Here begins a blog to share with friends (others too perhaps) the things I’m finding are true—the things I’d like to say, but also things to do and to pray for. I thought it would be good to set out some guidelines for myself as to what this blog is about.
I refer to what I am finding to be true, rather than what I am claiming to be true. Some would say this distinction is naive, but I hope that future blogs will show that we really can know and say what is true …about God and ourselves, the truth about our world and its future and how it is loved and being fixed. If it is going to be true, it must already be there to find and not invented by me or any one else. And if I am going to find it, it must be because someone wants me to know it—not everything so I can be a ‘know-all’, but enough to settle my restlessness, tell me how to live with others and point to a future.
This is a huge topic at present. Many claim we cannot know anything objectively or really and that the best we can hope for is a perspective that works for us. I’ve been reading Don Carson’s ‘Christ and Culture Revisited’ and he deals with this subject in some detail, particularly in his section on postmodernism. For the present, I simply say that my starting point is that God has spoken to us, especially through Jesus Christ, and that he continues to speak to us all. The Bible, thrust up by this revelation and inspired by his Spirit is our authority, not just as an ancient document but in the sense that God continues to speak to his creation through its message. God remains this world’s Creator and Father (as Paul said to the Athenians). He raised his Son from the dead and made him our judge. In so many ways, if this is not irreverent to say, God is saying, ‘Hello! I’m here!’ The Bible constantly refers to our being able to know God and his will and asserts that we are responsible to know what is there to know.
The second part of my title, and the goal of this blog, is doing what is true. Truth is something to be done, a sharing in what is really true. Someone taught me years back that a mature person’s thinking is his or her call to action, not delay. Taking action needs confidence. If we are confident of the truth, it will not remain the topic of a discussion but forge a new direction and inspire a new power to keep doing the truth. Paul refers to ‘speaking the truth in love, but the actual phrase should read ‘truthing it in love’. Truth is love in action or it still belongs to the category of lie.
One of the delights of being a Christian is that there is always something to do. Pessimism and small mindedness are flushed out by knowing that God has called us to participate in all that he is doing. We are known by him, given our particular place to be and action to take, by him, and told to live, not for what can be seen and congratulated, but what will be eternal.
The third part of my title is ‘Things … to pray for’. In this world, alongside of the truth, there is much faleshood, not just in what we say but also in how we live, and the pain this causes is also real. If God is the author of what is true, only he can cause truth to triumph and falehood to fall. So I hope that all I write will also be a prayer, that is, a looking to God to make good on what he has shown us is true. Truth is love in action, and prayer is the expression of this love as we share the pain of what happens around us and thirst for the fulfillment of what God has promised.
There is great strength in coming to things in this way. Those who make their own ‘truth’ are responsible to bring it about. This leads to lots of huffing and puffing, or we could say, hot air. We recognise it quickly in politics (heard of ‘guarantees’?); it is the constant mantra of commerce or sports (‘we are the best’); it infects the private worlds of our families and friends (we may not say it, but what we mean is, ‘Be reasonable; do it my way’). All this reveals that we are trying to establish a ‘truth’ and to prove it by making it happen.
There was a time when anyone petitioning our Australian governments was obliged to end their submission with the words, ‘…and your servants shall also humbly pray.’ Here was a recognition that citizens must depend on God to bring what is true into our public life. It sounds quaint now but it is the way I hope to live and the way I hope to commend in this blog. I am all for ‘putting out there’ what I find to be true, even strongly, but I know who I trust to bring it about. The church’s real power has always been prophetic, not political.
Those who are sure of the truth are those who walk as servants of the man who said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. There was a certainty and strength in all that Jesus did and said. He trusted his Father God to establish everything that was true—even when he was dying. His servants know he is raised from the dead and that he is the truth about God, and us, our world and its future, and that he has been given authority to make it good. The truth to talk about, and to do, and to pray for, is what happens through faith in Jesus Christ and all this under his control.
So, here we go! I look forward to reading what others have to offer.
In the next two blogs, I’d like to write about ‘Love that is free’, and ‘How good it is that God is judge’. At this stage, once a month might be often enough for me to get my thoughts together.