Reflections on the Nobel Prize

Nobel PrizeI'm not sure I believe in human objectivity. I do believe that some humans try to be objective more than others do. I appreciate those folks. For the record, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But, they are not entitled to feign objectivity when their opinion is not truly objective.

For the record, I don't think President Obama deserved the Nobel Prize. He doesn't appear to think so either. I actually feel a bit bad for him…because I don't think he would have chosen to win. I also think he handled the situation well this morning. 

When I heard that President Obama had been awarded the Peace Prize and heard the committee's comments, I thought: "Why couldn't they have said this sort of thing sooner." When awards were given to various ideologues in recent times, the committee hid behind a see-through curtain of supposed objectivity. I don't mind if an awards-grating body wants to give out awards to those who best further it's political, social, or religious agenda. I just want them to say that's what they're doing. The reason they don't is because they think it would diminish the prestige of the award and perhaps their agenda–as the two are somewhat tied together. 

This morning, the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl wrote:

At least the Nobel committee came clean this time. In awarding the
peace prize to President Obama its chairman acknowledged that it did so
because it agrees with and wants to promote his politics.

"We are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is
trying to do," Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel
Committee, said this morning. The prize "is a clear signal to the world
that we want to advocate the same as he has done to promote
international diplomacy."

The confession of political motive should be no surprise following
the Nobel committee's behavior during the Bush administration, when the
peace prize was regularly handed to fierce opponents of the president
–from Jimmy Carter to Al Gore to Mohammed ElBaradei of the
International Atomic Energy
Agency.

In those cases, though, the committee denied
that its intentions were political. Now Jagland doesn't mince words.
"We have to get the world on the right track again," the New York Times
quoted him as saying. "Look at the level of confrontation we had just a
few years ago. Now we get a man who is not only willing but probably
able to open dialogue and strengthen international institutions."

One of the reasons that many people my age don't trust institutions…including the church…is because even the best of them (so-called) has a difficult time owning up to their true intentions. They have a tough time saying what they really think and telling us what they are really after. They have a tough time simply saying that they want to promote a certain agenda…and allowing us to choose whether we want to support that agenda. Bias is not really the problem. Bias masquerading as objectivity is the problem.

When allegedly objective prestigious awards and institutions like the Nobel Prize committee, Pulitzer committee, Oscars, mainstream media, etc., all have finally admitted some political/social agenda after years of saying the opposite, it leaves some asking, "Who is trustworthy?"

Here's the deeply profound answer: It's the one who tells the truth…the first time.

It isn't the church's job to be objective…or appear so. I see many churches today in which it would take you an awfully long time to figure out they had much to do with Jesus. In fact, sometimes, it isn't until the membership class that "expectations" are rolled out for people and they hear plain talk about Jesus. Until then, the red carpet is out, and the basin and towel are kept in a back closet somewhere.

The church is not objective when it comes to the Core. The church should always listen. It should be open to appropriate change. It should always be a beacon of humility. However, the church can't go smoke and mirrors with it's message or stoop to the level of relativism because it wants to appear objective. The church should seek to be "objective" in other senses (like being fair with people), but not that one.

I believe in Jesus. I believe He is the only way to heaven. When I become a Christian, I'm not objective on that fact any more. I shouldn't claim or feign objectivity. Instead, I should preach Jesus plainly in the best way I know how and let people decide whether they want to follow Him or not. This doesn't mean be rude, foolish, or completely insensitive in how we communicate gospel's truth. It means we're honest with people from the start.

It's not objective. But, it is more truthful, and thus, more faithful.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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