Talking about Truth in an Election Season


Kinda like having a lightning rod strapped to your head, isn’t it?  This trying to talk about truth right now?  At dinner.  In the office.  In front of a classroom.  Standing at a pulpit.  Who’d have guessed that talking about the Eight Commandment (around for 3,000 years now!) would suddenly be considered a controversial thing?  And yet, I can’t help thinking that in this unusually contentious season when it feels like things are changing every moment, there is age-old wisdom regarding truth to be found in our Catholic tradition.  Wisdom that can offer us clarity, grounding, and—dare I say?—even a sense of peace.

Yes, that surprises me, too.  When I first began working on Let’s Talk about Truth just after the 2016 election, I had a whole bunch of muddled questions in my mind.  Is it even possible to know what is real?  Who’s to say?  What’s the best way to talk with people who don’t just hold different opinions, but what feels like whole different pictures of reality?  A dive into the 13th century writings of Thomas Aquinas and the meaning of the ancient Hebrew word “emet” hardly seemed like the best way to expend one’s energies.  But…. 

Four years later, it’s not like I have all the answers.  Not in the least.  But I’m discovering a framework for thinking through the questions better and having more productive conversations.  I find myself feeling more confident, less angsty, less conflicted.  And, even though talking about our tradition’s tools for “doing truth” has been a little more controversial than talking about the spirituality of administration, it continues to be an energizing and hope-filled experience.  If you could use a jolt of hope around sticky questions related to truth in your own life right now, I’m doing one last pre-election Zoom mini-retreat on Let’s Talk about Truth this coming Saturday, October 17, in collaboration with the Siena Center.  It’s only two hours.  You can show up in your pajamas if you want.  But, come for an intellectually-stimulating conversation that will leave you feeling strangely refreshed!  (Register by Friday morning to get the Zoom link.  Sorry so last minute!)

Can’t come?  Take some time for reflection for yourself before the election: “Truth & the 2020 Election”

A shout out this week to Ave Maria Press.  They’ve taken my amateur attempts at graphic design for 10 Lesson Plans for Talking about Truth and turned them into something beautiful.  You can download them at no charge from their website.  Scroll to the bottom of the page.