Sunday, October 6, 2013

This Generation.5

"Oh generation, who live your lives based on lies: how can you, being without truth, say anything worth hearing? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."

A favorite Veggie Tales story is Larry-Boy! and the Fib From Outer Space. An alien life-form invades the sleepy town of Bumblyberg in the form of a creature that looks like a bouncing ball with a face. It convinces Junior Asparagus to hide the truth of his dad’s shattered collector’s plate in an innocent “fib”. Before long the little “fib” has grown into a gigantic monster -with arms and legs- that threatens the lives of the entire community smashing through the town square with reckless impunity.

This children’s story serves, of course, as an allegory, because as adults we know that “fibs” don’t really grow into gigantic monsters that ruthlessly destroy people’s lives. Nor that there are super-heroes whom we can call with high-powered spotlights shining into the sky to save us from our folly. Nor that we should have defense mechanisms in place to warn at the approach of alien invasions…

A popular political joke goes something like this: How do you know if a politician is lying? When his lips are moving.

Followers of Jesus have debated -for centuries- the proper place we ought to have in public discourse. Jesus, of course, was not interested in political power structures and clearly dismissed attempts by the masses to make him king. Yet, a King he is, the King of Hearts, and never did he avoid the call to righteousness in individuals...kings and peasants alike. Nor did he avoid calling out the superficial and self-righteous for their hypocrisy.

A simple preacher from an obscure part of the Roman Empire in a time far far away, Jesus made statements that shook, not only that empire, but the power structures of every earthly kingdom since then. What if, as Jesus pointed out and we can only dream now, public officials actually told the truth, made principled decisions, refused to obfuscate facts for their own political ambition, lived by that truth and, God have mercy, actually said things worth hearing? More importantly, what if we actually had the wisdom to discern the warning signals when an alien invasion of Fibs are bouncing around the public square and the courage to say 

we will not live our lives based on lies!

Follower of Jesus: If not us, then who? If not now, then when?