Today’s text is from Exodus 23:1
Don’t spread false rumors. Don’t plot with evil people to act as a lying witness.
“Fake news” is in the news a lot right now. Its power has changed our culture. I took the above photo in line at the grocery store last week, and I realized that these tabloids are now exemplary for what passes for “news” for about half of the population.
Lots of people see this through a cynical lens. “You can’t trust anyone,” they say. “There’s no such thing as truth—only spin.”
But this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the word “truth.” It evades responsibility for our own critical reading and thinking, because it’s simply “too hard.” And while I’m skeptical of our ability to completely grasp truth or discern God’s perspective on reality, what we can affirm is this:
Some claims are lies. And some claims are more true than others.
The gospel is “Good News,” and in order for it to be good it must have some claim on the truth. It offers a counter-narrative to the dominant one(s). The Good News gives us reason to resist the powers that be, to affirm the existence of truth in a world that tells us such resistance or affirmation is futile.
For us, truth is not merely about a set of facts we agree or disagree on. It’s about a relationship with the Ground of Being, an orientation to the Source. The Truth, the Way, and the Life calls us away from cynicism to pursue certain objective goods. “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and God’s righteousness.”
Good News is always the enemy of fake news. And fake news is always the enemy of the Good News.
Each Tuesday and Thursday I do a short reflection on a Bible verse from a devotional and social justice perspective. You can sign up to get a prompt via SMS here:
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