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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Media Sh**storms and why there's no such thing as "objectivity"

Why do news show that hate Donald Trump put his speeches on their shows? Why do networks, seemingly divided on how they view the current president, cover things they don't like? We have to do some serious media critiquing these days.

In order to declare my biases, here are a few things you should know about my media activity:

1) I have never seen even one minute of American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, or Survivor. (All of those shows have been on television for at least fifteen years.)
2) I have not watched a non-cable news show since David Brinkley retired. (He left NBC for good in 1997.)
3) I have not watched cable news since 9/11.
4) I only watch sporting events on commercial (including cable) TV. (I cannot stand commercials, and only watch ones that star sports figures, but even that is under protest.)
5) Netflix is a gift from heaven. (and on demand cable shows)
6) I used to watch the Daily Show, but stridency is never a good replacement for humor.
7) I read the front pages of the Bismarck Tribune, the Startribune, and the Omaha World Herald every morning online. (mostly to compare weather.)

So, how do I keep up on news? I use the internet, and continue with NBC related websites. I never read articles, I only read headlines. On Huffington Post, I read occasional commentaries and articles. I also read Salon and Alternet, although they often seem to have the same pieces. Oh, and there's Facebook, which can't seem to help tell me what the latest crazy scheme is these days.

So that's where I am at. And I don't feel uniformed. I don't feel like I am woefully ignorant of what is going on in the world. Do I have all the details? No. Do I understand all the political intricacies? No. Do I care about my country? Yes. (In general, whenever I feel compelled to watch a news program or something, I read a book instead. Usually Walt Whitman's poetry.)

It doesn't take a genius to know things have changed. The angst and frustration of Facebook posts speaks to the level of dis-ease we have going around these days to people who should be the least dis-eased of all. I mean, they all have jobs, can pretty much eat what they want, and don't seem to have any problems outside of the ordinary addictions, despairs, and neglects that we all have. But yet--somehow--we have to worry about the Muslims who may immigrate here? What utter bullshit.

People ask me these days how I can stay so focused and calm? Simple. I turn off the TV, and don't click on many websites. But--and this is more important--I spend my time in conversation with actual people about actual problems or actual plans. I don't live in a world of "What if..." "If" is for children, and I am way beyond that. I don't believe in "if" anymore. Never really did.

That's why Jesus is so important to me. He took away all the "ifs" that are part of life and made them "is." I am loved. (not "if" I am loved.) I am saved. (not "if" I am saved.) Because of what God did in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit I have been freed to eliminate all the "ifs" in my life, and in our world. That is the gift of faith: to live as you are (whatever that is), not as "if" you are...

Of course, I am not as true, honest, healthy, helpful, good, or whatever as I could be. But that's not God's fault...that's just me not trusting the humanity I have been given. Not trusting that I am the human I am. For me, it's never "if," it's always "when"--for both the good and the bad, and I don't worry about either.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

P.S. This is one of my favorite songs from the 1970s.

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