There is so much in this message. I saw it yesterday and decided I wanted to chronicle it as much for myself as for blog readers. It isn’t my habit to share sermons but there’s rich material about shame-based theology we must confront, truth about process addictions to social media, interpersonal relationship possibilities, rest, creativity, liberative self-determination, and grace for all the backgrounds that limit us.
While you will find disagreements–you should in every communication if you’re critically engaged–you will find something good and worth meditating upon. Listen to what’s for you.
I have often heard myself saying to people that I don’t like to change my mind. It is true.
Part of it is that I make decisions slowly. I choose carefully. At least, this is also what I tell myself. So, when I make a choice, that choice is done with the weight of consideration, deliberation, and care coming out of a patient direction.
The other part is that I’m stubborn. I tell people that I’m committed, that I’m committed to the move in martial terms, but it’s a soft way of saying that I’m stubborn. I think most humans are this way.
Most people are committed to their views of things. We are loyal to our own worlds, loyal to our own beliefs, committed to those things we’re comfortable with. Change is hard on us.
I could say this in spiritual and moral terms. The consistent practice of making up one’s mind leaves a person open to pride and closed to change. Making and maintaining your mind leaves you vulnerable to the same loyalty.
So, changing your mind, seeing a thing with fresh eyes with an openness to what’s truly there, may be the most powerful moral and spiritual act of your day. It’s a little like being loyal to openness and opposed to it’s enemy, it’s soul antonym.
Spiritual practices are not always grand and pronounced. The sustained practices–and the sustaining practices–are those gestures we regularly engage with and which call no fanfare. One essentially spiritual practice is telling the truth.
Telling the truth is saying what is real, what is observable by others, and what is experienced by others. Someone else always corroborates truth. It’s not private. Truth is public. Telling the truth is a public act. It is generous because it always involves you saying what is real to someone else. It’s what someone else says to you that you know is true.
Even if you have not seen or handled or read what you’ve been told is true, truth resonates. On the other hand, when you get accustomed to telling truths, your sensitivity to untruths heightens. When you’re used to being honest, being anything else grates what has become a core characteristic.
It also stings to experience lies, untruths, and exaggerations which are themselves an experience in seeing how far you can get by experimenting with lies. Lies, untruths, and exaggerations all distort you. They all distance you from what is real. Eventually you lose the ability to experience the truth. Eventually your perception becomes unreal. Your character becomes false. Eventually you can’t see the difference between truth and lies because you have so frequently smudged that difference that it’s gone.
If there is an antidote, it is in the simple, small practice of telling the truth.