Hearing The Voice of Truth (Jn 3:3)

voice-of-truthIn little over a month, my new book will be published. These next few blog posts are written to prepare you for what I am going to be sharing in my book. The book is called In Search of Jesus the Anarchist.

The title of the book is not a tease; the book is exploratory and contextual theology. In these uncertain days, marked by extreme polarization, my book proposes a new way forward, especially for disaffected Christians.

Nevertheless, what I am proposing in my book is, I believe, the truth about Jesus. With all the voices in our world, propaganda, fake news, cults, and gurus, how can we discern the voice of truth? Casting Crowns had a song a while back called The Voice of Truth. In this song, like so much of Evangelical worship music, the lyrics express a very individualistic form of faith. To Casting Crowns, the voices of “the world” are the ones that tell us lies about ourselves (negative voices), but the voice of God tells us the truth about God’s love for us (positive voices). It is a good song, after we account for its overly individualistic bias:

“But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.”

Now, if the voice of truth or voice of God speaks to us individually about our personal relationship with God, would it not also be sharing the reality of the plight of the poor, the oppressed, of all the injustices that God expects us to confront as God’s Beloved people? Would not the voice of truth break through our conformist attitudes toward the societal systems of domination and evil? Is not the Bible story also a very communal story, which is concerned with the grave injustices committed against the poor and oppressed? Yet, our Western faith practices and systems reinforce a Western individualism which is nowhere to be found in the Bible. In many ways, Western Christian forms do not proclaim the voice of truth.

Murray Bowen, of Bowen Family Systems theory, made the astute observation that emotional health was dependent on the level of differentiation or the degree to which a person can think and act for himself or herself despite the ever present voice of his or her family and societal groups. Thus, undifferentiated thinking occurs when one cannot hear other voices, because the voices of dominant family members and the societal groups to which they belong potentially drown out the voice of truth. This is why children tend to stay in the same religion or political parties as their parents. Undifferentiated thinking is why most people stay trapped in what James Fowler calls mythic/literal or conventional belief systems of faith. In essence, surprisingly, it is often people of faith, believers in God, who cannot hear the voice of truth.

Now, what if to be born-again meant to be able to break free of the negative and erroneous “group think” or undifferentiated thinking about God and life we inherited from our parents and or societal domination systems? Isn’t this what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus. “Because you are trapped in your Pharisaical group think, you cannot even see the beauty of the kingdom of God. You must be converted; you must be born-again, again!” (Jn 3:10 & 3:3).

When you hear people talking about politics or religion and you think their beliefs are crazy or stupid, or you feel yourself getting angry because of the different ways others think, feel, or act, ask yourself these questions: “Could I learn something here? Why I am reacting so negatively to this voice? Could it be the voice of truth, the voice of God?”

I will close with this for now. If the voices we are listening to or agreeing with are xenophobic, isolationist, imperialist, homophobic, racist, patriarchal, classist, etc., we are not hearing the voice of God—the voice of truth. Because the voice of truth will tell you a different story. The voice of truth says do not be afraid to rise up against the domination systems of evil, even if they are your own.

© Paul Dordal, 2017

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4 thoughts on “Hearing The Voice of Truth (Jn 3:3)

  1. Emma February 18, 2017 / 3:52 pm

    Another great piece Paul! Couldn’t agree more with the anarchist heart of Jesus’ message. Don’t know if you’re familiar with her work, but that was Emma Goldman’s take on “the Nazarene” as well. Looking forward to reading the book when it comes out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul Dordal February 18, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    Hi Emma! Thanks for your encouragement. Yes, I am familiar with Mother Emma. I gather she is the inspiration for your blog. She is an inspiration to me too and, even though an atheist, she had a great appreciation of the agitator from Nazareth!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Matthew Perri April 9, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    Can you hear the voice of Jesus?

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

    Like

  4. Matthew Perri June 20, 2017 / 10:33 am

    Hear the voice of Jesus in this poem !

    Jesus “The Good Shepherd” is my Pastor

    Jesus is The Way to God
    The real Jesus of the real Apostles
    But false teachers come and pervert God’s Word
    With twists and turns and jostles

    “My sheep listen to my voice”
    Jesus said for us all to hear
    “I know them, and they follow me”
    He doesn’t run when a wolf appears

    He “calls his own sheep by name”
    It’s not the witchcraft of a distant stranger
    Not just repeating the magic words
    And then thinking you are out of danger

    Our Father in Heaven wants to talk to you
    He can hear you loud and clear
    And He sent His Son Jesus to inhabit the earth
    So that all who want God can draw near

    Real prayer is a conversation
    At least that’s what God wants it to be
    We talk in the garden in the cool of the day
    When we are part of His family

    Only Jesus never disobeyed God
    He’s the only immaculate conception
    The Holy Spirit comes in His Name
    Don’t listen to the voice of deception

    If a false apostle preaches
    I became your father, imitate me
    He doesn’t speak the words of God
    It’s just Boss Paul the Pharisee

    And if a heretic now claims to be
    The Church’s universal pastor
    His words should be ignored
    They lead to nothing but disaster

    Jesus did not just teach The Way
    He IS The Way, my friend
    Repeating the mantra of Marypaulhammad
    Is nothing but a dead end

    Bibliography – all “quotes” in “quotation marks” are the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John chapter 10

    Like

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