The Pastoral is Political: What is Truth?

“What is truth?” Pilate stared at the tired Galilean Jew in front of him.

 

Jesus was silent.

 

Pilate’s eyes widened. “What is truth?” he repeated, more firmly.

 

Jesus didn’t blink. Or speak.

 

There were no words to reply. Jesus was answering the question.

 

Simply by being. The sheer fact of his existence, his embodiment of all that is Holy, answered the question.

 

The truth is never in words. It was always, is always the Word.

 

The truth is a person, a person named Jesus, the person we understand to be the Christ.

 

He is the way, the life, and the truth. There is no other Truth.

 

This Truth, this person, promised we would encounter him in others.

 

In the hungry. In the sick. In the lonely. In the imprisoned. In the thirsty. In the outcasts.

 

The Truth is in them. The truth is never about words.

 

On Monday, March 24, the non-profit World Vision announced that they would open their hiring practices to include gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships. This decision was hailed. Promoted by several prominent bloggers and church folk, a wide variety of people were inspired to respond by offering their dollars and prayers to support World Vision’s work caring for children around the world.

 

Apparently, not everyone responded in the same way. WV President Rich Stearns issued a retraction of the statement just two days later, saying that their board rescinded its decision and was apologizing for it. Streans’s letter notes that the decision was a failure to keep to their own statement of faith, which includes the statement, “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, the authoritative word of God.”

 

In an interview on Thursday with Religion News Service, Stearns noted that World Vision’s phone rang off the works. More than one switchboard operator actually quit over the things that were said to them over the phone regarding the policy of openness. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 people pulled their support of children in World Vision’s programs because of the decision to hire gay and lesbian couples.

 

Many, many good responses have been written about the pressured reversal of World Vision’s decision.

 

Where is the truth in this? What is the truth?

 

Evangelical Christians were really willing to let children, with whom they had already established a relationship, suffer because of a decision to hire gay and lesbian couples.

 

The board of World Vision was forced to go back on a public promise because of threats people made about withdrawing support for children.

 

Gay men, lesbians, bi-sexual individuals, transgendered men and women, and any number of others out in the world right now believe that the Church, which represents God, hates them.

 

What is truth?

 

Ultimately, Pilate decided his political career and hide were more important than the Truth that was right in front of him. The power of Caesar and the fear of a riot represented a reality, but not truth.

 

The written word of Scripture transmits hope, faith, and grace. It points to Truth. It reveals Truth.

 

But it is not God. When we act without looking for the Truth, the living, breathing Truth, we find ourselves on Golgotha all over again. This week, Truth was crucified by people who said, “Give us our Bibles.”

 

“We have no truth, but Scripture,” they said.

 

Little, swollen tummies grumbled. Gay shoulders slumped. Backpacks hung, limp on empty classroom pegs. Lesbian hands reached for tissues.

 

“Let them save themselves,” came the sneers.

 

 

There is only one Truth.

 

“What is truth?” Pilate stared at the tired Galilean Jew in front of him.

 

Jesus was silent.

 

Pilate’s eyes widened. “What is truth?” he repeated, more firmly.

 

Jesus didn’t blink. Or speak.

 

There were no words to reply. Jesus was answering the question.

 

Simply by being. The sheer fact of his existence, his embodiment of all that is Holy, answered the question.

 

The truth is never in words. It was always, is always the Word.

 

The truth is a person, a person named Jesus, the person we understand to be the Christ.

 

He is the way, the life, and the truth. There is no other Truth.

 

This Truth, this person, promised we would encounter him in others.

 

In the hungry. In the sick. In the lonely. In the imprisoned. In the thirsty. In the outcasts.

 

The Truth is in them.

 

Categories: Africa, authority, The Pastoral is Political, tragedy | Tags:

Post navigation

13 thoughts on “The Pastoral is Political: What is Truth?

  1. Sarah

    Amen. Well done, thank you for this.

  2. Thank you so much, Julia. I’ve been looking for a response to this that is not vituperation…I know that there is much anger, but that doesn’t get us anywhere.

    I saw a discussion on FB the other day about whether we Christians who do not align with “those” Christians should take on a new name. “Jesus followers” was suggested.”Truth followers” would work well. Actually, I think a new, made-up word with no other associations would be good. We need to somehow demonstrate that there is a difference.

    • While I understand the impetus for such a suggestion in the end I think it is the wrong road. We have already let one part of the Christian family lay claim to so much of our language, must we give them the whole vocabulary?

      I long for the day when we can reclaim words like faith, evangelism, morality, and (indeed) Christian with all their shades and gradations of meaning.

      • lutheranjulia

        As a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I agree.

  3. This is the most stunning piece of reflection I’ve yet to read about this situation. We all have moments when we do not recognize or choose not to see Truth. Thank you.

  4. Kathy T

    So well put… thaks for the insights.

  5. Thank you, Julia. This is powerful, and beautiful.

  6. Rev. Pat Raube

    Adding my thanks to those already expressed. Beautiful, powerful, and, yes, true.

  7. Julie

    Thank you for your measured, balanced, true reflection… Jesus didn’t blink. Or speak.
    There were no words to reply. Jesus was answering the question.
    Simply by being. The sheer fact of his existence, his embodiment of all that is Holy, answered the question
    The truth is never in words. It was always, is always the Word.
    Amen

  8. Shuna

    A wonderful post. Thank you. Truth in the Word, always.

  9. Betsy

    Thank you. This whole turn of events has me so distressed. I have known many World Vision employees and ministered in the near vicinity of their headquarters, and I am just plain sad.

  10. thank you, Julia — I have to feel for the World Vision leadership, last week half the people were mad at them and now they’ve reached 100%. It would be comical — except for the children at and on the bottom line…

  11. JR

    2 Timothy 4:3 (New Living Translation)
    For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,230 other followers

%d bloggers like this: