Transparency is a buzzword in todays world and especially in the emergent circles. As a church we need to be transparent and as Christians we need to be transparent so that people can know that we are what we say we are and of course to battle all prejudice against both Christian faith and Christian churches. More than ever do we loathe secret societies and lodges for their secrecy.
But I realise slowly that as great as transparency is as a corrective to the obfuscation and secrecy of church in the past it cannot be the future of the church and it cannot be a virtue that guides the path to knighthood.
Please understand me correctly, I still believe that honesty (the core of honour) and a safe environment to truly be oneself is crucial to the Warriors path, I am no longer certain that transparency is.
Let me explain! Transparency and openness, while great in itself completely removes the need for trust. If I know al there is to know about you and can follow your every move every day, I have no reason to trust you, I do not have to trust you because I know all there is to know about you.
We learn to trust each other when we do not know what the other person does once around the next corner. Only privacy allows us to trust each other, and more importantly only privacy allows us to practice and grow in trust.
Trust is the same thing as having faith, and faith IS a chivalric virtue. God does not build faith in our lives by full disclosure. On the contrary God, when asked for a name, answers tongue in cheek, “I am who I am”, walk with me and find out is implied.
It occurs to me that while we often say in modern society that one has to earn trust, I believe to the contrary that, when I trust you, you are built up and become more trustworthy by my faith in you. If I on the other hand mistrust you and require you to prove that you are trustworthy before I trust you, I undermine the relation and mistrust and betrayal are more likely to follow.
This is why transparency is not a chivalric virtue, and why we are called as warriors and knights to trust others before we have reason to trust. Because a broken heart is better than a cold or dead one!