Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
My Meeting has a private listserv, and I've always been in contention about it, saying that we should be discussing everything, and if we dared, doing it publicly, taking on all honest commentors, etc.
I post links to articles there that are way too radical for most of our respectable leaders-- because the content is true, significant, and urgent.
Said leaders complain that they "don't have time" to look at the discussion material that comes their way. I accept this as partially true (although I find it takes very little time to stop reading something I already know, or see the flaw in, etc...) and partially Quakerese for "Shut up, you slavering hippie!"
Recently one attender posted an article from National Review, which she honestly considers "well-written" and "enlightening;" and she honestly doesn't see why I described it as misleading.
As a writer, I find the truth too elusive to adequately describe, for me to admire a beautifully assembled lie-- and not a victimless lie, but more like an elegant version of the anti-Mexican hate pieces my low-life friend forwards now & then.
There is no nice way to tell someone, "You have been taken in by a well-crafted propaganda product."
I find myself simply telling her unwelcome truths, and getting nowhere except deeper into the Combat Zone. While I have been known to appreciate a little Joy of Battle occasionally, I mostly find that it keeps me up churning the old mind & the insides, when I'd rather be sleeping. Especially when it's someone I know and basically like.
Now when my low-life friend annoyed me, I could call him on it. (He's still my friend, so I have to agree with my wife that his Good Half is a saint!) I knew he'd had enough Mexicans working for him; if something he forwarded described them as "lazy" I could say, "You know better than that!"
Wait a minute, can't there be honest disagreements? Well, there's this matter of "frames", as people like George Lakoff describe them-- the mental structures that people have available to hang their facts and factoids on. Some people are blessedly inconsistent-- what Lakoff calls "biconceptual" in their political morality, meaning that if you catch them in an authoritarian parent mode they'll talk [political] "conservative" but if you arouse their compassion they can see things differently. And some people, on most public issues, really do live in an imaginary universe, where the way they think things work doesn't match anything in concrete reality. (I leave it as an exercise for the reader: What political persuasion(s) am I referring to here?)
I can make mistakes, misstate things I understand better than I can say them-- or sometimes come out with wonderfully glib, beautiful and illuminating metaphors, but still be misunderstood. I can even be outright wrong! But God is available to straighten me out, should I really want and need to know the truth of something.
So why do I keep telling people the truth as I see it? I mean, I think it's fairly pure and nontoxic truth, generally, but it doesn't necessarily enlighten anyone else. What they need is the best truth they're ready to understand!
I don't know what that "best truth they're ready for" might be. I'm correct to stick to the truth I know. But that always falls short, because it isn't me who needs to win some argument, by my own brilliance, eloquence & silliness. God is available to straighten them out, should they really need and want to know the truth of something.
Early Friends, some of them, were able to convey that to anyone willing to accept it. How? They let God guide them continually, so that a significant part of what they said was "Messages". Which often did get through to "the witness of God" in their hearers, so that they might know the truth for themselves... I understand that God can teach us how.