Tell It Like It Is

Clerow Wilson, Jr. took America by storm in 1971.  Over the next four years, he won a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards for his comedic improvisations.  Wilson rose from meager beginnings and made the most of a circuitous path to renown, at one point appearing on the cover of Time magazine hailed as “TV’s first black superstar.”  His hour-long variety show, the product of years of lesser known work, gave platform to musical guests, talented individuals and celebrities alike.  Wilson’s surname is lost to most familiar with his work though his creativity and creations, such as Geraldine Jones and Rev. Leroy, live on in the public consciousness (at least in the consciousness of those in the public in those days).  It was during Clerow’s days in the Air Force that he received the moniker by which he is well-known, as his compatriots observed that he was always “flipped out.”

Flip Wilson coined many phrases during his zenith that made their ways into common usage.  One of these was “Tell it like it is.”  Aren’t those words for weary ears in our time of prevarication?  This simple and forthright missive was seen on posters and fliers, as well as, heard in schools and on street corners nation-wide.  Everybody really wants to know the truth even though they may be loath to tell it in all circumstances.  The Bible tells us that truth is freeing, and this loosing applies to both tellers and hearers.  The current days of deception have scarred a generation (indeed generations), as many have ceased to believe in the concept of absolute truth and have adopted a relativistic view of individualized honesty and verification.  Still, there is hunger in the hearts of mankind to know something is hallowed and someone is willing to stand on that ground.

Burning brightly for a number of years, Wilson then seemed to vanish (for the most part) from the public eye.  Truthfully, it was after he gained custody of his children that he cut back on his public performances to spend more time with his family.  He understood that caring for his family was the important thing.  It was, in truth, the way things were, and he didn’t need to be told twice.  Each of us will need to make honest assessments in our lives and determine what things take priority.  However we may envision them, things are what they are.  It may seem unfair that we are dealt the hands we receive, but I’ve played enough games to know that the advantaged (by some perceptions) are not always the ones who claim the contests.  So it is that we take hard looks at hard facts and make irrevocable decisions affecting our futures from which we may never return or recover.   

Jesus said that He and His words were truth.  Christ’s followers are to have an affection and affectation for righteous reality.  This is a struggle in the average life, as we are ever tempted to shade the brightness of truth in favor of more user-friendly lighting.  Even those who claim adherence to the truth will have to admit they are affected by the downward drift of society.  Rev. Leroy was pastor of The Church of What’s Happening Now,” and we may sing “How Firm
a Foundation” without resting thereon.  The tendency to adapt our views to current affairs leads many into quagmires of delusion.  Even as Pilate queried Jesus, people today cry, “What is truth?”  On the day when things are crystal clear and the mists of philosophy dissipate, the questions will be answered without a word.  How much better it would be for us to face the truth now because it is what it is.


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