I'm coming off an awesome week. Here we are in downtown December, and it's been 70 degrees, deck framing, Granny Smith apples, and roast-beef/fried-egg sandwiches. Now the weekend is here, the tools are safely stowed away, and it's raining tenderly. It all makes for an endlessly delicious place to live and work.
In line with my new Green Coffee project, I've been thinking more about what makes a Christian approach (and response) to news, the media, and the general information explosion. Some see following the headlines as unhealthy; others see it as simple responsibility. I am sympathetic to both views, and will take them in order.
As I noted dryly two months ago, most news is bad news, for the simple reason that most things are bad. (Not fundamentally, but sociologically.) To have 6.5 billion people stranded in space on a big blue ball, all thinking about themselves, does not incline one to optimism. And every day we see the fallout, the trail of tears, the collective wreckage that we make of collective existence.
So the news is often - inevitably - depressing. And to the extent that it distracts us from the standards of Philippians 4:8, it should be avoided. (Becoming entangled in idle, old-fashioned Athenian-style gossip is another danger.) But to the extent that we are selfishly insulating ourselves from the uncomfortable, I feel our aloofness could be questioned.
Based on Jeremiah 29:7 and 1 Timothy 2:1-2, we understand that we are to pray for society as a whole, as well as for specific leaders. This is key. To intercede, we must be informed; to be informed, we must be interested.
We do not desire to advance a Christian political agenda. But it is only fair that we jump in, get our hands dirty, and wrestle along with everyone else with the tough questions, instead of pretending that they don't exist, which is not a very useful answer. It does no good to claim that we are somehow above the grimy issues of existence, when the world knows that is just a smokescreen for laziness. Snobbery is the bane of spirituality.
This is likely an area where Anabaptists and Reconstructionists can learn from each other. The Amish and the Religious Right have similar problems for opposite reasons.
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