When The Truth Approaches
One of the many issues that those of us who call ourselves Christians face is the fact that we seldom actually pay attention to the example Jesus set for his followers.
But when we are confronted by the radical truth of what Jesus taught, and the embodied truth of how he lived out those teachings... it can mess us up. For some of us, it can change everything.
Let me explain---in a round about way by talking about swans, philosophy and Karl Popper...
In the Logic of Scientific Discovery, the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper asserted that we can never absolutely confirm any scientific theory. But what we can determine with a fair amount of certainty is the opposite of the theory.
Using the example of the color of swans, Popper stated the following:
"No matter how many instances of white swans we may have observed, this does not justify the conclusion that all swans are white."In other words, you can't assume with any real certainty the exact color that all swans come in, but you can know for sure that not all swans are white.
Why does this matter? According to Popper it matters a great deal because our best theories are simply those we haven't yet proven wrong, and if or when they are proven wrong, we'll simply replace them with better ones.
This seems like a simple and profound truism, doesn't it? But the practicality of it is so very, very complicated.
You see, most of us resist the disproving of our theories so much so that we are willing to rewrite history, ignore science, dumb down religion, gloss over inconsistencies.... anything that keeps us from having to call into question the ways we know what we think we know.
I was reading a poem by the great English poet W.H. Auden recently, and I was struck by how pointedly it addressed this very idea:
And when Truth met him and put out her hand.Jesus told his followers once, "If you want to be my disciples, then you need to do as I do, live as I live, speak as I speak. And then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
He clung in panic to his tall belief
And shrank away like an ill-treated child. - "The First Temptation"
How many of us, when we are confronted by the reality of what it means to follow after Jesus, embrace his truth without hesitation?
How many of us find ourselves shrinking away from Him because He asks too much of us... brings too much change?
May you find the courage to step toward the Truth, who is the Life and also the Way by which you discover the truth about yourself? And may you be set free to live into that truth from this day forward.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.