Monday, June 8, 2009


We're fighting swarms of ants at home. They've invaded the bathrooms, the kitchen, just about everywhere. The problem is so bad that I feel as if ants are crawling on my legs and feet, even when they aren't.

Yes, I know it sounds creepy, perhaps even a little paranoid.

I've called the exterminator to come and treat our rooms a second time. He told me today that our infestation is so severe that he might have to treat our house several times, at no extra charge.

The first time the exterminator visited, he put out little dollops of clear jell, which apparently tastes sweet to our particular ant invaders. They must be able to smell it.

The ants race out from the walls and floorboards and scoop up the food, like hungry diners at an all-you-can-eat buffet. They then transport the food--this is carry-out--to their colonies, where they share it; eventually, they all die.

(I'm sorry I'm not more ant-friendly, but see how you like it when they crawl out of the bristles of your tooth brush in the morning.)

As I watched the ants feasting one day on the poison, I thought about how some people are like ants. They taste the sweetness of a new theological concept or insight or learn about the discovery of another lost gospel from the early church and swallow it down.

But rather than being the food of truth, that concept, insight, or discovery is the poison of falsehood.

Historically, the church has been concerned about discerning the truth, preferring that which comports with the revelation of God to Israel and fully in Jesus and in His church to that which does not, that which is false.

In the early church of the first five centuries, for instance, Christians fought, sometimes literally, about the nature of Jesus being fully God and fully human; and eventually, the church at the Council of Nicea formulated the Nicene Creed, which articulates the biblical truth about God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I've learned to be careful about what I'm eating, especially if it happens to be sweet. And I've learned to be especially careful about what I'm taking in as truth.

Some authority or expert might say, "This is the truth," but I, a believing skeptic at heart, will test that truth claim against the classic Anglican measure of Holy Scripture, Reason, and Tradition (which includes the Apostles and Nicene Creeds).

If a particular truth claim passes the test, then I'll take a big bite of it, confident that it will give me life in Christ, not diminish or take away my life in Him.

And I'll keep trying to get rid of the ants in my house.

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