The Night Of

If you are looking for a new television show, head to HBO or download their app and check out The Night Of. Penned by outstanding crime author Richard Price, and based off a series in the UK, it is a classic murder mystery set in the tensions of today’s society.

I’ll spare more important plot details and just tell you to watch it.  Seriously, you’ll be hooked.

There’s a scene where John Turturro, playing the veteran defense lawyer, is counseling his client, played on point by actor Riz Ahmed. Turturro tells Ahmed not to speak to anyone.  It doesn’t matter who comes into his cell and asks questions, just say “I don’t know,” and “Talk to my lawyer.”

Ahmed states he just wants to tell the truth, asking “don’t you want to know the truth?”

Turturro says no, that the truth doesn’t matter.

It is only their story versus the prosecution and which one will stand up in the eyes of the jury.

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Story has the power to move.

Write a sentence that plays the right chord and you’ll have an audience in the palm of your hand. I once had a professor tell me that no story is unbiased.  Watch the news and you are seeing an interpretation of events. There is nothing that scrolls across the screen of our smart phones without being filtered through an agenda.

One of the most interesting statements in the Bible comes from Pilate at the trial of Jesus. We read in the Gospel of John that Jesus tells Pilate, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate replies:

“What is truth?”

You could take this multiple ways and write multiple books on the subject. Pilate certainly wanted to move on from the trial.  He ends it after his rhetorical question and tells the audience of religious leaders that he has no basis to charge Jesus of any crime.

He could have assessed Jesus to see if there was any claim to royalty, any threat to Roman rule.  Or, as one experienced in litigation, maybe he followed the rule Turturro stated a few thousand years later.

What is truth?

The story matters, for in the story hides the truth.

There’s a reason Jesus preached in parables. There’s a reason a movement started inside an empty tomb a few days after that trial as the story spread mouth to mouth. There’s a reason the movement caught fire when people realized the potential of true, selfless love.

We stand at a crossroads, a country facing a change in leadership that could drastically shift the future. It is time for those who claim to follow Jesus to stand on the power of the story and know the bottom line.

The line that ends, and starts, at the cross.

~Matt

Fire Words Week: Truth

Pilate always fascinated me. I remember reading the account in the Bible of the trial of Jesus.  The imagery is crisp. The drama is palpable.  I pictured these two men facing off across a Roman version of a courtroom in a volley of questions and answers.  At one point, in John 18:38, Pilate lays down the greatest rhetorical question of all time:

What is truth?

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I had a professor back in college that advised us to consider every source when we were researching our papers.  There are reasons behind every story.  Show a room of ten people a picture and ask them to describe it. You’ll likely get ten different answers.

We each have our own lens that we use to view the world.

In On Writing, Stephen King stated the best way to write authentic characters was to remember that everyone feels like they have the camera on them.  We are the stars of the show.

We have truth locked down.

Want to alienate someone quickly? Act like you know all the answers.  It is practically a membership requirement for churches in this country. Peter writes that we should have answers ready when someone asks us the source of our hope. He’s right. We just ignore one part of the statement.

We answer whether or not we have an audience ready to hear.

At the same college I mention above, a street preacher would set up shop in the warmer weather.  It was great theatrics. He’d yell and argue with students.  He’d call down condemnation on any and every sin.  I’m sure he meant well.

A month after I graduated, he was arrested for attempting to solicit a teenager.

The truth was not his truth.

There is always mystery in truth.  It is fluid, running like water. We build our lives on salvation, love, family, and grace.  The mystery comes in our work to improve all of these elements from our imperfect human condition.

Life is a journey of exploration.

You will face some tough questions.  Have your answers ready and don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know. The truth comes when we attempt to live as Jesus lived in new and radical love. When we reflect his example, truth and light shines through.

~Matt