In a release dated 26 June 2008 the Interfax Religious News Agency reported that the Russian Orthodox bishop’s council was opposed to clergy discussing inner church problems on the Internet. The release, Bishops’ Council against Internet discussion of inner church problems, claims the open discussion of inner church problems “not only contradicts moral setup and Church canons but should be considered unacceptable and subjected to condemnation.” The Council did not condemn all discussion of church problems but questions those discussions taking place in the open forum of the Internet where anyone can read about them and where comments can be made anonymously. It noted that in fact there was a “lack of lively communication in the Church,” but then suggested the discussions should take place in diocesan meetings where people are gathered face to face. And of course it is precisely in such small and personal settings where the discussion can be closely monitored and controlled by those in power.
In the Internet/Information age, the Church can no longer control the truth, but it can tell the truth. And as long as that is the only thing the Church is telling, then there is no need to try to control it.
Unfortunately, though Jesus said we were to be in the world but not of the world, the Church has often entangled itself in worldly issues and lost sight of the fact that its only message is the Gospel of truth – it is not power, it is not control, it is not fund raising, it is not domination over others, nor taking anything from others.
I’ll repeat a quote from my blog Your Brain Can Give You a Headache:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” (Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s Minister for Propaganda )
Church leadership would do well to remember in dealing with dissent or with opinions not of the “party line,” that in vying to maintain their positions of authority they often do not appear to those under their authority to be any different than Goebbels even if their intentions are to protect the Church from negative press.
Think about the humility of Christ – the only time in His life that anyone ever told Him to come down from His higher position was when He was hanging on the cross. Otherwise in extreme humility he considered others greater than Himself. See Philippians 2:5-11.
See also my The Gospel According to John Wayne
One thought on “We Cannot Control the Truth but We Can Tell the Truth”
Funny thing….It appears that “truth” and “control” have a tough time lingering in the same room. (Goebbels, of course, got it right.) As a convert from Roman Catholicism, I have seen first hand what can happen when religious authority tries to “shield” the faithful from the truth in an attempt to protect them from scandal……the scandal gets BIGGER. Why is confession so difficult? Because I have to give up control and become vulnerable. It’s the only way that God can come in. I suppose this means as the Body of Christ we must give up control, become vulnerable, and tell the truth. Then God can come in. We don’t need to be afraid. It will be OK. Like we say, the angels will rejoice.