Wednesday, January 31, 2007

sacred or not?

I have a problem with much of talk radio. That's why I choose not to regularly listen to it. I'm referring to talk radio that has to do with politics. And specifically, I'm referring to the normal fare of attacking the character and person of the political opponents of the talk show host.

What is far more troubling for me is when I see Christians listening to these programs, then turning around and saying many of the same things they've heard. Belittling the people "on the other side". It is certainly good and right to express disagreement with a politician's political position or policy. But this should be done in a way that reflects the Jesus we claim to follow.

C.S. Lewis wrote/said something to the effect that the most sacred thing we see on earth is our neighbor, another human. Humans in Scripture are called "eikons" (transliteration of Greek word), or image bearers of God. This is true of all humans by creation. And those in Jesus are being changed into the very image of Christ. For us to look down on, despise and even demonize another human is unworthy of who we are in Christ. And who that other human is. Are they sacred or not?

While I may strongly disagree with someone, specifically here, in the political arena, I'd better treat them with respect, and I'd better listen to them, and be willing to dialogue and perhaps debate with them, but as one who is sacred and special by, and before God. Otherwise we lose something vitally important in our witness to the world. And really miss God's ongoing redemptive work in Christ, that we're to be a part of.

I have been guilty of this. Though I abhor it. And want no part of it. Even as one who may acquiesce to it, simply by listening and maybe even joining in the laughter surrounding it. Maybe we can gently help others, in wise ways, to see this, and repent, as we have had to.

Let's avoid this kind of radio or media. At least regularly. So we don't get swept up into the same habit, either by joining them, or opposing them, all the while picking up the same spirit and attitude towards others that is surely displeasing to God.

What thought(s) would you like to add here?


Dave J. said...

Read your post, then found this quote-of-the-day in my next blog-read:

"Assuming either the Left Wing or the Right Wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles." Pat Paulsen

Perhaps the same could apply to our personal-beings?

jps said...


Good post. I am continually reminded of Ephesians 4:15 "...speaking the truth in love." Although, some of these programs don't even speak the truth, let alone in love. Perhaps a better scripture would be Ephesians 5:4 "let there be no filthiness, foolish talk, nor levity, which are not fitting, but instead let there be thanksgiving."


Michael W. Kruse said...

Great post Ted. We are all in the process of spiritual formation. Everything we come into contact with has formative power. Your post is an important reminder.

Ted Gossard said...

Dave, Thanks for commenting. I like your blog, by the way. Definitely much I could learn on it.

Yes. I agree. The kingdom of God come in Jesus critiques everything across the board, whether Democrat, Republican or anything else. And in regard to personal beings, I think we should realize that we ourselves might get help from some unlikely (in our mind) places and people. That maybe after all we are not in perfect flight ourselves. Great point!

Ted Gossard said...

James, Yes. A good passage to ponder and pray about. And try better to live in. What hurts us in applying such a passage might be a good indicator of what we need to approach differently. Thanks.

Ted Gossard said...

Michael, Thanks! Yes. I just don't see how a regular diet of that stuff won't impact us for ill (Philippians 4:8-9).

Charity Singleton said...

I remember being a young woman just out of college and coming home each day for lunch from my job as a newspaper reporter to watch Rush Limbaugh. When I would go back to work, invariably the same strong opinions and cynicism that I heard on the program would leak from my mouth (or pour out), and in a newsroom of mostly Democrats, it was very divisive. The Lord impressed on me pretty quickly the danger of that kind of "entertainment" (as Rush himself calls it).

Now that I listen almost exclusively to NPR, I find that some people are even a little skeptical of that media (which I find to be pretty balanced, overall). I have to be careful with everything that I allow to enter into my soul, regardless of the source.

Good thoughts, Ted.

Ted Gossard said...

Charity, Thanks for sharing that. I too listen to NPR regularly, and find it to be an honest attempt to be balanced and unbiased in their reporting, at least in letting differing sides speak for themselves.

And you're so right. We must be careful whatever we're taking in. I have to say, that some people/Christians I know consider NPR liberal, and for them, "liberal" is a dirty word. Oh well.....


Mark Goodyear said...

Ted, I agree. Wise folks are quick to listen and slow to speak. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

God help me, I'm often a fool.

This is also a good reminder to be on guard about how media affects us. We all have different boundaries and different things we need to be careful about. I have to openly recognize my weaknesses at the same time as I refrain from judging others who don't share my weaknesses.

Lots of food for thought in this post!

Ted Gossard said...

Mark, Good point about different boundaries. Some may do just fine taking in more of something, than others do.

I do get a bit ticked off at talk show rhetoric (or at least, very sick of it). So in a way, I do best to avoid it altogether.


julie said...

Interesting post.
I've had the same experience of shaking my head at what I hear, then choosing other things to listen to.
Members of my family take in this rhetoric on a regular basis and think it's 'right thinking'.

Ted Gossard said...

Julie, Yeah. I'm around and know people in tune with that as well. It's a tough one. Oh well, I know I don't have it all together either. Thanks.

Andy said...

I was just reading a chapter in "Divine Nobodies" (two minutes ago) with the same thoughts and even some of the same examples you're expressing. Pretty uncanny. I like your scripture about the neighbor. Thanks.

Ted Gossard said...

Andy, I'll have to look that book up.

I'm sure what we say is said before and after we ever say it. Also much of what I say I did pick up from others along the way- and have long since forgotten where I received it. If I remember who said it, I cite it, who the quote is from (unless it has become a common saying, like "already/not yet"). Most often for me, it just seems like I take away what I draw from something, having stated it in my mind, in a way that makes sense to me (in my trying to understand what they're saying, and their point). Ha. Thanks.

andre said...


I'm late to this but you've hit a a good way. I wholeheartedly agree with your post. It seems that the coupling of politics with Christian activism has led to much of this with the result being a distracted christian community and a forgotten gospel.

I've blogged on this at different times, here's the latest post along these lines.

Ted Gossard said...

Andre, Thanks. I look forward to reading that post. But now, I must get some sleep!