The following article is located at:http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2011/spring/handletruth.html
You CAN Handle the Truth
Great storytellers have a tendency to exaggerate. No one knows this better than Canadian humor writer Phil Callaway. He makes a living weaving the kinds of stories that stretch the fabric of factuality. He recently accepted the challenge to live for a year without telling a lie or fudging the truth, a journey he chronicles in his new book, To Be Perfectly Honest (Multnomah, 2011). Leadership Journal's Brandon O'Brien asked Callaway what pastors might need to know about his experiment.
You say that you learned the fine art of fudging in church. How so?
Someone said that a lie is an abomination to the Lord—and an ever-present help in times of trouble. I memorized the latter half of that refrain, and I take full responsibility for it. I grew up around great people, but much of my church experience was about rules. About the outward. Dress. Speech. If you questioned, the answer wasn't the problem, you were. So I learned to talk right, to look right, but never to shoot straight.
Part of the danger of legalism is that we unwittingly reward the clones and punish those who honestly seek God. So I learned to fake faith. Saturday night the kids got liquored up, Sunday morning they got lacquered up. We showed up pretty well-varnished.
Why do you think Christians find it so hard to tell the truth?
Because church is too often about getting by, looking right, and fitting in. I'm not encouraging the opposite, where we air all our dirty laundry; but I don't think most of our churches are places you'd want to be caught being entirely truthful.
What kinds of truth did you find the hardest to tell during your challenge?
I've always avoided confrontation. I golfed with a man for years whose marriage was falling apart and I didn't once summon the nerve to say, "Hey, what's happening?" Some of us are terrified of offending others, but I don't know one single leader who can't point to someone who offended them with the truth about themselves. It can be transforming.
Has trying to tell the truth made you appreciate hearing the truth?
Absolutely. I'm pretty impressed when a pastor is honest enough to admit weakness. We were in two churches recently. The first was pastored by a dear man whose wife has struggled with Multiple Sclerosis for a decade. The couple who took us out for lunch was quite proud of the fact that he had not once mentioned it from the pulpit.
Why? I thought. He could have helped so many others who are sitting in the pew wondering how they'll face another week. Tell them what's helping you through. The next week we listened to a pastor confess that he had failed in his vision for his church. He said he'd been chasing all the wrong things, tickling itching ears, and it was going to change now. He was going to speak the truth of God's Word into their lives with lots of love. The response from the congregation has been tremendous.
Is there a wrong way to tell the truth?
I really annoyed my wife for two months while writing this book, until I came up with and started ...