In these days of fake news, bumper sticker slogans, and statements so brief they can fit into a tweet, there is not much room for truth. We have a political climate intensely divided, with little agreement about the facts regarding any particular issue or even what the problem is. Within Christian churches there is deep disagreement about scripture and its interpretation and about authority, leaving congregations who have worshiped together for decades torn and hurting.
What is the truth? What can bring us together? Propositional truth, factual truth, matters of reason have their place. They help us observe, define, describe, and categorize. They also tend to divide—either-or, it is or it isn’t.
Jesus said, “and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). This Truth (with a capital T) gives the kind of freedom that leads to a fuller life, one led in harmony with God and what God has made so. Friends (Quakers) are guided not by dogmas or creeds but by queries. One such query asks, “How does Truth prosper among you?” The query is searching out not whether the group believes in certain propositions but whether their faithfulness and practice bring them into spiritual unity (not unanimity).
Truth is a spiritual reality as real as “objective” reality, or more so, that gives meaning and life to everything. It is not something just to be thought about or recognized; it is something to be entered into. In A Language for the Inner Landscape, Brian Drayton, a scientist and a New England Friend, and his teacher William P. Taber, Jr., reflect on Truth:
“Those who enter into this Truth, this reality, come to feel a sense of the divine harmony that holds our universe together and that operates in our own minds, bodies, and human society . . . . To be in the Truth, then, means that one can—and will—live out those standards of inward peace through outward gentleness, tenderness to all creatures, and the right and just ordering of human society exemplified by the life and teachings of Jesus.”
Perhaps if we sought after Truth instead of arguing about what is true, we would find a way to come together, grounded in Love, for the wellbeing of all.
What is your experience of truth or Truth?
How or where does Love begin in you?
“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me….” (Psalm 25: 4-5a).
For further reference:
“Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding” (Proverbs 23: 23).
“Jesus answered, … ‘For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’” (John 18: 37-38).