Note to few faithful readers: I am writing this all as I go. You are getting the rough draft of each of these, I welcome feedback and comments. The final form, very well could have a much more structured take, but for now, I am developing a simple thought: The best way is God's way and after the fallout, we have to reclaim our faith. I want to help people do both of those.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge God and He will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5,6 (NIV)
Not all paths lead to good places.
Not all paths are same.
Some lead to life.
Some lead to death.
This seems like we could all agree on above statements at a very basic level. Yet, living after the fallout, we reckoning with a very strange reality that has seeped into the thinking and culture as a whole, but also into the lives of those that follow Jesus.
Alternative facts. Kellyann Conway (msp) is the first one I heard use this phrase way back in 2017. I am not going to give you the exact quote here, but it went something like. You can believe that, but there are alternative facts. What? How? (This was not invented in 2017, it has been around a long time, yet I think it has become easier to spot this past year)
Facts are things that are known or proved to be true. By definition, a fact, like say, “that is an apple”, can not at the same time, have an alternative fact that says, “that is an orange.” It is either an apple or an orange. It can not be both. Agreed?
Some will want it to be an apple because they prefer apples. So they will argue and argue, “that is an apple.” Likewise, others will argue their bias for it being an orange.
So personal preference/bias becomes the means of identify what is true or not true, not the actual facts.
So stick with me here, some will say due to there desire to avoid conflict at all costs: I think that is an apple but if you want, you can think it is an orange. We can agree to disagree. Do you see the craziness of this? It is either an apple or an orange. It can not be both at the same time.
Furthermore, there is another even more insidious version of this that has popped up. It goes like this: “there is no such thing as oranges, only apples.” So now one’s bias allows them to only see the fruit they want to see no matter what fruit is laying on the table. And then, make assertions that anyone that sees an orange is crazy, because all that exists on that table are apples.
Another false logic that is out there: I don’t know if I trust any facts anymore about anything. I don’t know if that is an apple or an orange or something else. I just don’t trust anyting anymore.
With all of these false logics becoming a part of our everyday conversation, to our detriment, there has also developed an inability to reason with others. We can not have a civil and logical converation about if that is an apple, or an orange or some more exotic fruit on the table. There is not an ability to talk and reason through an issue with others.
I have seen this in the church by people that follow Jesus. I am a pastor and I have a lot of friends that are pastors. I coach with other churches, so I have seen these above false logics play out over and over and over again.
Why is this a big deal you ask? People are people and are going to be weird from time to time. What became very true in 2020 is this: as the volcano was erupting, if you went into most churches and communities of faith and asked them: What do you all think about racial injustice, the economy, Covid or politics, you would have seen all the apple and oranges arguments play out. And you would would have had some making the case for seeing all apples and others seeing all oranges. And most of the pastors I have spoke with, have not even been able to have civil and logical conversations with those that don’t see eye with them. (If I told you the stories I have heard about church-folks, you would dumbfounded about how they have handled the eruption of 2020)
It would seem to me, that the people of God would see the whole table, apples, oranges and all the other fruits through the lens of the Kingdom of God. They could discuss the preferences, and which one they prefer, and yet they would best at discerning, discussion and choosing how to help this world after the fallout. They would be able to hear God’ voice above the voices of false logic and their own bias.
Instead, we find ourselves in places of despair because we see division and entrenchment and the like. And some of the most horrible are amongst those that claim Jesus. (Another sermon for another day, but you can imagine what the division and despair are doing for our ability to tell others of the good news and hope that is in Jesus?)
There is a way. There is a path that is God’s path. We must find that better and higher path and walk it. To get stuck in false logics, and get stuck in one’s own bias is not the place that the people of God are called to live and breath and move. We should be the people that can see there is good, whole and right things. We should be able to call a fruit a fruit, if we like or not. We should also be people that say, not my will, but your will be done Father.
Surrender is first step into the broad, wide, and good land of the Kingdom of God. Narrow and entrapping are the ways of false logics and self-ordained biases.