Sometimes I call my sister just to ask her if what I’m thinking makes sense.
I’m scared that someday I will fall so deeply into my own echo chamber that I will no longer recognize truth. We both are. Somebody we love has already fallen and it is painful.
Our struggle is that this person is fully and completely devoted to God. She tells us that her beliefs are grounded in prayer and a commitment to God’s kingdom. But, so are mine, and we vehemently disagree on a number of things. So, who is right?
As usual, I have no answers, but I have a thought.
It is in our human nature to accept beliefs that support our own and discard beliefs that are in contention. There is even a name for it: motivated reasoning. Motivated reasoning makes sense to me. We want to be right and we want to be with people who agree that we are right. It is safer there. We know what to expect and where we fit in that world.
But Jesus didn’t come to this earth to encourage us to huddle together in safe groupings. Jesus came to expand our community, welcoming all people into God’s love.
When the magi told Herod about the birth of the Messiah, Herod called in his chief priests and scribes (Matthew 2:1-4), but you’ll notice that those priests did not rejoice at the news. None of them joined the magi in search of the newborn king. We can guess that they looked at the magi with disdain, viewing these people as outsiders, unable to be God’s truth-bearers.
The priests were holy people, but because they were unwilling to trust the stranger, they missed meeting their saviour.
Over the past week, I have seen evidence of holy people in full support of the attack on the US Capitol and it has made me doubt myself. But then I wondered if these people are like Herod’s priests, unwilling to accept that God’s truth be revealed in a way outside of their control.
So I called my sister and I prayed.
And then I realized that this is not as complicated as it seems. God is love, of that I am sure. God’s truth is reinforced through all of God’s creation, giving us infinite ways to find him, of that I am sure. That path towards love is the light that guides us.
What this means is that there is no one voice who can claim to be God. God is here with us, with all of us, aching to burst into the world and share love with everyone. Even Jesus was hesitant to make his divinity known, and so we should be wary when individual leaders tell us they have a hold on God’s truth.
I am still a little fearful of falling into that echo chamber, but I also feel assured that if I keep grounding myself in scripture and prayer and I keep listening to God’s voice through others, I have a good chance of keeping God’s infinite love as my focus.
I am also realizing that I need to be better at trusting myself and believing that I can be a part of the solution our country needs right now. We’ve got some systems to dismantle so that all of God’s people feel safe and loved in our country and I, for one, am determined to help.