Happy New Christian year! Advent is an ancient word for waiting. It has four themes that reflectively prepares us to celebrate for the birth of Jesus and our expectation of his coming again. The theme for today is Hope.
Hope is dependent upon the hearing of the truth. In our society, there are two forms of truth. There is verifiable truth and faux truth. If we base our hope in"faux truth", our hopes will be dashed and our spirits broken. It is always prudent to base our faith and our hope in a truth which has an an ability to be critiqued and be independently verifiable not faux truth. Sadly, this is not as clear as it may seem at first sight. Faux truth is pervasive within the church and society as a whole as shocking as it may seem.
The "the age of enlightenment", was a name given to the rise of not only the scientific revolution but also the rise of critical analysis of truth based in thinking analytically in the period from 1650-1750. It affected the physical sciences, the arts and a philosophical outlook on life. It allowed anything to analyzed, including the fundamentals of religion. and is captured in the phrase 'Sapere aude'-dare to know. It traumatized the church who in a 'panic response’ falsely claimed that the scripture was literally true! Up until this time the church understood the scripture as being metaphorical-stories standing for a deeper and greater truth. This claim of literal truth was a first example of "Fake News". Biblical Literalness closed off this biblical spiritual pathway of knowing. This claim had the scripture saying things and being understood to stand for things that never were and blinding faithful people to the real truth that the scripture points to God being love that resides in us all and all people in the world, including our enemies. It also opened Christians to accept "Fake News" as being real and true. The Bible became abused as a source of scientific knowledge -an authority that at its original writing was never claimed! A prime example being that God only cares about Christians and that the earth must be destroyed before Jesus returns. Sadly, today, some Christians actually believe this to be true and see the predictions of planetary destruction through Climate Change as an affirmation of the truth of the 'fake news' message bound into the literal understanding of the Bible. They hope for the planets destruction! It also adds to our inertia in actively making changes in our daily lives as a society.
We are called as Progressive Christians in our 'hope" to proclaim and know the verifiable truth that human action is killing the planet. Miraculously, we are aware of this and have real solutions to the problem but we only have 10 years to act to mitigate the impact of Climate Change. In this Advent season of waiting and hope, I invite us to base our action in verifiable truth and not be lulled to inaction. Our hope includes the truth that God loves us and that love within us calls us to act with courage and urgency to be part of the solution along with others on the planet in coalition with them. This is God's call as we enter the new Christian New Year.