Part of this journey I seem to be on is for me to learn about truth. This theme has come up in both books I am presently reading (Velvet Elvis & The Shack), and indirectly in the many conversations I am having with Anne. In Velvet Elvis Rob Bell writes an entire chapter on Truth, and how Christians have been historically bound and limited to what they believe is truth, but are not able to see it in other things, teachings and people outside of their small spectrum which they consider to be “Christian”. But Bell argues that all truth comes from God and no matter the source, it can be claimed and used in the life of a believer.
I have, for instance, experienced this when listening to Jay Z, when he says something like, “Fear not when nor fear not why. Fear not much while we’re alive. Life is for living not living uptight. See you somewhere in the sky. Fear not die, I’ll be alive for a million years bye bye.” He may not claim to be speaking the word of God, he may not even claim to believe in God, but there is no denying the truth which is found within those words, and I can claim them and believe them for myself. That does not now mean that everything Jay Z says becomes truth and applicable to my life, and so when he raps, “You know I thug ’em, f%@#! ’em, love ’em, leave ’em, cause I don’t f%@#!in’ need ’em.” I do not have to accept that belief about women as truth for my life.
Rob Bell speaks about how even Paul often quoted prophets of other gods in his letters to certain churches, because he saw truth in what they said, and knew that that very truth spoke to the people (the followers of that god) and it was even familiar to them. That did not mean he had to prescribe to every statement or belief of that particular prophet or god, but he was able to sift through the words, find the truths that stood out and use them in his own life. I like this. Because so often, especially when it comes to religion, we humans use our differences to push each other away, rather than finding similarities that can bring us closer together. We do this with religion, the color of skin, the type of music we like, political views, and pretty much every aspect of life.
It is interesting spending so much time with Anne, because she has lived many more years than I, and she is an extremely wise and deeply spiritual woman. I imagine that many Christians would spend time trying to “convert” Anne, or prove that her beliefs are wrong, or try and show how what she believes does not fall in line with what they believe or claim to know. The interesting thing is, in my short 48 hours in Germany, I have spoken with Anne more about God and spiritual things than I have in the past few months with my Christian friends. And these conversations have not been me trying to convince Anne about what I believe, or her trying to convince me of what she believes, but rather meeting in the middle on certain spiritual truths that we both believe, and not feeling threatened by the differences in beliefs when they do arise. We both believe we live in a natural world with spiritual forces that are active in our lives and an entire unseen spiritual realm which exists, leading, guiding and affecting human interaction and behavior.
Though we may view it in different ways, we both acknowledge that there is much more happening, behind the scenes, than what our mere eyes can see or perceive. And we meet together and agree on this common truth. It is actually so freeing, and so wonderful. So we can speak about being able to see the “light” in certain people, and though we may use different terminology for it, we are really speaking about the same thing. Or we can speak about Jesus and though Anne does not believe He is God and I do we can agree that the life He lived was that of love and activism, Anne also believing that He had more “light” in Him than any other person to ever walk the earth. Or we can speak of Buddha in the same way, and I do not feel the need to follow him, but I can see and believe the truth in many of his life and teachings, especially those regarding the poor.
This all feels so refreshing and I wonder why so many people are scared of these types of interactions. Maybe it is a fear in them to question, maybe it is shaky beliefs of their own, or maybe they are not completely convinced about what they say they believe and therefore rather stick to simple, surface clichés, phrases and conversations; conversations that are safe and do not pose a perceived threat to their belief system. But what amazing interactions we can have with one another when we choose not to try and use our differences to push each other farther apart, but rather look at the good and truth within one another, and use that good, and truth, and similarity to bring us closer. This way seems more right. This way seems more Godly to me. You do not have to accept it as truth for you, but it is a truth that has recently set me free.
originally posted on http://livelovedaily.blogspot.com