The Write Place- Curtis Bruce Kessler

August 16, 2015

Protected: I Am Luke

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October 21, 2011

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

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I still remember the famous line by actor Jack Nicholson during a courtroom scene in the film

A Few Good Men,

“The truth? You can’t handle the truth!”
In this particular scene Nicholson’s character was on the witness stand responding to a lawyer played by Tom Cruise who demanded, “I want the truth!”

One man thought he was above the truth and the other man thought that getting to the truth was enough. We see similar conflicts all around us. No one is above the truth (or above the law) and just getting the truth or even knowing the truth isn’t ‘enough’ because truth has a price. Truth will demand consequences, responsibility, and accountability. Are you and I willing to pay the cost? That is the dilemma facing us all.

Tragically, we may be nearing a tipping point regarding truth in our society. Have you noticed when truth is discussed today it is done through the lens of suspicion, accusation, or derision? A perfect example is in a Blog entitled The Story of Truth. The premise is that truth is revealed incrementally. Every person believes in, becomes part of, or creates a “story” that explains these vignettes of truth. The Blogger writes “If we can learn anything from history it is this, we don’t know all is there is to know. Be gracious enough to realize that and don’t behave with the arrogance and stupidity of one who believes he does know. The universe has not yet revealed her secrets, the rate at which things are changing today, the future is unimaginable, and things will reveal themselves in the next generation that will fundamentally shift what we call real. This is already happening only it takes some time for these things to filter through into the general world view.” Truth for this Blogger is subjective, allusive, and anything but divine. The source of truth is nature. In his mind surely rational people understand that the universe is constantly evolving and is slowly revealing its precious nuggets of truth, thus, it is naturally acquired over time. His resulting conclusion is that no human being can ever make the claim to have all the truth. Based on this logic Jesus is the king of stupidity and arrogance.

Understanding the difference between knowledge and truth is important. Knowledge is derived from the process of learning, reasoning, logic, experiences, and accumulation of facts known or unknown. You can have all the knowledge in the world yet not be any closer to truth “…always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim.3:7) Sometimes what we know is challenged and must either be corrected or affirmed. Knowledge can be faulty. Thus, knowledge is an important fluidic process that is challenging, invigorating, and necessary. We are constantly growing. We want to know more. Thankfully knowledge is not left alone. This is the importance of truth. Truth is the stabilizer of raw knowledge. Truth brings order out of chaos. You would not say for instance that if you have truth you wouldn’t have knowledge. I would not jump off a roof of a five story building. Why? Well, because I know the truth about gravity. The end result will be truly painful and I will die. Truth opens the door to knowing. Truth gives knowledge the foundation needed for rational thought and moral behavior. Truth affirms knowledge. Truth enables knowledge to expand. I think the real rub is this- truth is not the invention of man but is rooted in God (or for the Blogger above the Intelligence behind nature and the universe). He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Eccl.3:11)

A well-known statement of Jesus has probably crossed your mind by this time. The statement is “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” This is indeed an awesome principle and a succinct point for the moment but just quoting this verse alone misses a very key element. Notice the complete statement as found in John 8:31-32 “Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” See the difference? By reading the full context we have a deeper understanding of and application of His use of the word truth. Here is something extremely fundamental yet so easily glossed over. Remain faithful to my teachings Jesus said AND you will know the truth and find real freedom. The cost then for truth is to believe and be faithful to His teachings. Remaining faithful means that we will personally accept all consequences, take full responsibility, and be held accountable to the teachings and standards of Jesus Christ. This is not arrogance or stupidity; rather, this is the high calling of truth that is relevant, essential, life-changing, and liberating! I point you back to my opening quote “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!” John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Bruce Kessler, pastor South Canadian valley Church of Christ

August 12, 2010

“Heavens to Murgatroyed!”

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Are you frustrated with the direction our Nation is headed these days? Are you irritated with the media or political pundits who classify your deeply held values on homosexuality, abortion, and sexual promiscuity as homophobic, bigotry, or intolerant? How do you feel when you are labeled as biased or a racist when you share a real legitimate concern about Islamic radicalism? Well, if you are like me, it’s enough to make you feel like throwing what my step-mom Exie calls one major hissy fit. Better yet, why not loudly exclaim like Snagglepuss, “Heavens to Murgatroyed!” Let’s say it or shout it out loud together just for the sake of feel-goodism, “Heavens to Murgatroyed!” Now, didn’t that make you feel so much better?

You remember Snagglepuss, right? He was a pink mountain lion cartoon character who lived in a cavern. The cartoon was created in the 1960’s and was mostly on The Yogi Bear Show. What I remember mostly about Snagglepuss was his three famous catchphrases- “Heavens to Murgatroyed”, “Exit, stage left!”, and almost always ending every sentence with, “even!” His colorful language speaks well to my dear old heart these days. I mean think about it. Let’s see if we can apply these catchphrases to the crisis of our day: “Our taxes are going way, way up and that makes me super mad, EVEN!”, “Hey, how can people not see that we are moving towards a more socialist ideology, Heavens to Murgatroyed!” and “Listen, let’s exit, stage left, BEFORE things get any worse around here.”

All of this was a little humorous to me until the Holy Spirit worked on my heart. God is in control regardless of our feelings. We should not let our doubts or negative experiences control us. As hard as it was to admit, mainly because I really wanted to throw a hissy fit, God has placed you and I right where He wants for His purpose. We are where we are for a reason not happen-chance.

Think for a moment- all those who have ever been martyred for Christ have shouted out “Heavens to Murgatroyed” or you can bet something similar. But in the end they remained true to their convictions. Because of the times in which we live and the total mess around us we may be ready to scream or shout or sadly give in. I had to re-examine my attitude about all this because the truth nailed me between the eyes. How? God is greater than my petty complaints. God is using these events and experiences of our day to get our attention and cause us to hold on even tighter to His Word and eternal life. Right now God is expecting all of His believers to remain faithful, to stand firm, and be a light to the world. This isn’t easy but we know instinctively that it never has been. But, here is what we know for certain, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:33-37) What more motivation do we need?

One day we’ll all exit, stage left, right into Heaven, even! Wow, Heavens to Murgatroyed!

Bruce Kessler, South Canadian Valley Church of Christ
2217 24th Ave SW, Norman, Ok 73072

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