Friday, June 27, 2008

the news

I like to listen daily to NPR and we have a good radio station here in Michigan, based in Ann Arbor to give us plenty of good programs in trying to help us understand what in the world is going on. I think it's important for us as Christians to be informed, and living in the United States of America means that in our democracy we can have a say in the political process and perhaps influence others who in turn could influence more.

We want to subject all we read and hear of what's going on to the touchstone of Scripture. Of course Christians will differ on what's right or wrong in a given situation- case in point is yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court on the second amendment and the right to bear arms, or have a loaded handgun in one's home. I have an opinion on that, but I want to hear other opinions as well, of those who may disagree with me or possibly have a better perspective on it than I have. Scot McKnight over at Jesus Creed has an interesting post this morning on this, and you can be sure that the thread on that post will be active today.

To pay attention to the news while being people of the Book, requires some self-discipline (including an acquired taste) and the belief that our faith concerns this world, even though its source is from heaven. In Jesus we will want to bring the ethics of the kingdom of God come in him to bear in our thinking and how we see the news. In other words that kingdom does matter now, even though we still pray for its coming and for God's will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

Yes, we can be quickly overwhelmed with it all and think we don't matter in the process. But each of us has a part in what's going on and in God's working in it all. We need to proceed that way, and listen to the news by faith in God, that it really matters somehow as we seek to understand and engage the issues according to God's will revealed in Scripture and in Jesus and our calling in this world as salt and light in him.

What do you think about listening to the news? Do you think we Christians should be engaged in the political process? Why or why not?

13 comments:

NaNcY said...

i think that the news and politics are part of the world, so we are in it but not of it. our involvement is not from a worldly view. and our view is not from a worldly involvment. as a believer, i think that my duty is to God and to others.

news
1382, plural of new (n.) "new thing," from new (adj.), q.v.; after Fr. nouvelles, used in Bible translations to render M.L. nova (neut. pl.) "news," lit. "new things." Sometimes still regarded as plural, 17c.-19c. Meaning "tidings" is 1423; newspaper is first attested 1670, though the thing itself is much older. Newsreel was first recorded 1916; newscast is from 1930. Newsletter is attested from 1674, but fell from use until it was revived 20c. Newsworthy first attested 1932.

i find this interesting as you speak of "news". or new things.

the good news of Jesus, or the new testament. now, that is news that needs to be spread.

television is mainly an entertainment tool. radio is the same. word of mouth and interacting and talking to others is the best way to communicate the good news of Jesus into the world.
it is also a good way to interact with people about what is going on around them in their life. now, i think that is good politics.

politics (n.)
1529, "science of government," from politic (adj.), modeled on Aristotle's ta politika "affairs of state," the name of his book on governing and governments, which was in Eng. 1450 as "Polettiques."

Craver Vii said...

I also believe that it is a good thing for a Christian to be involved in politics, because the government is a regular part of lift. After all, isn't it God who ultimately places the magistrates in place?

Craver Vii said...

Life. A regular part of life. :-P

preacherman said...

I think listening to the news is so important especailly NPR. It gives you a world view that you usely don't get at other media outlets. Ted I agree that we can and should influence others by our politics views and stance. I think we have been bless to be in America and should enjoy and cherish the freedom that we have everyday. Thank you brother for these thoughts and for challenging us. I hope you and your family have a great weekend!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, Thanks for your thoughtful reply and the definitions. I think I'm in a agreement with you here. It is easy in the way I was raised for me just to say we must be Christians and let the world be the world- a stance of some Anabaptist theology- my raising having been Mennonite, and the extreme case of what I'm thinking here being the Amish. I know of at least one good Mennonite pastor who refused to vote.

But I just can't get my head around that entirely. We need to be devoted to the mission for which we are here, living out well the salt and light we are in Jesus. I do think this influence must reach somehow into the public square. Just am not sure how. Though for me, Ronald Sider might be a decent example of how we're to live this out.

