These lines are from Emily Dickinson's poem: Tell all the truth but tell it slant.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

It's a poem that means different things to me at different times. Today, I'm pondering the last two lines especially: "The truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind."

I wonder about Emily's original thoughts as she composed those lines. The Truth. What was the Truth as she originally conceived of it? How did the Truth surprise her? How did it dazzle her? Where did she first develop a concept of what it means to tell something "slant"?

After a less-than-stellar church experience last weekend, I've been thinking about communities of faith - about the institutional church - about what it means to use/misuse the pulpit. I've been thinking about theological education - and the entire process of indoctrination. 

I've been thinking about what it means to stand up against institutional oppression while at the same time living as a vessel of peace and compassion. When/where is it appropriate to say: "I can't stand back and watch this injustice take place any longer. This is wrong"? And when/where is it appropriate to say: "I respect that we are different and I am not going to stand in judgement of your reality"? 

As all these thoughts swim around, I'm chewing on Emily Dickinson's poem. Perhaps somewhere in her words is a message about the process of change. About how we all grow/develop/change - but it doesn't happen all at once. It happens gradually. When we are confronted with the Truth in small bites, we can digest it. But when we are confronted with the Truth all at once, it's overwhelming and we dismiss it. 

May the Truth dazzle in all our lives this week. In a way that provokes AND comforts. Heals AND aggravates. Encourages AND challenges.