Living the Truth
Horine, Robert B., Anglican Theological Review
Living the Truth. By Alan Jones. Boston: Cowley Publications, 2000. 166 pp. $12.95 (paper).
Near the beginning of his book, Dean Alan Jones includes a quotation from novelist James Carroll, writing in the Boston Globe: "What if human beings are never in full possession of the truth, but must constantly seek it in new experience in a dialogue of respect and mutuality with others?" The author's answer is that this is indeed the situation for humanity-"pilgrims of the truth."
This is more than an attempt to define truth; the book aims to tell what the truth has to do with us and how we live. Jones leads the reader on a grand tour, viewing the subject from a number of vantage points. Though we never get to the unfathomable heart, we come satisfyingly close and end outfitted for further exploration.
The book's four parts cover truth as fact, fiction, relationship and mystery. Within these Jones offers twelve meditations, including "Finding a Story Faithful to the Facts," "The Craft of Truth-Telling "Truth and Cunning," "Truth as Betrothal," "Truth as Moral Adventure" and "The Kingdom of Love and Truth,"
The author suggests that in a fruitful search for truth we must experience a self-forgetfulness that is not self-annihilation, but a form of pleasure. It has to do with love, which, as Iris Murdoch wrote, is "the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real."
Jones observes that "The world is essentially something I share with others. It is social. There is no strictly private reality." And he quotes Michael Ignatieff, who wrote in his article, "The Elusive God of War Trials" (Harpers, March 1997, p. …