Sunday, February 23, 2014

Facts, Truths, Future?

Somehow I appointed myself "Fact Checker of the Internet." When one of my friends forwards an email, or posts on Facebook something that doesn't look right; off I go to Snopes or other places in an attempt to verify. And I know I'm not always completely gracious when my suspicions are correct. I do think we have an obligation to ensure what we say (or forward) is correct.

Now, I'm not talking about debating opinions. You can malign the President's performance, or do the same for the Tea Party, and you'll get nary a twitch out of me. We're entitled to our opinions, even if they're wrong. And with a Facebook friends list that is comprised of military veterans, industrialists, and progressive church folks, my page is a very interesting intersection. Almost anything I post makes someone unhappy. Which is why some days I stick to cat videos.

But facts are important. When we are barraged by information from 24 hour news channels, and websites and emails, it's easy to become an unwittingly complicit information consumer, or, if you will, a lazy acceptor of things-with-which-I-want-to-agree-whether-factual-or-not.

Remember what Honest Abe said (Happy Birthday Mr. President!):

But truth be told, I'm much more concerned about your faith than your facts. We can be very busy in our churches with worship and mission and ministries and such. But I wonder if the busyness keeps us from asking ourselves the important questions: How is our faith? How are our souls? How are our communities of faith a respite from our culture rather than trying desperately to mirror it? How does the time we spend together change ourselves and our world?

There are all sorts of ideas about how to attract young people - to call to us the generations lost. Maybe we could start with this: a willingness to have an open conversation with them about what we believe and our faith and our doubts, rather than an emphatic recitation of the facts as we think they are. To share our truths - our Good News - instead of our doctrine. To share the richness and fullness of a life as a follower of Jesus than exacting certitudes about how our way is the best way. To not simply hear but attentively listen and respond.

Are we yet malleable? Do we have room to consider and ponder and grow and change? Are willing to accept into our midst those who may challenge our facts while acknowledging our truths? Do we really want new people who will challenge our understanding of worship and even church itself as they mold it into something that works for their generation?

I hope so. I think it's the way forward.