Trust and truth: lifelong friends
I want to say something heretical: trust is more important than truth.
Trust is the bridge truth walks on. Without the bridge of trust, truth spirals into the chasm. Truth is useless, meaningless without trust. Better to have no truth, than to have no trust.
Images of building trust based on lies and deception swarm through our minds. Compromise: the mega-curse word of fundamentalism. Accomodation: compromise's ugly cousin.
Becca gave us a hard shove in a much needed direction last night.
Trust is not optional. Just as truth is not optional. In our missional enterprise, we can no more abandon trust than we can abandon truth. What we've perceived as either-or's, as enemies, prove upon further review to be nothing of the sort.
Truthless attempts to earn trust soon become the most intractable kind of distrust. Trust-devoid attempts to proclaim truth often produce the most intractable kind of disbelief. We all hesitate to follow someone we feel doesn't have our best interests at heart and it is wise policy to disbelieve habitual liars.
But for decades evangelical Christians have fought so hard to protect truth (orthodoxy), that we've begun to believe that trust (relationship) is optional, or even dangerous. We measure our faithfulness on how little people like us. They hate us, we must be doing something right!
Trust doesn't get us noticed. Trust doesn't make us famous or infamous. Trust can't be scaled, put on CD, packaged, sold and shipped. There isn't a lot of money in trust.
In our willingness to abandon relationship to preserve orthodoxy, we've come dangerously close to losing orthodoxy. Our theology has ceased to be onto-relational and has, instead, become abstract, lines to be defended (war, athletics) instead of followed (ancestry, transportation). We die on the wrong hills.
The reality is that telling the truth is one of the best ways to develop trust. Truthtelling leads to trust which leads to more truthtelling which leads to truth being received more and more: an upward spiral. If you care enough about me to tell me the truth, you're the sort of person I want to trust. Think about that video Brad recommended. Penn-the-atheist says that if you think the gospel is true, you should share it with everyone you care about.
One last thought and then I'll end this rant. Charles Spurgeon, a brilliant British preacher, once was asked to reconcile two seemingly incongruent theological ideas. His reply applies here: "I never reconcile friends."
If someone asks if Trust and Truth are friends, I'd say good friends. If they asked if they were good friends, I'd say lifelong friends.