The adults that can advise us on the tough questions I mentioned last time (part I) are ofttimes, a bit hard to find. There are many prognosticators that insist their opinions on life’s big questions are correct and it is not a good idea to be there when they say so. Gator has been in that arrogant position and it has not worked out well. I did not take my own advice because I knew I was right. Point taken. Mistake.
It’s the big questions that generate heat. The small questions about automotive brands and reliability are not hard to turn into gentle laughter and disagreement. The big questions about truth and evidence of it are liable to turn into a stone wall of pat answers and foolish catch phrases. On both sides. We who strongly believe our opinions of life’s purpose are true. Our opinions are based on facts and those who disagree with those facts are immature, foolish and ignorant, right? People like us that feel that way are even more foolish than we believe others to be. There is a moral standard we must not ignore. It’s not a law per-se, but goes much deeper. It is a standard perhaps referred to as ‘given a reasonable doubt’ or perhaps the example of summit talks. You can never convince anyone of anything by anger or name calling. It takes dialogue. I’m not talking about violence or armed combat. I’m talking about listening.
Opinions are like software, it takes time to write out the program and push the ‘save’ button. It’s there on your hard drive then,and re-writing that opinion isn’t easy or even desired. It’s truth felt (a lot of times it IS truth) but the discussion must be done honorably not with sputtering and bluster. Doesn’t work with me, so I know it won’t work for you. Another opinion. I have a lot of them.
I have a friend that is firmly convinced that the earth is flat, the moon landings were studio fakes, the end of our circular earth is guarded by the NSA. You get the idea (unless you believe such things) When we read about something, such as New Zealand, we know it’s there because reputable people show us maps, exploring stories and so forth. We believe that New Zealand is real. I told my friend about my experiences at sea with radar and first seeing antennas and masts before the ship hove into view. Micro waves do not curve. He wasn’t convinced. I was a liar or was seeing an illusion. Truth was not the operative in the conversation. Neither of us could ‘win’ We let it go. It won’t bother me unless he comes to me with another version of truth that isn’t. He’s not my first choice as a navigator at sea.
There is another truth that I hold onto because I have seen it and heard it. It is the presence, and in one case, the voice of the living God. I know He is real and I know He cares for me, saved my life with His voice. Could I convince you that it is true? Maybe. In some cases, words fall short on a story, only the gentle passion for truth along with gentleness and patience will carry the message. Truth has another dimension. Telling the truth is akin to gardening. Seeds are planted. If the planting is true and the seed just and true, the fruit of the truth will blossom within. Cultivation with patience helps. In some cases the large chisel drag or plow is overwhelming to the seed and the soil. A good gardener listens and gives encouragement to both sower and sown. Spoken and written truth follows the same path.
It is not a coincidence that the ‘in the beginning’ story starts with a garden. Our seeds were sown there. A lot of weeds showed up around a tree and we have had to pull weeds ever since. Gardening and fruit To be an adult takes time and care and a lot of help. I am getting better at being an adult. I am learning how to listen and speak less. Perhaps I will be listened to when I tell the truth as it has impacted my life. An evangelist does not have to shout, Just tell the truth as best as they can.
It’s pretty good. Jack Gator