Keeping the Faith: The Truth

Cross (Credit: Pixabay/sspiehs3)
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I’ve shared, in recent weeks, my wrestling with inertia and excuses over getting back to in-person church attendance. Fortunately, I’ve now managed to make it three weeks in a row, and each time, I’ve left the service grateful that I was there to receive the message.

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We’re in the midst of a series re: the book of Acts, and this week, the lesson centered on the story of Philip and the building of the Church. And, in keeping with that theme, one of the songs during the worship portion of the service was “Build Your Church.”

 

On Christ alone, our Chief CornerstoneNo other foundation can we build uponNot philosophy nor the wisdom of manAll other ground is sinking sand

Upon this rock, You build Your ChurchAnd the gates of hell will not prevailWhen we bind and loose, we proclaim Your truthAnd in Jesus’ name, we will not failNever fail, oh-oh-oh-ohOh, He’s building a church now, now, now

The lyrics grabbed me immediately for a couple of reasons. First, I’m currently reading “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. Friday night, I ran across a quote that resonated and shared it on Twitter:

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’ — could set up on their own as if they had created themselves — be their own masters — invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history — money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery — the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

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No other foundation can we build upon — not philosophy nor the wisdom of man…” 

More pointedly, several times this week, I’ve found myself musing that reality is quicksand. It’s a disheartening observation born of weary frustration over the ever-increasing lack of honesty in our media — and, frankly, in much of our public discourse.

“…all other ground is sinking sand.

What’s made that particularly trenchant of late is the release of the Twitter Files. While there have now been 15 installments — each one both appalling and validating — the latest one truly highlights just how far down the rabbit hole we’ve fallen.

So much of our media (and yes, I recognize I’m technically a part of that world) is no longer about fact-finding or informing, but rather about spinning and narrative building, all in service to the ultimate “our side good, your side bad” message. And that’s layered on top of dissembling and subterfuge from our political leaders and government — at all levels — seemingly aimed at the acquisition and maintenance of power. The sort of things that the press, ideally, should be scrutinizing and calling out. Instead, it’s all about currying favor and carrying water.

Matt Taibbi has done yeoman’s work, exposing the gross journalistic malpractice and twisted, codependent relationship between the press and our ruling class.

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This latest farce he sums up thusly:

The plot is simple. A group of not-very-bright people rolled out a “dashboard,” hyped it as a magic Russian influence barometer to a stampede of willing reporters, and basked in every opportunity to speak on TV and to newspapers and at schools and think tanks and even congress, offering themselves as primary witnesses for a tale about ongoing “cyber attacks.” Then, once they caught blowback from Twitter and a reporter or two about the contents of their magic box, they retreated to an “attributable” model, but only after roughly 18 months of outright fakery. Now they’re trying to say they were misunderstood. To quote Yoel Roth, bullshit.

We’re being lied to at virtually every turn. All of which leads to confusion and distrust among the general public — of our institutions and of one another. People no longer sport merely differing viewpoints — often, we’re operating with two wholly different sets of facts. We’re not just debating; we’re speaking a different language even while using the same words.

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It feels as though I could lay the Twitter Files out end-to-end for the vast majority of my left-of-center friends and acquaintances and it would have very little effect. “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

In fairness, many of them may feel the same regarding myself and others on the right about issues that matter to them and the information they’re consuming — and they wouldn’t be wholly wrong, as we exist primarily in information silos these days. We have Balkanized and are becoming further dug in with each passing day.

I genuinely try to push back against that. I make a point to seek out information and viewpoints from “the other side” (often while squinting, with gritted teeth) and I invite questions and conversation from left-of-center folk regarding my own views. Because I don’t think the increasing tribalization leads to anyplace good. But it’s rarely fruitful and, as noted above, it’s frustrating and disheartening.

In the 90s, the “X-Files” brought us the popular tagline: “The truth is out there.” A quarter-century later, our tune has shifted to “The Truth is in here.” It’s “my truth” or “his/her truth” — as if truth were as individualized as a monogram or fingerprint, rather than an external, objective, verifiable fixed point. Quicksand.

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And then, Sunday’s service reminded me: There is a fixed point; a cornerstone; a firm foundation on which to stand. That is where we should anchor. He is the way and the truth and the life. No, that doesn’t instantly chase away the evils of this world, but it does provide a necessary perspective adjustment.

Upon this rock, You build Your Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail. When we bind and loose, we proclaim Your truth, and in Jesus’ name, we will not fail.”

The truth is the truth.

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