February 4, 2008

Does Truth Matter?

I love it when there is a convergence of ideas. You see, I've been carrying around these pictures of a couple of church signs in my neck of the woods which make me laugh and cringe at the same time. (For the record, I have contacted both churches and lovingly suggested they correct the problems.) Along with these signs I was drawn into an unexpected conversation over at But a Poor Reflection concerning "Truth". Does it matter?

First, I offer the church signs of immediate interest (Do you have one from your neighborhood which you could share with us?).

We all understand what these signs are trying to communicate, so is it really all that important that a word is misused and a subject doesn't agree with a verb? Probably not, except that it's incorrect.

Now let me try to tie this notion to the issue of truth being discussed over at Paul's place. Does it really matter if we dispense with propositional truths about the person and work of Jesus? I hear a lot about relational truth from emergent churches and I'm not sure I know what that means. It seems the emergent church is placing a heavy, and needed, emphasis on knowing Jesus and not just knowing about him. It seems the emergent church is doing what these church signs are doing. I get what they are trying to say but there are places it's just incorrect - IMHO.

I invite a conversation on this issue as I am mystified how propositional truth can be set aside when, like it or not, we live with it everyday of our lives (Exhibit A - gravity). If you are engaged in the emergent movement, or if you know someone who is, please explain to me what this is about and how you process your faith in the absence of propositional truth. I promise I am not some angry pastor just waiting to lambaste someone, I just don't understand. Conversation welcomed.


Lucy Arin said...

You know I've got no comment on the religion issue, but I have to tell you that you gave me a good laugh this early AM. Those are both priceless.

When we're asking in general if WHAT you're saying is as important as HOW you say it; I think the answer is no. The message, not the medium, is what matters. For all that, though, poor grammar makes it difficult to understand the message, whatever the it may be, and thus is important too.

What did these places say when you pointed out their poor grammar?

kevin said...

Look up the "crummy church sign" blog if you are interested in church sign cheese.

Paul Thompson said...

John, great post.
Have you read John McArthur's book "the Truth War"? Very good read on the issues of Truth.

Remember to vote early and vote often.

Mike said...

I am not really part of Emergent, although I am certainly connected with “organic” churches.

For me Truth is very important. People are longing for something to grab hold of. The gospel is a wonderful message. A GOD who does not change has broken into history. The cross saves and transforms us. My favorite quote on truth is

"truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory and being of GOD"

Does anyone else have definitions they would like to share?

Jonathan Smith said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog - while I am reluctant to share what I know about the secret underworld of cats and telekinesis for fear of my life :p I did write about why I think that the children of the religious right are ending the movement. Thanks for your interest.

I would consider myself an emergent in that I am emerging from my past experience with religion into a relationship with Christ. I believe that there is absolute truth but as a mortal I don't absolutely know it, I think only God can know it. As far as propositional truth I am a little worn out of getting beaten and beating people with it.

Carol L. Douglas said...

John, you might be interested in this adorable painting from the National Gallery in London:


Grammer is nurturing little minds here.

I'm all for grammer as a tool for developing an orderly mind. As has been noted, grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.

Or, as a backwards argument, Nietzsche said, "I fear we are not getting rid of God because we still believe in grammar."

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