Ancient wisdom on the art of deception

sojourner_truth_with_lincoln_a

Sojourner Truth and President Abraham Lincoln

Monday, after we’d read aloud Psalm 52, Kay proposed we create T-shirts with a simple message: ‘Psalm 52’. She was joking, of course. We’re not the sort to wear our religion on our chests! She had in mind the following lines.

You tyrant, why do you boast of wickedness

…all day long?

You plot ruin;

your tongue is like a sharpened razor,

O worker of deception.

You love evil more than good

and lying more than speaking the truth.

You love all words that hurt,

O you deceitful tongue.

O that God would demolish you utterly,

topple you, and snatch you from your dwelling…!

Yesterday we picked up a copy of the latest Star Tribune. The editorial, “Trump practices art of deception,” called Sunday night’s sharpened razor tweet from the White House to Iranian President Rouhani “another alarming distraction to take the spotlight from other news, such as the fiasco in Helsinki…” (Star Tribune, July 24, 2018).

Ancient wisdom is called ‘ancient’ because it’s old. It’s called ‘wisdom’ because it speaks plainly to things that never seem to go away. But you can’t put a whole psalm or an editorial on a T-shirt! The above picture of President Lincoln and Sojourner Truth would get the truth part. But a simple psalm # points to the ongoing tension between truth and the practiced art of deception.

‘PSALM 52!’

  • Gordon C. Stewart on the wetland, July 25, 2018

2 thoughts on “Ancient wisdom on the art of deception

  1. Dickens in Little Dorrit has a gloomy woman who is very “religious “, but her religion is dark. Among the quotes Dickens gives (I think from a Psalm) is Smite mine enemies, Lord; smite them. (She has a conversion of sorts at the end.). It is really hard, difficult, daunting when the leader of one’s country is a malefactor to such an extent that one thinks of him Smite Thine enemy, Lord; smite him. Of course the Lord doesn’t work that way. There won’t be a convenient thunderbolt, though if lightning strikes, I’m afraid I would be tempted to look up and think “Thank you, Lord,” before being heartily ashamed of myself for the thought.

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