Thanks.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Craver,
Thanks. After leaving the Mennonite denomination and opting more for a Baptist theological stance (for many years) I adopted what you're saying. Does seem perfectly reasonable, even if it doens't line up well with a certain literalistic reading of Scripture that Anabaptists maintain (case in point: their reading of the end of Romans 12 and beginning of Romans 13).

Ted M. Gossard said...

Kinney, Thanks. And you and yours, as well.

Yes, I lean more and more to believing that we should clearly speak into our society and especially this democratic society in which we live.

But we should also major on what is major in our calling, which means sharing Christ and living that out in all kinds of ways in this world. And some of that is to try to bring our faith to bear on the issues of our day, surely.

Thanks.

NaNcY said...

i have been thinking about this a bit more. and i have come to a place in seeing that the question can be about anything...not just politics or news.

is it fair to say that one person might be called to be more involved in the political process than someone else?

and news is something that we are going to hear and think about in our normal daily lives for the most part, maybe some more than others according to what they are to be doing.

sometimes i think that our interest, or even our reluctance to take part in something, can be brought about by fear or other tactics that are used by people.

the reasoning behind what we do has probably got a lot to do with if it is the right way to be doing it.

i would say that npr has its leanings, but, they are one of the best out there to listen to. also, checking in on the news from other countries that's published on-line can be a good source.

no matter what we have an interest in in our life, it is good to inspect our motives from time to time. even interests that can seem very harmless, and even good, can be over-done or become changed in motive or intention away from what God wants for us.

we are in the world
we have a duty to God

can we open our hearts to others while we live in fear?

we are to be watchful, but, only fear God.

we can be watchful of what is going on in the world at large. and we can be watchful of the world that we can see with our own eyes around us. we can read, listen and talk.

but, as we live in the world we need to be armed, ready and watchful...not out of fear, but, out of awarness that there is more to everything than we can see in this world, even if we are looking straight at it...there is more than we can see.

and that is a good thing to remember as we take part in anything.

looking at politics, watching the news, voting, going to a movie or even a quilting bee, or a skating rink to learn to skate....no matter what we take part in, there is always more than we can see...

so we take part...we wear our armor, we are watchful and we stand strong in our faith.

what do you think?

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks again, Nancy, for sharing some more of your thoughts with us as you work through it.

It comes to mind in reading your comment how we really are limited. Yet we must make judgments just the same, and go with them. Not easy, either, and our judgments will likely change over time, at least being refined over time.

I agree that NPR may lean overall to the left, though in its news reporting on "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", I think it does a good job in being evenhanded. If not, I wouldn't listen to it. Besides the rudeness on talk radio, that is a reason I don't listen to talk radio either left or right. Though if the host can be respectful of other people, maybe it could have its place.

Like you say though, we must be careful not to be so taken up with what is good, that we end up missing the point of why we're here- in Jesus.

HALFMOM said...

Certainly being informed is important, but honestly, there's only so much time in one life. If you've been "given" other tasks to do, there may be little time for being involved in politics other than just being informed about what is going on around the world. I guess I look at it like spiritual gifts - some believers are particularly gifted with areas like politics and God has allowed time in their lives to participate more deeply than others who may be less gifted. However, it doesn't release us from the requirement to reflect Christ.

For example, I do not have the gift of evangelism, but you won't seem hestitate to present the gospel as though I do - I just have to work harder at it because I am not gifted in the area but presenting the gospel and giving a reason for the hope that is in me is clearly a mandate!

preacherman said...

Wonderfully put Ted.
I totally agree.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Halfmom Susan,
You're very right. I don't actually spend that much time at it. I just try to use certain intervals of a day to do that to keep informed. And sometimes just download when at a computer.

We in Jesus do have some sort of general responsiblity somehow in that area, but it varies from person to person.

And we must not lose sight of our clear calling in Jesus as light in him here.

Thanks!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Kinney.