The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

I chuckled. I fell for it. I read the tweet ‘There are two rules in life: 1) Never give out all the information’ …

Yes, I looked for 2).

Now I wasn’t looking for advice about life! (But I do have the view that listening, reading, taking in the words of others – even if I disagree with them – is something from which I can learn – which may be a re-enforcing of my views but you simply never really know what the next word might be.) The context of a tweet is not an overly deep and meaningful discourse and the algorithm had put someone I didn’t know on the screen so I was expecting either a pithy truth or (more likely) humour. And I did chuckle – but maybe both were involved.

When might we not want to give out all the information? I can imagine scenarios of business, government, politics, medicine, personal relationships and both where the intention was selfish, profiteering, or professional where the intention was the good of others – whether the person in front of you or an entire country. Like lightning, my neurons ‘flashed’ – GDPR – all the general data protection regulations today, gossip, private absolution, the bombing of Coventry, and there I stopped. I realised that I knew an account of the bombing – that Churchill ‘sacrificed Coventry for the greater good’ so as not to reveal that Britain had cracked the Enigma codes – but was that all the information? I can be obsessive, I suppose, about not knowingly saying things that aren’t true – and so I did a quick check and learnt that the current historical opinion is that Churchill expected the bombing in London and only learnt from non-Enigma sources, a few hours before, that bombers were headed to the Midlands (and probably Coventry) and that there was no specific way to help with defences or evacuations. I suppose we’ll need more information before an agreed version of history emerges!

And I find that idea – that what I know now may not be the full story – fascinating which means I may have to review the things I thought I knew in my past as further things come to light. Hence fake news, half truths, and uncritical thinking has done a lot of damage today – as people insist they are right.

On what can we stand about information, truth, and what is right? Lots of thing! But critically, for me, is the account of a cross and empty tomb and in the length of human history and the complexity and volume of today’s news, this story – and this man – Jesus – stands to give us all the information we need that there is more to existence than what we can see, hear, and experience; that there is a God; and that this God is not to be feared because he wants us to live – well with others and fully with him – and I can say this because this Jesus is alive with his people still today. People relate to Jesus through faith – we still live, breathe, eat, drink, behave, think, learn, grow as ourselves – but disciples do so with the confidence of God’s love and mercy and that Jesus is with us always. And that information is all that we need on which to build our life – and live. For the rest of life, ok, we may not have all the information but we can always learn – and have a chuckle along the way.