly as he treated us, beginning at the very center of who they were and working from that center outward, cleaning up their lives as they trusted and believed him.”
“So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too?”
Absolutely, stunning redemptive imagination…the “living” truth of Jesus transforming the “fatality” of religious truth.
Who says the LGBT community can’t have the Spirit of God? Who says they can’t live their lives as Jesus did? But, the most important, why are we so intent on trying to “out-god God”?
We can continue to grasp the “fatality” of our religious truths…the weather beaten etched in stone truth, the ” wobbly bits ‘ of truth and continue dehumanize people made in God’s image…and reduce the abundant life of humanity to a mere trickle. Or we can redeem life profoundly with Jesus living truth by say, ” the law, our theology says, our doctrines say…but this is what we say.”