Who Wins?

June 29, 2015

It is not unusual where I live to see “love wins” decals on cars.love-wins-facebook-cover-2-other

Yesterday I saw a “truth wins” decal.

truewins

We talk a lot about winning. Think for a moment how often we frame things in terms of winner and losers.

Why is winning so important?  What do you think?

Does this really need to be a competition?

As a Christian, I don’t think there is a competition.

For Christians truth is a person.* In one of the great ironic passages of the Bible, Pilate looks at Jesus and asks him, “What is truth?”. Poor, clueless Pilate has no idea.

But equally for Christians, love is also a person.

As John tells us,  God is love.

The Triune God is love. The Triune God is truth.  Love and truth are not in competition.  Love and truth are both located within the one true God.  Love and truth are the expression, the result of the trinitarian relationship. And they are gifts of the one true God- to us, for us, with us.

To talk about who wins is to miss the point.

When we talk about truth and love we are talking about what is.

We are talking about what has been.

We are talking about what will be.

When we talk about truth and love we are talking about God.

Can you and I be mistaken about what truth or love is? Of course. And we are mistaken frequently. However our failing, our mistakes, our errors do not change the what truth and love are – in and within and as God.

Part of growing in truth and love is recognizing that our concepts of truth and love are small and shallow. Our ideas of truth and love are shaped by the world we live in, our families, our societies, our experiences. Our ideas  of truth and love are flawed and less than God’s manifestation of them.

Sometimes, even often, knowing the truth is hard.

Sometimes, even often, love is hard.

Which may be why in God truth and love are intertwined and inseparable. Who could stand to know truth without also knowing love? What would love be without truth?

We are given glimpses and sightings. Moments beyond words where we know truth and love.

That is our experience with God, and so  that ought to be our experience with each other. Truth and love intertwined and inseparable.

 

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

Is there a way forward?

June 21, 2015

This week (June 18,2015) we awoke to the news of another mass shooting. Nine African Americans killed while at prayer by one young white male. It is horrible. And if you have paid any attention to the news over the past few years, you can guess where the discussion about this event is headed. Gun control, mental health, racism.  And we can guess that if a person of color had been the one doing the shooting and the victims white, the discussion would shift to terrorism and militant Islam.

We have well worn tracks in which our discussions travel. They are deep and perhaps worst of all these tracks are short. In a few days our national attention will turn somewhere else.

Over and over we travel the same short, deeply rutted tracks. We will get frustrated because we have what seems to be the same discussion over and over without any solution. Some of us will declare the problem unsolvable. Many of us will search for the one solution and become disillusioned when we cannot find it. Some of us will give up when we cannot reach a consensus on what to do.

Is there an answer? Is there a solution?

I can only speak as a white Christian woman, but I think there is an answer. But I also think there is not one single solution and it will not be an easy solution because this is not a simple problem. We will need the courage to wrestle with difficult questions and to be uncomfortable and to stay uncomfortable and wrestling for a long time.

There are big uncomfortable, distressing realities we must face. Those of us who are white, middle class people are going to need to hear, really hear, some hard truths. I’m sure I have no idea how hard and distressing those truths will be. There will be no progress if we become defensive or walk way when the discussion gets intense. There will be no progress if we, as white people, come to any discussion with answers and solutions. Progress, I think, will involve significant changes in white culture and attitudes. We must be willing to  listen and learn and accept what people of color tell us needs to change. It will take more humility and grace than most of us typically have. It will be difficult.

But as Christians we know, Jesus is found in these difficult, painful places. Jesus is already there and has been there for a long time. Jesus calls us to join him where there is suffering and pain and anger and tears. That is what people of faith must bring to this- our determination to follow Jesus into difficult and painful places. Our determination to follow Jesus into places we cannot fix. Because we believe Jesus is Lord, not sometime in the future but Lord now, there is a way forward- even if we can’t see it. And that belief needs to keep us talking and praying. That belief needs to keep us engaged in uncomfortable dialog. That belief will require us to sacrifice privilege and perhaps what some of us may consider our rights. That, of course, is what Jesus did. And what Jesus calls us to.

 


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