It is clear to me that a very simple question exposes for us that we really do not live with one truth but with multi-truths. Not to bring the tone of the day down but here is the question:
How many victims were there in the Newtown shooting?
The answer? Depends on who you ask and they are all different and they are all partially correct.
How can that be? This should be a black and white issue. This is not a trick question and I am not trying to make light of this tragedy, but it is clear that the popular understanding is 26 victims. There were 20 children and 6 teachers. Others count the death of the shooters mother (Nancy) so that moves the count to 27. Still others count the death of the shooter (Adam) which makes for 28.
Church bells rang 28 times marking the anniversary, but there are only 26 stars on the Newtown firehouse roof. There are those who argue the semantics of what a "victim" is and if Nancy was really an accessory because of her love of guns. Still others ask if you count a suicide as a victim and others want to make it clear that Adam's death should not be counted (and thus respected) the same way as the elementary children.
All of this is tue. In a world where we want to believe that there is one clear Truth, perhaps the clearest Truth is there is a multi-Truth in the world. Where 26=27=28.
If I can just step back from this emotional issue and ask this question:
If the above question is unclear, then is it possible that there are other question that have multi-Truth even when we want to think there is only one Truth?
My dear Church, a time is coming and is yet upon us that we will have to make decisions about the future of the United Methodist Church. It will be tempting to make declarations that assume there is one Truth on social issues to issues of Biblical authority. So I am asking us all to remember that you don't have to be wrong in order for me to be right and I don't have to be wrong in order for you to be right. The world is not a zero sum game. There are other creative solutions to the problems that face us.
The real question seems to be, not if there is one or multi-Truths, but do we have the prophetic and moral imagination to discern new and perhaps alternate ways forward?