The Mainstream Liberal Media
I’ll admit it.
The title of my devotional thought today was only a lure. But I do wish to address the issue of the press. Or perhaps I should say, the issue of the fact that Christians are involved at all in the issue of the press (stick with me – I know it is tempting to bug out at this point).
Our world generally perceives Christians as followers of conservative agendas and enemies of the mainstream press. I won’t delve into the truthfulness of this perception, except to say there are always threads of truth in perceptions as well as exceptions.
The main thing I must battle as a spiritual leader are the associations people make with Christians as a result of their general perceptions. For example, I am extremely concerned about the health of our planet and believe Christians should be at the forefront of ecological research. Yes, I am aware some people exploit issues such as global warming as platforms for political gain. But this doesn’t change the fact God made us stewards of His creation. A piece of litter carelessly tossed from our car window is an affront to God – an attack on the beauty of His handiwork. Therefore, I am dismayed when Christians dismiss ecological concerns and when non-Christians see people like me as a danger to the environment.
Allow me to share these thoughts for your consideration as I think about perceptions and our Christian witness to the world:
We should speak by doing. Several years ago, I recruited a church member to help me organize an ecology club in our church. For years, young people in our ministry cleaned up trash on the Chesapeake Bay and raised oysters to release into the Bay. We once participated in an Earth Day celebration where we won first prize in a recycled goods fashion show. Most of the people at the celebration looked at us like we were from another planet. They couldn’t figure out why Christians were at Earth Day. We were there to remind them God’s people were responsible for telling the world about the very first Earth Day recorded in the book of Genesis. How might our witness change if people associated Christians with genuinely caring for our earth instead of supporting a particular political agenda?
We should be known for truthfulness. I understand the logic behind hyperbole. Exaggerations attract attention. But when we stretch the truth to counter the untruths others share, we aren’t really helping. We might think the facts will end up somewhere in between the two untruths, when in reality most people just see two lies on polar ends of an issue. Jesus once confronted spiritual leaders who used exaggerations to prove their point (like those who claim to swear on top of a stack of bibles). He said, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37) People of the truth should be known as people who speak the truth.
We should represent the character of Christ. It is possible to speak the truth and to be strong in our beliefs without disrespecting others or acting in an unchristian manner. It is true, Jesus once called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers” and He accused the same group of being like “whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.” These weren’t exactly phrases one might use in a casual greeting card meant to encourage. But a careful examination of the scriptures reveals Jesus never devalued people. While He exposed bad behavior He never made fun of people’s “person.” Even in His strongest message to people like the Pharisees we can find Jesus’ sincere desire to see people turn their hearts toward God and put aside their self-righteous behavior. When we say the right things in the wrong ways, all we do is build up a bigger wall that keeps people from seeing the light of Christ in our lives.
Choose a news network if you wish. We are certainly free to pick our sources, and to prefer one newscaster over another. Just remember, we are talking about the media. Christians do not represent a news source. Alright, if you work in the news business you do, but hopefully you get my point. While powerful, no press is as influential as the collective witness of a people who serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When we forget this fact and become obsessed with the news we are undermining the very truths we are trying to promote.
Which news outlet is my favorite?
Well, SportCenter, of course.