“The truth shall set you free.” This quote from the
Gospel of John, chapter 8 verse 32 is often quoted and rarely
understood in context. Jesus is speaking about the differences between
his real followers and those that profess religious adherence while
avoiding obedience to love and truth.
before this verse, Jesus shares that his true followers obey his
commands…and THEN, the fullness of liberating truth comes into view. In
other words, knowledge alone does not liberate; a relationship with God
is what matters most. And, consistent with all of St. John’s writings,
proof of life with God is that God’s people love one another and all
around them, willingly serving those that cannot return the favor.
God-infused, unselfish love is the foundation of our lives, we can face
the truth of any matter head-on, because we know we are loved by God
and care more for his glory and the good of others that our selfish
wants. We can face the truth about ourselves and our need for continual
transformation. We can face facts about the economic, moral and social
issues of our day, knowing that our neighbors are both divine
image-bearers and in need of redemption.
Knowing the truth is liberating and here are some applications to everyday issues:
kills a human being. In an extremely small number of cases, preserving a
mother’s life may require a tragic moral choice; however, technology
allows us to see a real human developing inside the womb!
southern border needs regulation with hospitality, security with
compassion. Ignoring it only exacerbates human suffering and political
and economic agendas of elites that have no contact with the people
soaring deficits are inexcusable, with tax revenues the highest in
history. Smart people can balance our federal budget in a few hours,
while cowardly congressional leaders kick the can down the road of
housing is a local and national crisis. Neither socialism or
hyper-libertarianism can lead us to the private-public partnerships and
common good solutions we need.
we love God and our neighbor, we will seek solutions for these and
other apparently intractable problems. We can face both human misery and
divine opportunity with hopeful realism. It is time for thoughtful
folks to say, “Enough!” to posturing politicians and pundits and work
for justice neighborhood by neighborhood.
Every day we are besieged with information. Some is
useful…much is mere advertising. Our internet world often confuses data
with knowledge and knowledge with wisdom. Soundbites and click-throughs
are replacing research and reflection. On the American scene we already
have nearly 20 presidential candidates vying for attention. Here are
some observations from the last several weeks that I hope will prompt
correctness and cynicism are two sides of the same coin of fear. The
first aims not to offend at the expense of humility and reality. The
second avoids debate with caustic declarations that only widen
Let’s choose critical thinking with mutual respect –
our civil institutions depend on people of character looking at reality
and finding wisdom, not parroting talking points or practicing stand-up
reflecting on the powerful movie, “Unplanned” that Kathy and I saw
together. Without hyperbole, this may unveil for abortion what
Schindler’s List did for the Shoah. I recommend parents and teens pray
and see it together. Not for children or the unprepared. There is divine
grace for all ensnared in this tragic issue.
someone today. Everyone needs one person saying, “You can!” In a world
of flattery and insults, genuine, positive encouragement is a gift. Our
word in season may be just what someone needs in the midst of life’s
challenge all aspiring Presidential candidates to offer doable
solutions, not irresponsible speculation. Balance a budget (tax revenues
are at an all-time high), secure a hospitable border, continue
improving private/public healthcare and work on infrastructure and
economic opportunity. President Trump is easy to criticize – but can
opponents offer viable policies that have all Americans in mind?
must start negotiating on important issues such as immigration reform, a
balanced budget, infrastructure, improving access for economic
opportunity, fixing student debt, and many more. Interpretations of the
Mueller Report and investigations will never end…meanwhile,
constituents deserve attention to solvable issues that promote human
flourishing. Will we choose posturing or productivity; positioning for
2020 or practical help in 2019?
I entitled this piece, “Inversion” because we have a world in which what was previously morally clear and obviously true is no longer seen that way, especially by purveyors of identity politics and anarchistic philosophies. “Parallel universes” is a phrase that describes the lenses through which people see the same events, ideas and trends…and it is stunning how different these visions are!
Two crises dominate the public square, especially in the USA and the West. The first is anthropology: what does it mean to be a human being, and, what is the future of male and female identity? The second crisis is the foundation of the first one: how do we “know” anything? In a world of competing “memes” and “narratives” where is the room for empirical research and critical thinking? Emotions rule the day and how particular persons and groups “feel” trumps careful research and reflection.
Let’s begin with how we “know.” Philosophers and religious leaders have debated for millennia about the nature of reality and the sources of our knowledge. Much of this was confined to the academy and esoteric circles. Most of humankind wakes up to a challenging world of laboring for daily bread and they do not need a lesson of whether or not their toil is “real.” The importance of events has always been debated, but not the reality itself. Historians love gathering different perspectives; however, all but a few would affirm, “Some events really happened.”
For the past 20 years, we have allowed feeling, political agendas, and image- and social media-driven communication to eclipse careful evaluation. From former President Obama’s fictionalized autobiographies to current debates on climate change, gullibility or suspicion is driven by ideology, not research. The very people that scream, “Science matters!” about climate change ignore advances in science completely as they promote abortion and infanticide. Gender confusion is a psychosocial pathology – science is clear that 99% of humans are born with particular DNA designating them male and female.
We need a return to reason and research, a willingness to subject ideas to scrutiny and adapt our understanding after careful reflection. Such progress will not be politically correct or conform to everyone’s feelings. It will, however, help us solve real problems and promote human flourishing.
Next week: human identity up for grabs.