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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Boy Was I Wrong


“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

- Mark Twain
 I wish that I was a quick a learner as Mark Twain. When I was 18 my dad told our Church that love is the guiding principle for the Christian life. As we deconstructed his sermon over our Sunday lunch I explained to him that while, of course, love is vitally important, truth is actually the guiding principle for the Christian life because, after all, love which is not based in truth is no love at all. 
 - Even typing that I feel like such a fool. - 
This is evil
  I thought that the head should govern the heart, that without an anchor of perfect truth, the world would fly apart. I was afraid and I only barely recognized it. 
  To this day, being wrong is probably my greatest fear (it may be clowns or spiders but it's probably being wrong). The very concept of what scholars call "epistemic humility", the capacity to acknowledge that we may actually be wrong, conjures up mental images of hurtling through space with nothing to hold on to - drifting.  
  I thought, deep down, that sometimes truth is at war with love. 
  And I thought all of that as a conservative, evangelical Christian. Somehow I believed that the God who is Love was at war with the Jesus who is truth. 
  I think even then I would have said that the conflict was only apparent, that ultimately, Truth and Love are always in agreement. But the thing is, as I informed my Dad, whenever we see an apparent conflict, it is our responsibility to err on the side of what we believe (I probably said know) to be true. 
  See, over the last few years (like I said, I am a slow learner) I have come to realize that I have no warrant to conclude that my mind is any less broken than my heart. Why does the heart, which screams "this does not feel loving" when we alienate or disenfranchise someone for their sin, need to submit to the mind which tells it "I know this seems to hurt her, but it is really for her own good".
  Fellow Christians, I am reminded that Jesus never said that the whole of the law and the prophets hang on this: "That you know the truths about the Lord your God and that you express those truths to your neighbor as you express them to yourself". He told us it hangs on Love. 
Maybe Love can look like this.
  Are we likely to cause more damage erring on the side of our still malformed hearts or on the side of our still malformed minds? What would happen if we were to bring the two of them into the same room as equals? 

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