Seeking truth

Daily Reading for February 9

Whether you seek ultimate truth externally (through the propositions of Scriptures you presume to be inerrant) or internally (through the deep spiritual experiences you presume to be universal), whatever you end up with HAS to be a little wrong. The best we can humanly hope to achieve is verisimilitude (a close approximation of the truth). . . .

Our friends in the Jewish tradition have always understood this principle of verisimilitude and long ago developed a way of studying the Scriptures that brought together many points of view to enhance their biblical understanding. This method, called Midrash, assumes that by placing texts against texts and interpretations against interpretations, without assuming that one must be right and the others wrong, we develop broader, deeper, and clearer understanding of the fullness of what God is communicating to us through the Scriptures (but of which none of us fully receive, hear, or comprehend).

It’s time we stopped trying to build the unity of the church on a foundation of what WE BELIEVE, and instead started assuming our unity because of our RELATIONSHIP with the one we believe in—or more importantly because of the one who loves and believes in us. . . . It’s very important what we believe. God is the source of all truth, and we should bend our minds toward understanding that truth and forming our lives around it. But since we now know all of us must be a little wrong (though we don’t know exactly where), we should be seek—and speak—the truth with humility and with a mind that is at least a little open to what truth “the other” might help us to find. Whatever truth we do know—to the extent that we truly comprehend it—we understand only through the grace of God.

From Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them by Ken Howard (Brewster, Mass.: Paraclete Press, 2010).

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