Sunday, December 6, 2009

The light of truth

Given the choice of whether to blog or shower before church this morning, I took pity on my fellow parishioners and showered: after being tucked up under a wig my hair was looking particularly disgusting.

... which means the blog is less under the influence of my reading and meditation and more under the influence of today's sermon -- which is a good thing. Because today we were talking about Truth -- a good thing to consider in this season when we await the light of Christ.

We were asked who the truth-tellers are in our lives, and my first reaction was, "My husband." Which is absolutely -- and sometimes painfully -- true. But of course several other people's first responses were "my children," which is also true. But that made some of the teenagers squirm, so there was a certain amount of clarification, to indicate that they are truthtellers about US, even if they don't always tell the truth about themselves or their own activities!

"So what happens," we were then asked, "When people tell you the truth; what's your response?" And of course it's -- quite predictably -- "OUCH!" What is it, about that word truth, that makes us immediately assume there is an ouch in our future? What is it that makes truth so difficult to hear? And yet, I LOVE my husband, and am -- and will always be -- grateful for his gift of "calling em as he sees em."

I don't like it when he says "That skirt makes you look fat," but the fact is that I'd rather know than keep wearing it. It's hard when he says something I'm thinking or doing isn't consistent with my claims of being a church-going, God-fearing person: my defenses come up right away. But in the end, I'd rather know -- how can I fix things if I don't realize they're broken? Just because there's an OUCH in something, that doesn't always mean it's bad: it may mean we have been presented with another opportunity for change; another opportunity for growth.

But then the sermon turned to the truth-tellers who confront communities and organizations -- the people they call prophets. And somehow I went back down that rabbit-hole, remembering the times I've done that, and the OUCH in that was somehow much more painful than the truths that have been handed to me. And then, because I had been thinking earlier in the morning about a couple of my friendships that have grown a little shaky over the last year or so, it somehow came to me that the ouches there had been more about MY truth-telling than about theirs; that all these years with my blunt husband have made me more blunt as well, so that I sometimes blurt out truths without guaging the potential impact.

So even though the saying goes that the truth will set you free, well... sometimes it sets you free in rather uncomfortable ways. And I find myself wondering if the reason I'm keeping my distance from church is just that I prefer not to get into a position where I might again be tempted to tell the truth. If this is my lamp, there's a part of me that would prefer to keep it turned off.

Do you suppose that's the same thing as hiding your light under a bushel?

Oh, dear...


Maureen said...

The Oxford American Dictionary offers as one meaning of "true": "in accordance with correct principles or an accepted standard". Rather a lot of wiggle room in that, I think. And "fact" is defined as "something asserted to be true as a basis for reasoning". Intrepretive as well.

Reading these definitions, I think of how often individuals assert the "truth" of what they read in the Bible, knowing that their "truth" is simply their interpretation, an interpretation that can do harm to entire groups of people. And I contrast that with what it means to accept the Word as "true", which requires a faith I admittedly struggle with.

Quite a philosophical discussion this could be.

Dianna Woolley said...

Truth told, yes, I think it's the same thing as hiding your light under a bushel. Well, you asked:)


snowvicar said...

Well, what a truthful thing to read. And you captured the preacher's intention and attention. Thank you.