Our liturgical theme for January 2020 is “Integrity“
Over the course of the year, in the words and music of Sunday services, in small groups and discussion circles, in classes for adults, children and youth, and in personal reflection and practice, our life together is anchored in a series of spiritual themes – one each month through the cycle of the year.
It is often hard to determine what is true. In our world of almost too much information, siphoning through it all to figure out what is really going on is often difficult. That is especially true when we know that some of our sources of information lack integrity, lack soundness. Over the holidays, I visited the Newseum in Washington. It is a museum dedicated to the history of journalism of all forms. On the outside of the building they post the daily headlines from papers all over the country and the world. On the inside, a visitor can explore how media of all sorts has helped shape perceptions of what is going on. There were displays that showed how journalism contributed to the Civil Rights Movement, LGBTQ rights and a host of other issues through time. There was an entire display dedicated to the life and work of Edward R. Murrow. He was known for his impeccable strength of character and integrity. Other journalists, during his time, said the presentation, would often ask, “What would Ed do?” as a way of measuring the integrity of a story or whether it should even be written or broadcast. I am not sure we have such a person anymore, someone who, regardless of partisan politics, we know we can trust.
So, we need a personal and perhaps communal yardstick of values against which we measure our information. Fortunately, we have our principles and we have community to which we are at least, partially, accountable. We have each other. We can talk. We can explore the meaning of our values. We can fact check together. We can ask ourselves whether something is true, not just in the literal sense, but in the sense that it holds together, it provides a structure upon which we can base our decisions.
In our personal lives, do we also have this yardstick. Before we do anything, it is important that we THINK it through.
T is it true?
H is it helpful?
I is it inspiring?
N is it necessary?
K is it kind?
I know that this is not the only criteria that we can use, but it is a start.
Rev. Aileen Fitzke