“Truth is stranger than fiction.” In my lifetime Mark Twain’s oft-quoted truth has never been truer. We seem to wake up every day to new proofs that Twain was righter than rain.
Alabama just elected to the Senate … a Democrat. Yes, really.
Almost 1 in 4 Americans still believe the earth is … 10,000 years old, or less, and that humans were created in our present form. Yes, really.
“The King” died 40 years ago, but you’ll never convince some people Elvis has really left the building. Just ask … The Elvis Sighting Society. Yes, really.
The average salary for a professional basketball player is $5.15 million, and the average salary for a starting teacher in North Carolina is … just over $40,000. Yes, really.
Despite the fact that more people have died from gun violence in the last 50 years than have been killed in all wars in American history, white supremacists recently marched on the streets of Charlottesville, Va., openly carrying handguns and rifles — because in that state and many others it’s legal to carry a gun pretty much anywhere. And after 26 people were killed in a little church in Southerland Springs, Texas, a number of interviews have featured pastors who report … “packing heat” while they preach. Yes, really.
The Dow Jones average is almost 25,000 — and our church just packed snack bags for hungry children in the elementary school on the backside of our affluent neighborhood. We distribute … over 100 bags every single weekend to children who would otherwise lack for nutrition while away from their free public school lunches. This story is repeated in hundreds of schools and churches across the nation. Yes, really.
During the 23rd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, representatives of the Trump Administration (headed by an executive from the largest coal company in the world), used their time in Bonn, Germany, to promote … fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Yes, really.
With no history of public service but a lifetime of self-promotion and deception, leading to four bankruptcy claims and a $25 million settlement for defrauding would-be students of a so-called “university,” the man who avoided the draft and once told radio shock-jock Howard Stern that staying free from sexually transmitted diseases was “my Vietnam,” the man who stood at a podium at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University and quoted from “Two Corinthians” without even a hint of guile, this man is … President of the United States. Yes, really.
And after decades of pontificating on the necessity of personal morality as qualification for political service, Donald Trump’s election was made possible only by support from … Evangelical leaders across the nation. Yes, really.
Truth is stranger than fiction. Yes, really. But Twain continued that prescient quotation, “because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”
As I consider all this irony I am reminded of the season and the beauty of the Christian story of Christmas that speaks of the greatest impossibilities of all: that in a world of fear and despair — hope is still real, peace is still possible, and God might actually dare to come among us. Yes, really.
As I read the crazy-and-getting-crazier news day by day, that’s a Truth I need to live by.