Your Journey Starts Here

Whether you have already read the book "Through the River" or are interested in the topic of truth and how it impacts your faith and relationships, we welcome you and look forward to interacting with you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Understanding "the truth we are learning" through Stories

I came across a great speech by a Nigerian author the other day thanks to a friend of mine from Kenya. The author's name is Chimamanda Adichie and she told the TED conference that one of the great mistakes that we have made as people is to promote only one story.

She shared how when she was a child she only red European children's books and so when she began to write as a young person, her books were filled with snow, tea and other European things even though they were not part of her daily experience.

This happens so often. We tell a single story and expect it to accurately represent truth across thousands of languages, geographies, relationships and experiences. What I love about Adichie's challenge is that she is asking people to expose themselves to more than just the story that is most common to their experience.

Now as we think about truth, the key is what we share in our book. The three truth lenses have very different perspectives on the stories that we interact with. The rocky shore (positivism) believes that we should identify the one true story and help everyone get on that page and enjoy the richness of it. The islands (instrumentalism) believe that we should allow for countless stories to exist at the same time without any need to harmonize them. The far shore believes that there is a core story that runs through our lives as believers that we can share in common with everyone and that other stories add richness to the core story as they bring their experiences, cultures, relationships and history to the community of learners.

Take a minute to watch this powerful presentation and ask yourselves these questions:
1. What story is dominant in my life?
2. When other stories come into my path, how do I respond?
3. What can I learn from other stories that are not my own?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Truth Lens Challenge

Now that we’ve talked about the different truth lenses, let’s try on a different pair and see what the world looks like. Try taking off your Rocky Shore lens or your Sandy Island lens and try to see what the world would look like from the far shore on the Valley side.

Go through your day with the assumption that you don’t know everything, but that you can know some things. Put the truth you know and the truth you are learning into practice. How do you relate differently to people? How does your conversation change? Is your vocabulary any different? You might even find that there isn’t vocabulary for what you’re trying to say. That’s expected, since our language has developed using the Rocky Shore truth lens.

How is your attitude? Is it any more Biblical than it was before? Is humility creeping in? Are you in a state of learning?

Go ahead, try it on, and see what happens.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

30 Days of Truth Teasers

Since we have launched our book, we have been tweeting about truth under the name #TruthTeaser. You can see them all on twitter, but we wanted to share them on the blog as well. These 30 ideas are short but have a lot of kick to them. We have tried to sythesize many of the biggest most critical ideas in the book into these short tweets. We pray that they are helpful in your truth journey.

  1. Your assumptions about truth are like glasses that affect everything you see.
  2. Some people spend their lives adding truth and subtracting untruth.
  3. Some people see truth as a personal matter. They live on islands with no bridges.
  4. Some find truth they know and recognize that they are learning the rest in community.
  5. If you insist that all truth is knowable then experts are essential.
  6. Many arguments have more to do with your truth lens than the truth itself.
  7. Personal truth seems freeing but ends in isolation.
  8. Humility changes how you interact about truth.
  9. Culture wars rise out of a fear that our understanding of truth is losing influence.
  10. Personal experience brings new perspectives on the truth we know.
  11. Tolerance raises love to the highest position at the expense of truth.
  12. Our understanding of truth directly affects our approach to outreach.
  13. Math is the language of those who seek to completely understand truth.
  14. Relationships are the language of those who believe truth is learned in community.
  15. Faith represents what we know, hope what we’re learning and love how truth is lived out.
  16. Personal truth is convenient until someone else’s truth collides with mine.
  17. We experience a great disturbance when our assumptions about truth fall short.
  18. Many of us make certainty the focus of our truth search when clarity would serve us better.
  19. When we say “ham sandwich” what do you imagine? What is a true ham sandwich like?
  20. When objectivity is the goal, the richness of truth is lost.
  21. On the island of personal truth you are one misstep away from the river of relativism.
  22. Knowing feels safe, learning feels dangerous. Its easy to settle for some knowledge and give up learning more.
  23. Living in community creates the opportunity to see truth as a journey
  24. Every new idea can be seen as a threat, as someone else’s or as a new perspective to discover.
  25. A picture is an exact image of reality.
  26. A collage is thousands of ideas about reality.
  27. A montage is thousands of ideas brought together into a whole.
  28. Do you view truth as a picture a collage or a montage?
  29. Your truth lens is a key part of your worldview.
  30. Your view of truth will impact your faith, relationship and outreach.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Maps are wonderful truth tools to explain life on the far shore with the Valley Dwellers (critical realists). The map represents some portion of reality, without representing the whole thing. A map of my neighborhood may have the fences drawn in, but a map of my whole town would omit that truth. It doesn’t mean that the truth of the fences does not exist, it just means that it is not part of the map.

So for the Valley Dwellers, you can understand truth without having the whole truth. A map can omit truth and yet still be true. This illustrates the truth we know and the truth we are learning. The truth we know may be the street names and the distance from one place to another. The truth we are learning may be the fences or the color of the mailboxes. We are not given an infinitely detailed map of reality. We only have maps to help guide us as we navigate our world.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An Intentional Journey: Thoughts after KKMS Interview

So I (Jon) recently did an interview on KKMS in Minneapolis, MN. Great station and wonderful hosts for afternoon drive time. One of the things we talked about was the difference between evangelism from the Rocky Shore where people believe they can know and represent all truth to the Far Shore where people believe there is truth you know and truth you are learning.

As we talked about it a cool thought came out of the discussion. Really the main difference is that on the Rocky Shore you are trying to convince people that you can know all truth and if they accept your ideas you will lead them to a fuller understanding. A Rock Dweller holds out to people the idea that this is a key piece of truth that they must know as they strive to know all things completely.

Many times, those in the river of relativism or the Island Dwellers who represent isolated personal truth, feel that this is very arrogant. They have experienced other ways of knowing truth beyond reason and logic and are convinced that the people on the Rocky Shore are delusional.

Now on the Far Shore the Valley Dwellers do believe there is a foundation of truth. But the basic assumption about truth is different. They believe that a foundation of truth is possible in community and through the study of God's Word, but the rest is a process of learning together and trusting God. So when a Valley Dweller engages with a non-christian about faith, they explain the foundation but readily admit that there is so much to learn and so many things to know. They will even say that many of these things won't be known till we are in Heaven with God and that this is OK.

This approach to truth is seen by those in the river as much more humble and approachable. They still have to come to an understanding that there is a common foundation of truth, but it is easier for them to take a step out of the river towards the Valley Dweller's community rather than the harsher reality on the Rocky Shore.

The Valley Dwellers have a foundation but are very happy to go on a journey with non-believers as they study, think, talk, learn. This doesn't mean that the Valley Dweller's have given up their foundation of truth, but it does mean that it isn't a simple yes/no dialogue.

The greatest challenge with the Valley Dweller approach is that it requires deep relationships with non-believers and an investment that may never pay off in a salvation prayer. It requires a deep love and commitment to the person and an investment in their growth. This is a great sacrifice in our "microwave culture" where we want results quickly. That is the great challenge of life on the Far Shore - nothing is quick.

It is an intentional journey!