Who gets to say how things really are? This is an important question, particularly in a world of spin rooms, fake news, and alternative facts. There is no shortage of people who claim that they can truly see, who want to wake us up to how things really are. Which voices are trustworthy? What is real? And what is just smoke and mirrors, spin, malarkey, hokum, hogwash, baloney, bull hockey?
We feel these questions not just in the public sphere, but in ordinary life. In any given week, we are pushed and pulled by conflicting feelings: joy but also pain; connection but also loneliness; hope but also despair. The world’s beauty and brokenness exert an equal pull: good is so good that we think that evil could be explained; but evil is so evil that we think that good must be an accident. But which one is the deeper reality, how things really are?
We come to church. We sing these songs, we pray these prayers, we listen to this sermon. Do these things testify to reality itself, cutting through the fog of our distraction with a moment of clarity? Or are these the distractions, noble lies to help us escape the desert of how things really are?