I want to highlight another dichotomy we in the church often make between ourselves and the rest of the world: truth and falsehood.
Jesus himself claimed to be the Truth, so it’s easy to see how we got there: if we are Jesus people, then we’re the ones who know the Truth. If we know the Truth, then it stands to reason that anyone who disagrees with us must be wrong. We feel this especially when we compare religions, but it leaks into everything else – especially politics (at least for the last 40 years or so).
But there’s a dangerous turn in there we too often miss: think with me about someone you love, someone you consider to be wise and fully of truth. Maybe it’s a parent or grandparent. Maybe it’s a favorite teacher or professor. Maybe it’s someone in your C-Group.
How do you approach time with that person? I bet it’s with a posture of openness, ready to receive, to learn from. You’re excited by how the next encounter is going to change you.
Now think about your posture in an argument, or with someone you have deep disagreement with: you’re more closed off. This encounter is often something to be survived – you’re trying to make it out intact, unchanged.
When we first encounter Jesus, our posture is often that first one: we find new life, hope and a transformed reality. We become a generative openness that allows the love and life we’ve received from Jesus to flow from us to everyone around us.
But somewhere along the way, we start to close up. We become convinced that Jesus needs to be defended and proved. We go from being open receivers of truth to closed defenders of truth.