After letting my blog lapse for a few years while I was finishing my Doctor of Ministry at Candler School of Theology (a program I highly recommend for seminary trained clergy who are through their denomination’s ordination process and ready to take on a new challenge), I let my hold on the blog title’s dotcom, The Truth As Best I Know It, lapse. It got bought up by someone else, so I had to pick a new name. So why did I pick Matthew 11.19?
The first reason is that my name is Matthew (I go by Matt), and November 19 is my birthday. I was born on the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and the day Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific Ocean, so the title acknowledges a beginning point of my own journey.
It also references a passage I really love in the gospel of Matthew, specifically Matthew 11:18-19. Referencing the religious establishment’s pretty poor record in getting on board with what God was doing outside the bounds of the establishment, Jesus says, “for John (the Baptist) came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a drunkard and a glutton, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” (NRSV)
As a person holding a position of power within organized religion, I am painfully aware that Jesus’ harshest words are reserved for people like me who think they’ve got it all figured out, and so have a hard time seeing when God is up to something beyond the box we’ve tried to cram God into. I think Jesus is also pointing out our very human tendency to criticize, but never really offer anything better. That’s probably never been more true than in the age of the internet, particularly when it comes to religion.
So here’s what I want this site to be about- I want to lift up what is good in the world. If I’m going to criticize another person, idea, etc., I want to do it in the service of lifting up something better. So let’s look around the world, think critically together, and ultimately proclaim (to paraphrase Philippians 4) whatever is true, whatever is just, and whatever is good.
Welcome to Matthew 11.19