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Posts tagged "Truth"

Love Is Also One of the Things That’s True

Fifteen years ago this winter my dad drove me up to Madison for the third and final surgery on my right collarbone, which I had shattered earlier that year. (I had front-flipped onto blacktop, accomplishing a football injury while playing basketball. It’s a whole sad, dumb story.) We left home early in the morning and […]

Blood on the Chalkboard: Faith, Fear, and Education

“Instead of the schools existing to educate, they exist to provide a safe space from education.” So a friend described the goals of a certain party within her church. In a panic that their colleges are “liberalizing” (which is to say, scattering weeds within a carefully tended garden of white conservative Protestant subculture), they want […]

To Be Honest: Why It’s Hard (but Helpful) to Tell the Truth

“Before you print a poem, you should reflect on whether this verse could be of use to at least one person in the struggle with himself and with the world.” – Czeslaw Milosz Being honest is often a hard thing for me to do. I don’t actually mind it when someone prefaces their opinion with, […]

What Is Truth?

This past Sunday, Rudy Giuliani, currently serving as the president’s personal attorney, claimed “truth isn’t truth” during an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC. Todd’s reaction in the moment that “this is going to become a bad meme” of course became reality as Giuliani’s statement quickly made the social media rounds with mocking tones and […]

Nadia Bolz-Weber Pawns Off Narcissism as a Virtue

2015 NYC Conference speaker Nadia Bolz-Weber‘s book, Pastrix, is a curious beast: self-deprecating memoir, accidental handbook for church planters, compendium of dark comedy, and loads of inspiration, though not (remotely) the Hallmark variety. Among the many excerpt-worthy passages, one about darkness, light, and self-deception stood out to me. As backstory here, Candace was a fellow alcoholic, though less of a recovering one, whom Nadia tried to support for a while, before her sister accused her of  imprudently squandering her emotional energy just to maintain her idea of herself as a loyal friend:


Years later, after I had started House for All Sinners and Saints, I thought of Candace when I was writing a sermon about when Jesus goes on and on about how we really actually like darkness more than light because, let’s face it, the darkness hides our bullshit. (Revised Nadia Version.) I thought of all the time I spent trying to be good and all the time she spent trying to pretend she wasn’t high and how perfectly matched all our crap was. And all it took was my sister speaking the truth about it for light to come in and scatter the darkness. I thought about how, just like Candace, when I want desperately for something about myself to be hidden, for it to stay in the darkness, I am really good at lying. And if I can go an extra step and make it look like I’m actually being good – if I can pawn off narcissism as a virtue – then I win. Like when I am just sick of giving a shit about other people and want to be selfish so I call my two days of watching Netflix and getting mani-pedis ‘self-care.’ Or when I say I’m on ‘a cleanse’ so no one knows I’m really on a diet.

The list goes on, and the last thing I want is for any light to be cast on the darkness that I’ve spent so much energy curating, protecting, enjoying. But it’s not a cleanse. It’s a diet. It’s not about my health, it’s about my vanity.

There’s a popular misconception that religion, Christianity specifically, is about knowing the difference between good and evil so that we can choose the good. But being good has never set me free the way the truth has…

Very often I will avoid the truth until my face goes red like a toddler avoiding her nap; until limp limbed, she finally stops flailing and falls asleep and receives rest – the very thing she needs and the very thing she fights. When someone like me, who will go to superhero lengths to avoid the truth, runs out of options – when I am found out or too exhausted to pretend anymore or maybe just confronted by my sister – it feels like the truth might crush me. And that is right. The truth does crush us, but the instant it crushes us, it somehow puts us back together into something honest. It’s death and resurrection every time it happens.

New Music: Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend has often been accused of making rather frivolous music that appeals mainly to hipsters, and, in many respects, that accusation is true of their first two albums, Vampire Weekend and Contra. Yet, I personally think that criticizing a band for writing about what they know, especially early in their career, has little merit. […]

V for Vendetta John Hurt

Comfortable Myths, Outright Lies and Breaking through the Fog of Disbelief

Hat tip to a wise friend who recently sent me an article from The Chronicle of Higher Learning entitled “Why Lies Often Stick Better Than Truth.” The thrust of the article has to do with recent psychological research about how people often hold onto slanted information and outright lies—even after being presented with sound counter […]