Well, the man told me to write about hypocrisy. It seemed important to him as he repeated the idea throughout our conversation today. I had mentioned how I like to write, and my interests in theology. We didn’t have a chance for a very deep conversation, and consequently, I do not have a great understanding of his worldview. He seemed honest though, someone hurt and disillusioned, someone who had lost his own faith due to another’s hypocrisy.
And that is perhaps where I would like to start, faith, or the principles upon which a person build’s his understanding of the world. That which can be shaken will be shaken, and what then remains? It may sound callous of me, but a faith which can be destroyed should be destroyed. Hypocrisy is a devilish infestation, one which has undoubtedly destroyed many faiths, but what level of faith is that which can so be destroyed? Is it not pathetic? If my faith is in anything that can fail, then my faith will fail. There is one unfaltering point upon which faith may be placed securely, and that is God himself, not His church, or a congregation, or even one of His own ministers.
With that pig-trail out of the way, there is a meme regarding hypocrisy which I find grating, though many I hold in respect profess it: to have standards is to be a hypocrite. I think this a fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of hypocrisy. The logic of the meme is that to have standards means, inevitably, to fail, means to profess one ideal but live out another. This assumes, in my opinion, that to call a person a hypocrite is the same thing as saying that that person failed to live up to his own standards. As a counter definition, to be a hypocrite, at least as I have always thought of the word, means to have two sets of weights, means to judge yourself by a different judgment than others, means that the standards you demand of others you do not demand of yourself.
Well, the man told me to write about hypocrisy, and those are the two directions my mind went upon the subject. He also had a strange phrase he used, one which I think highlighted a certain problem present in our culture, babble, that is, that the world is divided by language, and though the two of us were speaking English, I fear neither one of us were able to communicate to the other. Toward the end of our conversation, he happened upon this phrase which, by the intonation and expression, I understood to have a deep significance for him, “I’m not going to build the church.” I tried to ask him what he meant by this, but I have yet to understand.