Wednesday, September 29, 2004
The Postern Gate for Truth
It needs to be strong. Life throws a lot of garbage: insults, insensitivity, active attempts at corruption.
Walls are expensive to maintain, and they're impervious. How do you learn anything new when you're inside there? Some people never do change; they go through life on a ballistic track, propelled by their childhood and then coasting until the final landing.
I could have been like that, but there is a weakness in my wall. I have a postern gate that only allows certain things in. I don't know how this happened; if I had to guess I'd say that God guided the construction of my walls around this gate for truth.
I simply can't resist truth. Our culture doesn't believe in truth; everything is relative, everything is good. Truth starts with the basics, such as not jumping from the tops of high places, and continues into more subtle things like don't spend time with people who drag me down to their level. It takes work to identify truth. You have to test it, use it, modify it, and each day begin anew because today's problems require something more than yesterday's answers.
The key point is that truth exists. God is truth, and the Holy Spirit helps us to see and identify truth and separate it false information.
Down near the base of my wall, hidden in the shrubbery and entered by a circuitous path, is that little gate. Anything that bounces off of the wall usually goes away. If it hangs around, sometimes it finds this gate and wanders in, where it is subject to various tests. Does the new information fit with old? If not, can I extrapolate from old to arrive somewhere in the vicinity of the new? If not that, is the new at least feasible?
How rigorous the testing is depends on how essential this piece of information is. If it's just about a new sunscreen, the testing is easy and cheap. Buy some and try it. If it works under my conditions--all day on the beach, crawling around in the sand--then it becomes a sort of truth. More important things, such as anything that purports to put meaning into my life, gets much more rigorous testing.
This is mostly an intellectual process, but there is an emotional component. A problem can't be considered solved unless all of the problem is solved and there is an emotional component to life. There's a particular feel to truth, and this is one of the characteristics I use on anything that works its way through that little gate.
I needed something, but I didn't really know what. I visited Mosaic and they suggested that what I needed was God Himself. This idea immediately showed up at the postern gate.
God? I was through with all of that. Religion is an opinion. Believe what you will, but that won't change the fact that we're all alone here. Solve the problem myself, or it doesn't get solved. There is no help. And yet, here I was in a room full of people celebrating knowing a God who was not only real, but interested in helping them. I had to reconsider a lot of old decisions. God's truth was knocking at the gate. I let it in. I let Him in.
Why? I used the usual tests. What are the results of this action? Can I predict anything based on what I've learned? What do other people who use the same information look like? Results are largely unpredictable, but anything had to be better than what I had, and God made some promises. Prediction was more difficult, but I used as examples the people I worked with in Mosaic. Other people who used this concept were very attractive. Going places. Interested in life. Excited. Lively.
I let Him in. Again. This time I didn't slam the door immediately. I kept it open and God brought in other new concepts. It was a busy time, doing truth analysis on all these things. Most importantly I learned that God is not an opinion. He is a person, powerful, and interested in what we're doing.
But He really doesn't like walls. He got in through that postern gate, but one of the first things He did was widen it. With more freedom to communicate, I discovered that He was dissolving the walls from the inside out... and rebuilding the person inside.
Truth is worth respecting. It's dangerous, but life-giving.