Friday, September 16, 2011

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

You're a big, fat liar? I know, I know, you bristled at that comment. You say, "How dare you accuse me of lying (not to mention being fat). I tell the truth!" Really? All the time?

What happens when someone asks you if you liked the song they sang at church when in fact it really wasn't very good at all? "You know Sally, that really stunk." I doubt it. And when someone asks you how you are doing, and you respond by saying, "fine," knowing full well that's not true.

I am just starting an intriguing book called , "Anatomy of a Lie." The author dissects the history and sources of lying and looks at why lying is culturally accepted and even expected. She admits lying when the dog boarding facility asked her, just as she was leaving for a trip, if her dog had his vaccinations up to date. Saying, "no" would have kept her dog from being able to stay there and her from making her flight. So she said, "Yes." No one was harmed, but it got her thinking about how easy it is, at times, to lie.

I just finished an excellent book with a quirky title. "Samson and the Pirate Monks" is aimed at men and why we lie. The author, a former pastor with a porn and alcohol addiction which he hid for years, shares how he finally got relief when he went to a twelve-step group and, for the first time, told the truth. But listen to what he said. "Never, in more than forty years of church attendance, had I experienced the safety, the honesty, the genuine concern and mutual respect that I had seen displayed by this community of recovering drunks."

Wow! Am I willing to admit he's talking to most churches? I am. Churches, though that's exactly what they should be, just aren't the bastion of truth-telling. We often put on personas or masks that hide the real person we are. And as a result we suffer. Our family suffers. Our churches and communities suffer. The world suffers.

But what if we, especially us men, were to get together regularly with one rule: You must tell the truth 100% of the time? (I might call it the Liar's Club) What would happen if we could create a level of trust among us that we would want to dump that dark, ugly garbage we've been dragging around? Would we not get better? Might the truth really set us free? I think it would.

So stay tuned for more of what unfolds in my life and at our church as we start leaning into truth-telling. I believe it will be an awesome experiment. I trust God to show us the way.