4: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

4: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

Our lives are not small, shallow moments of consumption, consumerism, and entertainment.  The message humming through our modern world would have us believe otherwise; everywhere we turn we see images of people with more than we have, better looks, more money, having more fun, driving better cars, living in better houses.  If you participate in any kind of mass media, television, the web, magazines, radio, then you can hear the meaning of life all over:

More, better stuff and entertainment!

When I start to think about our fourth principle, a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” I cannot help but ponder the purpose of church, the point of being together in community, of entering into a covenant with others in a community of faith.

Its not to be intellectually titillated, or even to be emotionally moved.  We don’t seek beloved community because we need another type of entertainment, “spiritual” entertainment.  We want something else, but what?

I think our fourth principle is about finding our own truth.  We often think there is a “Truth” – some objectified concept that sits out there outside of us.  When we believe we have found this Truth we wield it to bludgeon the experiences of others and hold it up to block from sight anything that does not fit.

Maybe truth is like a verb.  Something we experience, something we live, not something we know.  Maybe that’s what “responsible” means.   Learning to live truth, to experience truth, and to honor the possibility that another experience may bring another truth…to walk freely into the unknown every day with a sacred curiosity, a holy question, instead of a shield of knowledge.

I know that much of our intellectual heritage as a faith would lead us to think that a responsible search means a critical one…but maybe there’s more than that going on here.  Maybe this fourth principle calls us to be open, free to that possibility that meaning, that truth adapts and changes with us.  Reminds us that critical thought is not always the precursor to truth or meaning.

When I think of a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” there are so many ideas that come to mind, so many possibilities, some analytical, scholarly, some more intuitive…

What comes to mind when you reflect on this principle?  How does it speak to you?

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