Truth is truth…no matter where you find it. There is no such thing as “Your truth,” or “My truth.” Such jargon is simply an attempt to avoid actual truth. Truth is not relative…it just is. We may not like the implications or consequences of truth, but that doesn’t change the facts.
- If it is real, then it is real.
- If it happened, it happened.
- If it can be demonstrated beyond doubt, then it is true.
- If it is truth, it cannot be denied.
- If it is contrary to our previous position, then that position must be adjusted.
- To insist upon the truth of a falsehood is to be misled.
Once we are confronted with a new truth or understanding, what restrains us from admission and adjustment?
- Is it pride? Are we too proud to admit we were wrong?
- Is it misguided loyalty – the fear that we will “Let the side down?”
- Is it willful blindness — a refusal to consider the facts?
- Is it fear — that we will lose our friends, colleagues, or livelihood?
- Is it stupidity (a conscious determination to remain ignorant)?
- Is it stubbornness – a bullheaded refusal to move from an unsupportable position?
If we stuck our neck out defending a false or faulty position, then we must humbly eat crow. It is better to eat a little crow and appear foolish than to keep embracing a lie and remove all doubt.
To remain deceived in the presence of truth is to be duped. If we understood things to be one way and the facts say they are another, we were mistaken. Either the method we used to determine the truth was flawed or our understanding was.
On the other hand, just because we call something “truth,” doesn’t mean that it is. Many things can appear to be true, but not really supportable by the facts. Furthermore, just because we want to believe something doesn’t make it true. If we can’t get hold of the facts, it is probably wise to reserve judgment until we can.
I’m convinced that most of the quarrels in relationships, religion, science and politics result from refusing to consider the facts as we decide what is true and what is questionable and what is false. So, let’s get real.
For all those who love the soil and growing your own food…especially using organic practices, I want to announce my new blog, In the Charamon Garden. You can find it on the blogroll or here. I hope you like it.
It is an account of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat (or thefeet) as I try to keep my family well stocked with seasonal vegetables in the tough conditions of the semi-arid part of Texas. Rainfall is uncertain, soil is alkaline, weather conditions uncertain, and time to garden is scarce. But, I like the challenge and when things go right the produce beats anything you will find in your local grocery store. The picture at the top is what you can get when things go well.
I like to read about gardening and am presently listening to an audiobook (on my way back and forth to Lubbock and elsewhere) to Animal, Vegatable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. I’m about half way through and it is a very good read if you can stand the odd narration. They also have a website that you might find interesting.
If you want to watch the news in the last few days, you’d better be interested in what is happening to O.J. Simpson. Frankly, I could not be less interested. Journalists have some way of measuring interest and only report what titillates the general public. If this is what people are interested in…we’re all in trouble!
Notice how “O.J.ism” has trumped plane crashes, earthquakes, war, political turmoil, and hurricanes. Here at the Whitsett household, we are disgusted. We have had all we can stomach without puking. We are thinking seriously about boycotting American newscasts until further notice. What is it that makes this guy so fascinating? On second thought, don’t tell me…I don’t think I would like the answer.
The words of Christ to Sardis: “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent” (Revelation 3:2,3)
Many churches around the world have turned inward, curled up and turned brown. They have a name that they are alive, but they are dead (Revelation 3:1). All that is needed is someone to perform the funeral. Others are content to become “magnet churches” by attracting and accumulating those who are already believers as they move into the community or become disenchanted with their former “church home.” I call this “static-cling” church growth. Continue reading
Check out Trey Morgan’s excellent blog on this subject. The statistics he quotes are compelling. Also be sure and follow the links he gives in his article.
I often think about how preachers are like coaches. In the years he has plenty of talented players (wins a lot of games), he can do no wrong. But let there be a few seasons when the players are not as good (loses a lot of games), he will probably have to move on. So, why do they do it? Well, two reasons: they love the game and sometimes the money’s good. For many preachers, one out of two is just not worth the heartache.
Here’s another problem: preaching is one of the few jobs where a person with training and experience is accountable to leaders who have neither and looks to them for his livelihood. Not only are too many leaders biblically ignorant and inexperienced, they seem to have little interest in changing that deplorable situation. It is not that help is unaccessible, it is just not accessed. Go figure.
Preaching is very hard work…if you don’t believe me, just ask them. Someone has said that preachers write the equivalent of three full-length novels a year. That he only works on Sunday is an ignorant and ridiculous myth. I know a former preacher who is now president of a university who says preaching is the hardest work he has ever done. In spite of that fact, it can be a wonderful, meaningful and fulfilling life. And, given the right circumstances, a preacher can work with the same congregation for a long time. My preacher has been with our congregation for nearly 30 years! Continue reading
This list will not apply to all preachers of course. Some preachers leave a congregation simply because they want the prestige of a larger church, salary, more benefits, etc. But I have been preaching since 1962 and here are some reasons I think preachers leave a church or leave preaching.
- Runs out of sermons (hasn’t learned to recycle his own material or “utilize” other’s material)
- Runs out of friends (people he can confide in who really care and accept him, faults and all – and will keep his confiding confidential)
- Runs out of money (cost of living outstrips support – can’t get a decent raise)
- Runs out of energy (to do the elder’s and deacon’s work as well as prepare and deliver sermons, teach classes, etc.)
- Runs out of patience (criticized by Brother Brutal and Sister Tactless one too many times)
- Runs out of diplomacy (begins telling the leaders [his employers] exactly what he thinks and why – jeopardizes long tenures!)
- Runs out of naiveté (realizes that preaching to a church in a building will not change the world)
- Runs out of time to be with his wife and raise his kids (demands of members overshadow needs of family)
- Runs out of tolerance (for a system that makes him responsible for things over which he has no influence or control)
- Runs out of endurance (decides that if he can’t change minds, he can at least change locations, jobs, careers, etc.)
1928 – 2007
One of life’s compensations is to be in the acquaintance of extraordinary men and women. Even though I did not know him as well as some others, I think all who knew him would agree that Bob Vance was one of the most outstanding.
I think I was drawn to Bob for several reasons. Continue reading