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Activist Faith

Great guest post from Activist Faith co-founder Daniel Darling and author of iFaith.

-Dillon

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The
news comes fast and furious these days, from a variety of sources.
Online, on the phone, someone texting you, Twitter, Facebook, cable
news. We’re long from the days when news came from three TV sources, the
all-news radio station, and your daily newspaper. Truthfully, I’m
getting most of my news these days from Twitter. I follow a few
journalists in areas of interest, such as politics, sports, the church,
and publishing.

In many ways it’s good, keeping the media accountable and revealing
the hidden biases. But in other ways, it’s difficult to process the
news, because it seems, increasingly, to be delivered by competing
ideologies.

So how should people of faith read, interpret, and process the news?
I’m not sure how you do it, but here’s a few steps I take when something
breaks:

  • Hold that thought. I’m trying, though not always
    succeeding, to take in as much information as I can before I render an
    opinion. I’m reminded of James words to the early church, words that may
    be more relevant in this age than every before. We read in James 1:19
    that believers ought to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to
    wrath.” In other words, don’t jump to conclusions. Get some facts. That
    runs counter to the instant Twitter world in which we live, but I think
    it’s wise for Christians to sort of set the bar high.
  • Everything is not political. Seems there is a rush
    these days to take breaking events and find the political angle. It’s
    usually the second or third question on cable news shows. Who does this benefit? Who does this hurt? Whose to blame? If
    you’re a conservative, you’re looking naturally for the way you can
    hang liberals with the story. If you’re a liberal, you’re looking for
    the “gotcha moment” for conservatives. But not all issues break that
    cleanly.
  • Everyone is an expert. Seems everyone has an
    opinion these days. Everybody is a pundit. Everybody is a critic. But
    it’s really okay to not saying anything if you’re not very knowledgable
    on the subject. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” This uprising in Egypt
    is a classic case. I’ve been impressed by the way most politicians on
    both sides as well as pastors, public officials, etc have basically
    said, “We’re not sure what’s going to happen, but we pray for the people
    of Egypt.”
  • How can we bring glory to God? We should ask
    ourselves, in our conversations, in our Facebook and Twitter posts, can
    we bring glory to God? Sometimes we surrender our Christianity when it
    comes to opining on the news. I do this. But if someone read our posts,
    would they say to themselves, There is a follower of Christ? We
    should try to bring light to the issue and situation, not in a pious,
    condescending, holier-than-thou way, but in a way that maintains
    respectful conversation.
  • What’s the Heavenly angle? The easiest thing to do
    when a news story, especially a negative one, occurs, is to immediately
    surrender to fear and fear-mongering. The media likes to cover the
    loudest voice and often those voices spread great fear. Sometimes news
    stories are fearful and worrisome. But Christians, Paul told Timothy,
    were not given the Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
    Kingdoms and nations will rise and fall, but we know and understand
    that Jesus is alive, is the KIng, and will make all things right in His
    time. That’s not just a Pollyanna statement. I believe that with all of
    my heart. We don’t have to fear people or movements or isms. All of
    these are part of the sweep of history, held in perfect balance in the
    hand of God.

Those are a few of the ways I look at the news. But I’m in no ways
perfect and I often given to worldly thinking about the news. I’m
curious how you view the news.

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