I was plotting some clever segue from the title of the song Tiptoe through the tulips to the parody title Tiptoe through the true bits, which is another grungy more modern guitar song. I discovered neither song has much relevance or meaning to me, but the titles trip off the tongue.
There is always a temptation for politicians to tiptoe around truths that are not convenient to their particular view of the world. In this age of mass communication, word gets out. Both truth and lies are easier to propagate than they once were. Sometimes those of us who tend to the middle ground find it difficult to weigh various arguments effectively, or with confidence. Here are some examples of tiptoeing:
New Zealand is distancing itself from somewhat bold stance and worsening relationship of Australia towards communist China, our trade minister smugly claiming that Aussie could follow our lead and maturity of relationship. I thought this a bit gutless to be honest, a bit of underarm bowling back across the ditch. In our strong trade and education links with China, I suppose we tend to overlook the human rights abuses that come right from the top of government, the most current example being the genocidal oppression of Uighur Muslims and other minorities. The CCP insists on calling what is happening re-education, which is very reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984. Whistleblowers and truth-tellers beware. Recently journalists have revealed rape and forced abortion are being used as tools of oppression in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, only this week the BBC reporting there is a 'credible case' for genocide. In our tiptoeing we compromise our strongly declared values.
A long standing tiptoeing dance the New Zealand government engages in is the habit of never acknowledging or talking about the genocide of Armenian Christians carried out by Turkey at the time of the Gallipoli campaign in the First World War. Heaven forbid that we have to think about Ataturk as a genocidal despot rather than a magnanimous, forgiving statesman. Words attributed to him on the Ataturk Monument in Wellington may well have been composed after the fact whilst wearing rose-tinted spectacles. I guess the risk is nobody gets a visa to go and light a candle at ANZAC Cove if we offend the Turkish government too much.
Let us then think about how we engage inconvenient truth as Christians. We must also learn to dig deeper than just Google or YouTube. Jesus was both truth and love, and is our model for prophetic engagement with the powers that be. At various times he said 'don't tell anyone!' at other times 'if you don't speak the stones will cry out!' (my paraphrase) So we must exercise patience and wisdom in the telling of truth. Jesus did not come with a sword, but there was this one time he fashioned a whip and cleared the temple courts in Jerusalem. Timing is everything in prophetic speech and action, right? May we know prophetic wisdom from both Word and Spirit in our truth telling, sometimes tiptoeing, other times boldly striding.