Highlight – Truth in Myth

In an earlier post I described the stories of angel’s singing, a star leading wise men, and a pregnant virgin as myths that could not be proven. But, as in many myths there is truth in these old stories.  For instance, The Old Fool sees truth in the angel’s song to the shepherds that God favors good-willed people with peace and all its blessings.

How does the Old Fool discern the difference between myth and truth? The parts of a story that may have happened but cannot be proven is described as myth. The truth is repeatable and actionable.  Mutual goodwill brings peace wherever and whenever it exists. That goodwill brings peace is no myth.  It is the truth!


Hannah, Kenson, and Angela showing Jolee pictures from Haiti

On Wednesday evening some adults of the family met in the Dan Stoltzfus home to listen to stories told by Kenson and Hannah who are on a one week vacation away from their work in Haiti. How they became members of our family is one of goodwill which is beyond the scope of this blog. Kenson is a Haitian native and Hannah  has lived and worked in Haiti. Then they studied in the US and received  advanced academic degrees. Hannah received a Fulbright scholarship to help develop  Haiti’s health care system.

Hannah and Kenson went to Haiti with good will. How is it working out?Haiti is known for its poverty, yet not everyone in Haiti is poor.  There are two Haitis.  One Haiti is rich; the other Haiti is poor. In past years Kenson and Hannah belonged to and associated with the poor. Now they have an assignment that requres them to live in a large rich-looking house and have connections to the highest levels of the Haitian government and the US Embassy. This tends to alienate them from the Haitian poor.  But rich Haitians know that they are not one of their own. They are accepted and used only if it increases the rich’s advantage over the poor. Greed is everywhere in both Haitis

Life is hard for Kenson and Hannah as both poor Haitians and rich Haitians try to take advantage of them. Having goodwill for all (rich or poor)  often means taking up a cross.  Kenson and Hannah are learning that to be true. Only after suffering on the cross did Jesus receive glory.

 A celebration time for the  Daniel Stoltzfus family

A celebration time for the Daniel Stoltzfus family

Another story is circulating among family members and it deserves to be told here. Grandson Dan Stoltzfus is in charge of the operations of a manufacturing plant in Elkhart County. Each year the company has an annual Christmas party where an award is given to an “employee of the year.” The employee is nominated by fellow employees.

This year the unusual happened. Many of the employees reported that they wished they could nominate Dan Stoltzfus. They knew he was ineligible as a member of the executive team, yet they listed his good qualities. In response to this groundswell of support, the owner and president of the company created a new award called the “Integrity” award.  On the plaque was inscribed in simple phrases Dan’s qualities as reported by the employees. Simply put, Dan is a man of “good will” who has changed the culture of the company.

This afternoon Rachel, Eldon, a friend and I went to see Lincoln , the movie that lays bare the intrigues of the last four months of President Abraham Lincoln’s life. The squalor of war, and the evils of political shenanigans are portrayed as they are. Yet arising out of this drama, if he had been allowed to live, is a president ready to lead the nation with malice toward none and charity toward all.  If you haven’t already seen the movie, I recommend that you do so with no reservation.

In Memory of Rhoda

In Memory of Rhoda

This brings me to the breaking news of tonight.  A president is trying to lead a dysfunctional congress to avoid a fiscal clift.  My prayer and my hope is that the truth of the Christmas  myth will prevail and that out of this debacle will arise leaders in government and society who are willing to lead in government and society with good will to all.





About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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9 Responses to Highlight – Truth in Myth

  1. Lloyd Gingrich says:

    Why must every detail be proven? Where does faith enter?

    • I think a detail should not be believed or told to others as a fact if it is unprovable. It seems to me that one’s faith is best placed in a truth that is repeatable. Can it be that the church has spent too much time and energy trying to get others to believe that the Bible is inerrant when many of its details are unprovable? Should we not instead focus on truth that is repeatable, and that actually brings genuine peace.

  2. Mary Bew says:

    Bob and I appreciate your writing very much. We can use this! Thank you. Looking forward to seeing you in Sarasota.

  3. freda zehr says:

    Dear Martin,
    I am still reading your interesting thoughts. I have the pictures of Rhoda saved on my computers desktop.
    She was a beautiful woman and I look at them every once in a while.
    It is good to observe that you are having a full and interesting life in spite of losing her.
    I am trying, I thought I was doing better, but this Christmas was very difficult for some reason.
    Keep on with your writing on the old fools page. (but I still hate to use that title for you!) Freda Zehr

    • Thank you, Freda, for you comments about Rhoda. You should note, I think, that I am making less use of The Old Fool as a standin for myself. May you have a happy new year, the whole year through. I have been in two grief support groups and have found them to be helpful as we tell stories and share memories. Did you notice that a friend went with Rachel, Eldon and me to see LINCOLN? Even as I grieve I find that friendship is an important element of my life.

  4. Connie F. Stauffer says:

    Dear Cousin Martin—-Thanks for you your honest, thoughtful discourses. Yes, much
    effort has been wasted by the “church” creating dogma and doctrine from unprovable
    myths which they declare to be facts while missing the truths intended in the stories and writings.

    The shepherds scattered from the lowly stable after seeing the child and hearing the message of the angels….”Peace on earth goodwill to all.” Living out the reality of “goodwill to all” is enough to bring light to the dark places in our worlds. I’d rather stand with the shepherds (myth or not) than the haggling theologians!

    • Dear cousin Connie, I’m not so concerned for the haggling theologians, they can take care of themselves. I’m more concerned for the innocent (like me) who have been taught that our Bible is infallible and apply it to every detail and are thus in danger of losing both truth and book. I would like to preserve the truth and the book by admitting that it is fallible, like me. I wonder how many cousins read The Old Fool’s blog

  5. Lloyd Gingrich says:

    We cannot put God into a test tube. What we cannot explain or prove we accept by faith.
    If we understood every thing we would not need faith. Hebrews 11 says without faith it is impossible to please God. The written Word of God was written by inspiration of God.
    Holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Surely He would not have put untrue facts into His written Word.

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