Truth and change

July 7, 2008

So, oddly enough, I had an interesting thought while listening to Flobots.

For those of you who don’t know, Flobots is the band whose recent hit ‘handlebars’ is currently getting some moderate radio airplay. They are also very heavy handed in their opinions. If you generally like subtlety, the government, or American foreign and Domestic policiesi, I would highly recommend you avoid their music. I like them dispite the “bludgeon you over the head with our opinions” lyrics which they give me. Mostly because every now and then, at heart, I secretly want to be a peaceful guerilla liberal, protesting war peacefully and starting revolutionary community programs.

So while I am listening to claims made about the terrible ethics in the government (specifically the idea that we have been ‘overthrowing leaders with legitimate views, democratically elected but we didn’t approve’) when I thought about the effect that this would have on my life, were it true. What if everything they said about the government were true, and they were really doing all sorts of terrible things, and killing people for private industry? I certainly, as a Christian, could ot let that sort of thing go by without trying to somehow correct it, eh? I would want to do something, anything, to change that fact. Were that completely true, it would require me to make some sort of change.

Truth, especially truth that contradicts how we currently think, often requires some sort of change. And I think this is why there is so much resistance to truth. If Wal Mart really is mistreating their workers,  destroying small businesses across the country, and forcing distributors to lower their prices or else lose a giant client, then I really ought not support that business. But, if I ignore this truth, if I turn a blind eye, then I can continue to save money on all my purchases and live a content life.

This is a clear pragmatic foundation for the insistance that truth can be relative. If something can be true for you and not for me, then I can afford to stay exactly how I am. If I can remain comfortable and not change my personal status quo, then all is well. I will not accept something that tells me to change, because I have things set up juts how I like them, thank you very much.

But what I want to focus on is not postmodernism (because that dead horse is being beaten by a thousand different bloggers). No, I think it is Christians who need to hear this message.

Because there are lots of truths that upturn our apple cart and force us to change and act. An easy target is capitalism. I know we won the cold war (USA! USA! USA!), but perfection is not found in a system that tells everyone to work for themselves and do whatever it takes to build up what they can, without restrictions. For the Christian, that system says “Love your neighbour by telling them the gospel, but do not be concerned with their financial well being. That is their problem, not yours.” It says that when it comes to money, we should not be encumbered by the society around us. The greater good is nonexistant. So, tear down your proverbial barns, fill them with all your grain, and don’t worry about the poor and oppressed around us. Take a look at the Old Testament prophets if you want an idea about how God feels about that.

I could go on, (I almost did, and had to erase some of what I wrote to get back on topic) but I think you get the idea. When someone points out an error to us, we don’t want to hear it, because truth often requires a change of action.

I recently had to hear a very difficult truth. I was informed (by my awesome wife, without whom I would be a huge jerk) that the way I youth minister is very me focused. More than a few events or policies that I planned were more because I liked them, rather than looking out what was best for the group. I did not like to hear that, and it is still hard to swallow. But I am learning that what is most important is not me feeling comfortable with what is going on, but me hearing truth and changing so that my life looks more and more like what God wants it to be.

To bring this full circle, back to my good friends the Flobots, I would like to think that every condemnation that they throw out is left wing, pinko commie stuff. But maybe it isn’t, and maybe what I need to do is take a hard look at how things really are. And if I find out that there is really a need for change, may God give me the strength to do what I ought to make a difference. Because if God’s people do not serach for truth and correct what is wrong, then who are we expecting to do the job for us?

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