Brian’s Reflection: Friday, May 16, 2008
I want a language that speaks the truth.
- Studs Terkel, DJ, author, who is 96 today
That’s what I want too. A Language that speaks the truth. This is why I am adamantly opposed to what we are calling Literalism. In my opinion, our political language has become complete obscurantism and what is called “spin”. No question is ever answered directly by any politician, and the answers are usually misleading if not downright lies. Not only is there no actual truth imparted, there is no balanced complexity, which is critical to full understanding.
Our religious “language”, including interpretation of Scripture, has become useless the more it seeks to protect against the inherent ambiguity of Life. People want “clarity”, but confuse that with “the literal truth”. There is no such thing as “the literal truth”. Take the statement, “Jesus was raised from the dead”. Then see how many books have been written as to what that means, including just what the resurrection body of Jesus was “like”, and what ours will be like. Enough to fill the library at Ephesus. Or, as I was asked on the weekend: “Will we meet all those we love in Heaven?” Answer: we don’t really know, and the “answer” is extremely complex. But most people don’t want to live with that. I’m comfortable with it, because the answer is grounded in Divine Compassion. The details are up to me, and I like the various icon(s) I’ve created over the years! Biblical views of Heaven are no more “true” than yours or mine.
To my thinking, the more levels of imagination, dreaming, poetry, and interpretation brought to language, written and spoken, the more beautiful the truth revealed. The Bible, unlike modern political language, is based in Truth. We need to learn how to understand and speak the language properly.