I am getting too old to inhibit my speech. It began in New Hampshire with truth-telling and continues now at shockingly accelerating rates. If we do not name Evil, it reigns. I am telling the truth. It will get you killed, but it also is the only way to live with real integrity – especially in the church.
Not too long ago our Interim Dean told the truth from the pulpit and the congregation went berserk. Really. It was insane. They loved it! They loved being told the truth. Some of it was hard news but people loved the truth. Many have doubled and tripled their pledges simply because of that sermon – and they have written to me and to Pat to say so directly.
I often wonder if the most honest statement in scripture is actually a question by Pilot. “What is truth?” Jesus then walked, silently and showed him. Showed us. Can we follow that model? Can we tell the truth and be willing to be crucified? Or is church just a nice thing I do on Sundays so I feel good about myself? Do we ever really get dirty? These questions are very closely related to our pledging. To make a gift to God id to risk not having the money. I get that. I am less interested in the money and more interested in the risk.
Many have deep sympathy for me as I tell the truth about my loss of smell and taste. It is two of our five senses. No, I do not use a cane like a blind man and no, I do not use sign language like a deaf man. But there is great disconnection from the world when there is no smell or taste. There is a loss and a grief.
And yet, I see so many whose inner thoughts are creating a disability far more profound than my loss of taste. Careless acceptance of what we think (They are just thoughts after all) can cause warfare inside us which much more violently cuts us off from the world and from the people trying to love us. The thoughts we have are just thoughts. Some true but many lies we have allowed into our brains because we have not taken the time in solitude to say “Hello thought. You are not true. Please pass along and make your way out of my brain with the speed with which you entered it. Along you go. You are a lie and so, are unwelcome here.”
But silence and solitude is the only way to do that work. What is true, and what is simply a thought – one that is untrue and needs to be dismissed?
Satan is not making headway destroying families friendships and churches with dragons, witches, warlocks or demons. That would be easy to see and is why we so love Halloween. We want to see evil. We do not want to admit that it is cloaked inside us as thoughts.
Satan is making great headway in his destruction by simply so busy-ing us, that we lack the kind of silence and solitude which allows us to examine out thoughts. So he wins, so often. And there is no paper trail to his work because our busy-ness is all about good things – many, many, many self-anesthetizing good things. Satan does not succeed by getting us to sin too much. He wins by getting us to do too much. And nobody even knows there is a problem. How could they? They would need to think about it to know.