Power of Paradox:: A Third Way

July 27, 2017

My wife and I have two wiener dogs. Frank and Beanie. We got them soon after we were married and they've been significant parts of our family. 

They are a real pair of dachs. 

Thus concludes the greatest introduction to a sermon series I have written. All downhill from here, folks. 

A paradox is a statement that while appearing true and reasonable leads to a logically unacceptable conclusion. 

Here's an example that probably does a better job of explaining it than any definition. 

The following sentence is true.
The previous sentence is false. 

You get put on an endless loop of trying to make sense of these two ideas and end up nowhere.

Now, imagine that two large groups of people encountered these two sentences and decided that the problem was that they were linked together. When that happens they both can't be true so two very distinct and antagonistic groups of people were formed.

Team the Next Sentence is True and Team the Previous Sentence is False.

TNNSIT and TTPSIF were their acronyms, which they put on shirts and hats and bumper stickers. Very catchy when you think about it. 

They adopted mottos and mascots. "The Truth is Out There" and a blue whale (nicknamed the true whale) marked one side while "Don't Believe the Lie" and a unicorn marked the other. There were rallies and marches where they simultaneously celebrated how right they were in their belief and how wrong the other side was. 

It would be a lot of energy and devotion centered around a flawed premise. In the end unless you uncovered the absurdity at the root of the statements you'd never find anything true in sitting down and listening to hours of debate from either side. 

In our world there are a number of false premises and paradoxes that are traps we fall into. Jesus was very familiar with these as the religious leaders of his day tried to capture him in them to compromise his ministry.

Do we pay our taxes to the Romans and elevate their right to rule over us, or refuse to pay and incite violence and lawlessness? Do we let people walk away from being caught in acts of relationship destroying behavior or do we put them to death?

Jesus never took the bait and left us with a template to avoid these absurdities, which deal with the most serious issues of our day. 


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