Trust Shortage – a Random Rant

There is an increasing sense in America that we can’t trust many people, institutions, etc. Apologies are nearly worthless…because everyone makes them…only after claiming they were innocent for months only to have it proved they weren’t.

There is a trust shortage in America…which is the result of an integrity shortage. People have a hard time trusting because there seem to be so few trustworthy people and institutions any more.

In times like these, the church must up the ante on integrity, and be counter-cultural by returning to holiness through and through. I have generally applauded efforts of the church toward "authenticity"… mostly because I despise fakeness.

But I’ve discovered that when not done in moderation, "authenticity" can send the message that no one is very holy, and no one is really expected to be…nor is anyone really trying. This re-enforces the trust shortage…even as we think it increases trust.

Here’s how we can be authentic… admit our shortcomings, but admit them as aberrations from what we wish we could do…showing grace to one another all the while. It isn’t noble to be a confessional sinner (which we all are). It’s more noble to be a confessional disciple of Jesus (which some are).

Does that make any sense?

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, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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4 thoughts on “Trust Shortage – a Random Rant

  1. I understand better what you mean and think you’re right on. Discipleship is the Swiss Army Knife on which confession may be the little pair of scissors or the can opener.
    (…Where the heck did that come from???)

  2. Great comments guys. To Brad, I agree about the moderate authenticity part. I didn’t mean it the way it reads now. What I mean is…gut-spilling can become it’s own righteousness. The moderation I was intending to put forth is not telling only part of the story, but the moderation of a certain way of doing discipleship. Like dieting can become anorexia, confession can become as harmful…just as inauthenticity can.

  3. The idea of “authenticity in moderation” doesn’t quite ring as desirable to me. I’m not sure authenticity is the faulty stage of the “authenticity leading to no one is holy leading to no one is expected to be holy leading to no one is trying to be holy” progression. Where I think we get off track is the idea of expectations. The idea of no one being holy is a fact of life that Scripture and experience resoundingly reminds us of on a daily basis. But Scripture powerfully exhorts us in the area of expectation. God expects holiness from those who claim to follow Him, and we should expect no less from ourselves and each other. I think you got it right in viewing our sin as an aberration of the intention of our hearts, all the while extending grace to each other along the way. But the idea of “moderate authenticity” leaves an opening on the other side for “moderate fakeness” and that just doesn’t ring true at all for me. I would be for “full authenticity” with an eye towards transformation rather than defeatism.
    Good post, Tim. Thank you.

  4. “Integrity” is such a powerful concept and such a wonderful qualifying term for Christians. Fortunately, when I try to personalize the term, many of Highland Oaks’ elders come immediately to mind.