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.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What the Bay Bridge Can Teach Us About Truth

That iconic bridge in San Francisco that many people have seen in movies or as tourists is a powerful example of the change in how people understand truth. We got this insight after watching 60 Minute's segment about the new bridge currently being built.

The show focused on the race against time to build the new bridge before a major earthquake strikes the area. According to geologists it is time, but the bridge is far from done. There was the usual drama over time lines and budgets, but that is not what caught our attention.

When they were interviewing one of the builders, he explained how in decades past people thought that the best way to help a structure survive the earthquake was to build it as solid and sturdy as possible. But after a major earthquake hit the area and damaged many of the sturdiest structures, they are now focused on buildings that can sway and move. During the piece, they showed how one particular section of the new bridge had at least 6 feet of sway built into the structure.

What does this say about truth you ask? Well, in the last century the truth lens of positivism ruled the thinking of scientists, builders and financiers alike. This way of thinking said that all truth was knowable and claimed that the job of mankind was to build the most solid foundation possible by accumulating truth in an effort to collect it all.

But just as an earthquake shattered the illusion of safety in sturdy buildings, post-modernity and relativism shattered the idea that all truth was knowable. People began to look at those towers of truth they had built and realized that there were many hidden holes and cracks.

Today a new truth lens is emerging called critical realism (the one we share about in our book "Through the River"). This new way to look at truth says that there is a common foundation on which we can build, however the key to stability is having plenty of give in your structure that will allow for the tumult of the 21st century. Just like the new bridge, those constructing the framework for truth today are creating an environment that establishes the truth we know, but then realizes that there is much truth that we are learning together. The new bridge is dug deep into the San Francisco Bay so that the bridge is anchored firmly in the ground. But the rest of the bridge is attached to the solid tower and is designed to learn and adjust to each earthquake that might come.
So are you building your understanding of truth as a solid structure that strives to defy the earthquake of relativism or are you building a structure that is designed to hold fast by leaving room to grow and learn?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why Truth is Important . . . its not what you think!

I listen to certain Christmas songs all year round. Does that surprise you? Well, it certainly surprises me. Sometimes I wonder why I turn my Ipod to these specific songs when they are very much focused on the Christmas season. But as I listen to them I remember why and those songs bring my faith to life. They speak about Truth in a person . . . the Christ.

But thinking about Truth as a person is a very odd thing to do, isn't it?

Ever since Christianity's growth began to challenge the ideas and power structures of their day, the quest for what is "the Truth" has been at the center of wars, nation-building and cultural upheaval. Truth with a capital "T" has been our goal and we have taken extreme measures to discover it, define it and monopolize it.

But how have we defined and understood Truth? For the most part we have done so through a series of propositions. Ideas that are observable and reproducible. We developed the scientific method as a way to document and categorize these ideas as our understanding of our surroundings grew more and more complex.

In reality we have done the same with our faith. We have created volumes full of statements about what we believe and how they impacts our lives and actions. Those volumes become truth with a capital "T" and we use them as foundational for our understanding of truth.

There is definitely a place for this kind of knowing, but I want to stress for you another kind of knowing that is equally important . . . Truth incarnate. In Isaiah 48:17 God says "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." We all believe that God is the source of Truth and the one who can direct us and guide us. But that is a pretty comfortable idea since God is this supreme being out there that never became something that we could touch or feel. Never, that is, until Jesus came as the incarnation of God to this Earth to bring salvation and redemption.

All of a sudden truth with a capital "T" has a name, wears sandals, eats fish, has nightmares and eventually died on the cross. That is the idea that I keep coming back to with these Christmas songs. The idea that all that is real, true and right was among us! People like you and me saw the God of the universe in human form and we have records of what He said and what He did. I love how Jesus says in John 14:6, "If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well."

What this means is that the things that Jesus chose to care about represent Truth. The people He spent time with and the stories He shared represent His values and His presentation of God's character to us. Every time I read the Gospels, I am amazed that I am able to see into God's mind through the actions of Jesus.

But if you truly believe that we can see truth with a capital "T" when we look at Jesus, then the next thing that God did is even more amazing. Once Jesus had left the disciples, the Holy Spirit descended and came to live in all those who believed. In fact, thousands of years later, we as Christ-followers still have the blessing and honor of having the Holy Spirit in us.

So does that mean that truth with a capital "T" lives in us . . . you . . . me? Does that mean that when I respond to the Spirit and not to my flesh that I am representing the God of the universe and showing His mind and His heart to others?

If so than our lives are incarnational and our actions can reveal the character, values, ideas, desires of God. And because God's Truth is so much larger than anything we as humans can fully grasp, when we represent God and put aside our sin and selfishness, we are revealing things that God wants others to see and know. Could it be that God might use you to reveal a new idea that fills out what He has already provided through thousands of years of other believers and through His Word?

That changes how I view my preparation for tomorrow. My thoughts, attitudes and actions could be used by God to bring Truth to those around me, or they could be used to satisfy my sin nature and the Prince of Darkness who plagues this world and torments so many.

Will my life be a tool for God to bring Truth into this world?

I cannot think of a question with more practical and immediate implications than this one!