Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Message from Elizabeth De Arcos, High School Teacher

“Save me, I’m lost/Oh lord, I’ve been waiting for you/ I’ll pay any cost/Save me from being confused/Show me what I’m looking for/Show me what I’m looking for/Oh lord”

Carolina Liar, “Show Me What I’m Looking For”

Everywhere I turn lately, I am bombarded with the idea of truth. It’s been a theme in everything I am reading for grad school; I keep hearing it in music, or I hear our students trying to make sense of the world through the eyes of the Jersey Shore cast or Lady Gaga. Everyone is looking for something, and even though we try to give that something different names, what it boils down to is we are all searching for truth.

Truth is a tricky concept. We live in a society where we are constantly asked to evaluate truth. Everyone has his or her own idea of truth, and society as a whole accepts a “find truth for yourself” policy. It’s an appealing idea. Who wouldn’t want to make up truths for themselves? Our sin nature craves it. If we make up our own truths, we can justify anything. And the world wants us to do so. But the world doesn’t tell us of the consequences. Consider what Anderson has to say:

“In the beginning when the world was young there were a great many thoughts but no such thing as a truth. Man made the truths himself and each truth was a composite of a great many vague thoughts. All about in the world were the truths and they were all beautiful…There was the truth of virginity and the truth of passion, the truth of wealth and of poverty, of thrift and of profligacy, of carelessness and abandon. Hundreds and hundreds were the truths and they were all beautiful. And then the people came along. Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them. It was the truths that made the people grotesques…the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.”

Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio

Now, this comes from fiction, so let’s not focus on the part that says man made truths. The intriguing idea that I took away from this passage was how man made truth grotesque because he took it for himself. He made it his own. He twisted it to fit his purpose or justify his cause. Winesburg, Ohio is a collection of short stories about different citizens in one town and essentially focuses on their struggles to find truth. Some find it through God, while others flounder and ultimately fail because they choose to live by nothing but the truth they create for themselves. And though this is not considered Christian literature, and I can find no information on Anderson’s salvation, he illustrates a good point: when we look for truth in any other place than in Christ, we fail.


  1. Thank you Elizabeth. I really like the abrupt ending, the word fail really does describe any efforts outside of Jesus.

  2. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth. Psalm 31:5


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