Via, Veritas, et Vita

“You walk into this room at your own risk–because it leads to the future. Not a future that will be, but one that might be. This is not a new world. It is simply an extension of what began in the old one. 

“It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. . . . It has one iron rule. Logic is an enemy and truth is a menace.” Rod Serling, The Obsolete Man

It’s one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes.

The story centers around a librarian (Burgess Meredith) named Wordsworth. Since books and religious faith have been outlawed, the librarian faces execution. According to his society, he has become obsolete.

In this situation, he finds a way to teach the world. He shows them that humans cannot violate each other without violating themselves.

He reads his illegal Bible. He asserts that there is a God. He has peace even in the face of death. The one who condemned him dies pleading and begging. It is the second man who has become obsolete.

It’s fascinating to consider how much the world and network television have changed since that episode first aired in 1961.

The episode was a reaction to, not only the war of those days, the Cold War, but also the previous war, World War II.

The reverberations of Hitler’s institutionalized, horrific, and unjustifiable atrocity still rocked the world. They remained fresh in the minds of those who had lived through that war and its aftermath. Those who knew of the testimonies at Nuremberg.

The world was wide awake to the dangers of those who would overrule logic and truth in favor of oppression and death.

Even in the face of terrorism and today’s political rancor, we have comfort. We have little fear. We sleep.

Ministries offer cruise packages, and families can book Christian vacations. Everyone needs a break. But a vacation isn’t usually ministry minded.

Ministry looks more like sacrifice. People who sacrifice for a greater good are not asleep.

Once, Germany’s people–and the countries Germany occupied–woke up to learn that they had much to fear.

Germany came to oppression by believing the world had oppressed them. The unfair treaty from the previous war had cheated them. They would show the world. They would rise and be a great people once more.

But they trusted a liar who gave them a twisted sense of justice. He defied logic and denied truth. He seemed great, this author of great horror.

In the meantime, others would rise to greatness. Not other countries. But individuals who lay under the “ripping imprint of a boot” Serling references.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Maximillian Kolbe, Corrie ten Boom. Examples. They were awake.

Bonhoeffer and Kolbe died standing for truth. Corrie ten Boom lived to write and speak the truth of that time.

They endured great suffering and loved their enemies. In simple essence, they lived for Christ.

Meeting at the intersection of justice and truth, they pursued holiness.

And prevailed over evil.

Ego sum via veritas et vita. ~I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6a~

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18 Replies to “Via, Veritas, et Vita”

  1. I don’t remember that “Twilight Zone.” There were a few other episodes that made me believe at least some of the writers were Christian. I’m going to look up “The Obsolete Man” and watch it if I can find it. Thanks for telling us about it.??

  2. The Obsolete Man was one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes. And you’re right – there’s a lot to learn from this story. The TZ writers wrote much truth under the guise of speculative fiction.
    Another powerful episode is “The Howling Man” (about the devil).

  3. “Let me not sleep when there’s so much I can do for You Lord. Use me up Abba”. Loved this post Ms. Nancy. I can’t help but think of the Vince Lombardi quote (paraphrased), “he lays on the field, bloodied and bruised, having left nothing”. I too pray that when God calls me home, He finds my cup completely empty, having nothing left that I can pour out to another for His glory. God’s blessings ma’am.

  4. I loved watching The Twilight Zone. It was a great show.

    So much of what you mentioned seems to apply to us today. Things have not changed much. I pray to always be a messenger of truth like those before us. I pray we will find God’s strength when we need it.

  5. Once again, you have opened my eyes to so many profound and important things. The courage to truly SEE and speak out is so important. We must lose our life to find it.

  6. And here we are again, this go round is with a different dictator who moved civilization backward by one hundred years. One small misstep by our leaders and we could all find ourselves in WW3. It could happen. We are tiptoeing near that point. if we cross the line, we will lose the same quality of young men and women. We will lose the same quality of excellent leaders. We will always regret whatever proved to be the tipping point. “Pray that I ‘love deeply, care openly, share boldly,” posted elsewhere by my friend Ava Pennington may be the solution.

  7. Your words ring true here, Nancy. So inspirational. I love how you described these Christ-followers, “Meeting at the intersection of justice and truth, they pursued holiness.”

    As I’ve noted before, Bonhoeffer’s book, “The Cost of Discipleship” is my all time favorite book. He states, “The path of discipleship is narrow, and it is fatally easy to miss one’s way and stray from the path, even after years of discipleship.” “But if we behold Jesus Christ going on before, step by step, we shall not go astray.”

    1. You’re right, Karen. Following Christ is not an easy path, but it is easy to stray. You might like Eric Metaxas’s biography of Bonhoeffer. Excellent! Thanks and God bless!

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