Truth is like poetry and most people…. hate poetry
“Truth is like poetry and most people…. hate poetry”
Overheard in a Washington bar as quoted in “the Big Short”
We are drowning in a world where truth is derided as irrelevant. The United States has a President who believes that among white supremacists there are ‘many fine people’ and who, while I type, is intimidating a witness in his impeachment proceedings. Our Prime Minister has only a tenuous relationship with factual accuracy; lost his job as a journalist for inventing stories and cannot even tell the truth about a kipper.
“Twas ever so” you might retort, but, even if that is correct, a lie is now magnified within milliseconds by the power of internet and the truth has no chance of catching up. The two major parties are outlying each other in the current election in a sadly successful attempt to con the British public into believing their spending promises. The divisions in our society (ies), fanned by politicians for their own and their paymasters’ purposes, are deep and vitriolic.
And where is the Church? I am the standard old white male with a raft of prejudices, nurtured by my father and manured by the attitudes of a society, comfortably tailored for bigots. However, I know that each one of those prejudices is wrong and, more than wrong, sinful. How do I know that: because the Bible tells me so. Jesus came to earth to die for our sins, but he also came to make belief simple: love your God and love your neighbour. No ifs, no buts; no caveats: love your neighbour irrespective of gender, race, creed, nationality, sexuality: just love your neighbour, including the awkward person living next door to you.
I joined one of the predecessor charities to OneBodyOneFaith, Changing Attitude, because I could not see the point in excluding women from any posts within the Church of England. I remained a member when it transposed into OneBodyOneFaith because, again, I could not see the point in excluding loving people of whatever identity from serving and attending church. Is the Church so blessed with congregations and servants that it can define and limit which type of love it wants to admit?
I am fortunate in that I have never suffered the persecution and oppression that my brave colleagues on the Board of OneBodyOneFaith have endured, with a stoicism that can only be admired and, to a degree, wondered at.
Instead of standing as a beacon of truth in a society in which it is fast becoming irrelevant, the Church is arguing about who exactly we are allowed to love, the modern-day equivalent of Constantinople scholars debating, while the Ottoman Empire was besieging the city,
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8 31-31 (ESV)
The Church needs to stand for truth: the eternal truth of “love your neighbour as yourself”. We at OneBodyOneFaith will stand with the Church to defend that truth. The question is ‘will the Church stand with us’?
I started with a quotation from the marvellous ‘the Big Short’ and will end with one:
“I thought we were better than this, I really did.”
I pray that we are better than this; I fervently pray.
David Owen, Trustee