The feed just keeps getting more and more weird.

One minute we witness Rachel Maddow, unable to control her tears, in what seems like a genuinely felt lamentation about Trump’s 2018 “tender age shelters” for children of illegal immigrants, and the next minute Jeffrey Marsh is playing a gross fake-girl as he celebrates the idea that J.K. Rowling could lose her Harry Potter royalty rights for insisting there are only two genders.  A few days ago, former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, plays the part of a panicked G-man, worrying on behalf of other panicked G-men, that Trump will arrest them all if he’s elected.

There is, of course, equal passion on the other side of things.  Citizen journalists report daily from the southern border, with video proof, that illegal immigrants are streaming in unrestrained, committing violent crime along the way. Angry parents at board of education meetings are prevented from reading the gay porn library material that some school boards believe is not appropriate for a public hearing, but perfectly fine for your 12 year old son.  In a mirror image of Andrew McCabe’s fever-dream, members of Donald Trump’s administration are reporting, or have reported, to prison.  (They don’t have to fear arrest; they actually are being arrested.)

There’s a dizzy, disorienting truth at the center of human existence: people decode a shared moral universe in violently different ways.  The perception of reality can be so extremely different, two truth-seekers with opposite conclusions begin to see each other as self-serving liars, hypocrites, and even dangerous threats.  The crazed looking man walking towards you, holding a gun, really is a threat, or he is not, but when your next door neighbor seems to think the fellow is Santa Claus, it can all feel something like a bad case of motion sickness.  It shouldn’t be any wonder that old men, pondering the end of their lives, sometimes conclude, “I’ve seen enough.”  The whole thing is downright fatiguing.

Having read the New Testament several times, very slowly, I’m grateful for a truth that is so stark, so brutal, but also so clarifying, that many believers pass through it very quickly, unwilling to wrestle with its consequences.  When Jesus confronts Pharisees who reject His teaching, Jesus doesn’t take a breath and try a different approach.  He doesn’t set the message to more contemporary music.  He doesn’t lighten the mood by telling a funny story.  He doesn’t “whisper” difficult truths and shout easy ones.  He doesn’t even attempt to reason with them.  He charges them with a horrifying truth.

Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

He calls them children of the devil.  When His disciples were worried that the Pharisees were offended by his teaching, He tells them not to fret, because the Pharisees are spiritual weeds.

He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

Pretty final, indeed, but very clarifying.  There really are two sorts of people, children of the woman and children of the snake.

With respect to this dizzy carousel of opposites on which we ride — existence itself — consider a first century version of Twitter.  The feed would be full of contradicting takes.  Two different people would see a blind man given his sight.  One would conclude it was a miracle; another would call it demonic deception.  An entire crowd would watch Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead.  Some would believe in Jesus.  Others would go off and plot with the Pharisees; they would actually see this marvelous victory over death not as a blessing, but as a threat.

We are not, in other words, actually witnessing two different realities.  There is one reality, one God, one truth, but we have been given different eyes.

The good news is that you don’t have to remain blind.  You can pray for a new set of eyes, and if the Lord High God of the universe grants that prayer, you don’t have to go to a spiritual fat farm for therapy and workouts.  It’s just instantaneous.  You’re brand new.  You might be a spiritual baby, even a bit of a brat at first, but everything will begin looking different to you.  Abortion will no longer be “choice,” but murder.  Sexual degeneracy won’t be embraced, but pitied.  Theft and deceit and failing to honor parents will begin to look downright despicable.   Covetous bickering will begin to look like covetous bickering. The beautiful, the heroic, the wholesome, and the pure will bring tears to your eyes.  You’ll see God in His infinite creation, and simple things like snow on the mountaintops or a robin’s nest or a maple turning crimson might make you weep.

It doesn’t render the world painless, and it certainly doesn’t free you from evil men believing they are serving truth..

..Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.

..but it does serve up cold, refreshing clarity, like ice water on a dizzy hot day, and it helps you decode the weird feed.

Free yourself, in other words, to call that which is good good and that which is evil evil.  Free yourself to at least know this: we disagree, in this life, because one side suppresses the truth and the other embraces it.