“Christ likes us to prefer truth to him because, before being Christ, he is truth. If one turns aside from him to go toward the truth, one will not go far before falling into his arms.” — Simone Weil
Sam Scoville is my Facebook friend of some years. We share similar upbringing, similar make-up. We've shared some startling conversations about life's real and painful things. Sam is a walking confessional and a skilled trickster. Moreover, he's a practiced truth-teller.
At Warren Wilson College, Sam's job is to jump-start the thinking of first-year students and to introduce them to their brains. It's a job that requires some initial demolition. His class is like a surprise Pamplona. Students come to shop for trinkets— koans of thinking to display in their heirloom cases— and then Sam springs the bulls. There is a lot breakage.
Sam gets to the elemental things and supplies the objectivity to sort through the litter left on the ground. Questioning words, meanings and mythologies help challenge fragile concepts of identity, authority, love and other souvenirs of off-the-shelf culture. It's unsettling for a first-timer. They're confused and complain. But getting run out of the garden shops and into the street is necessary. Does that seem harsh?
Did you ever notice that Adam is banished using the same word Mark's gospel chases Jesus into the wilderness with? The word is driven . And the Spirit of Truth is doing the driving.
Truth's harshness is a judgment we might make before the fact. Its benefits may occur to us in retrospect. But truth is its own justification and exists above our ability to imagine it, much less articulate it. As such it is pure adventure, treacherous and compelling. It is a wild and scenic river we go with as it drives us—to see, think and respond with clarity.
Everything else we'd load our lives with is baggage. Four gospels invoke the great commission of the Christ to “go.” We don't desire it. But the once-spoken logos is gone and still going, so the Spirit of Truth breaks in and drives us to follow. No bag. No purse. No sandals.