One question I get repeatedly: “Bad news depresses me, but I want to keep up. What should I do?” My (unsurprising to our members) suggestion: Read WORLD, or go to our website, or listen to our daily podcast/radio show, because we report bad news in the context of God’s sovereignty. As we mourn, we look for redemptive aspects; and as we celebrate, we praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Remembering that God’s in charge is particularly important as the combination of a 24-hour news cycle and a seven-day spiritual cycle leaves many Americans spinning. We’re bombarded hourly with dire occurrences beyond our control, yet many of us seek spiritual refreshment only on Sunday mornings. So here’s my humble suggestion: Kiss Fox News goodbye.
Yes, Fox is fair and balanced between liberals and conservatives, so it’s a vast improvement on the other networks, but it’s still in the business of making viewers anxious so they’ll come back for more. WORLD News Group products are different because our worldview is different: The news teaches us about our sinfulness and other results of Adam’s fall, but also about God’s holiness and grace.
Since you’re reading this, I suspect you’re familiar with WORLD; but I want to mention that our website, wng.org, is becoming a daily destination for many readers. We publish about 50 original stories each week and have broken numerous stories online. We have a team of both professional reporters and citizen-journalists, many of whom we’ve trained through our mid-career World Journalism Institute classes.
We’re bombarded hourly with dire occurrences beyond our control, yet many of us seek spiritual refreshment only on Sunday mornings.
In both the magazine and the website, we always look for that redemptive twist within the bad news. The classic journalistic adage goes, “When a dog bites a man, that’s not news. When a man bites a dog, that’s news.” My theological take on it: “When man transforms God, that’s not news. When God transforms man, that’s news.”
Man attempts to transform God all the time. Sometimes the attempts come at scholarly levels: the “Jesus Seminar” that decides what Jesus purportedly did not say, or college religious studies courses that project either a nasty god or a toothless one. Sometimes the attempt is more populist, as in the prosperity gospel that makes God a valet or personal banker, or in newspaper stories that transform God into god, a powerless figure who watches from a distance.
But the real news comes when God is God, the One who manifests His effective compassion and reverses the direction of individual lives. We try to tell those stories, and I hope you’ll look at them more often. For example, our November cover story on Ebola described devastation but also sanctification, as Christian medical workers sacrifice themselves for others.
It wouldn’t be December if I didn’t add one more appeal here, so I will. Some of you may want to give more financial support to our magazine, podcast, website, or kids’ papers. Others might want to send a check to support our World Journalism Institute training courses. Your gift to WORLD is fully tax deductible. To give quickly and securely online, visit wng.org/worldmovers.
The New York Times recently profiled WORLD and was impressed that we aren’t afraid to criticize wrongdoing within the church. The story was titled “A Muckraking Magazine Creates a Stir Among Evangelical Christians.” About that word ‘muckraking’: A lot of our friends read that as criticism. I know the writer meant it as a compliment, and I’ll take that. But our investigative goal is not primarily to rake muck among Christians: It’s to run at least one report on governmental corruption for every piece we run about Christian problems. We’ll need additional resources to accomplish that.
The investigative work is necessary, but we take pleasure in our Hope Award and other reporting about wonderful ministries. In 2007 I visited and wrote about an orphanage/school/economic development project in Zambia. Recently, I heard that one of our members had read the article, done due diligence, and then contributed $250,000 to the ministry so it could build 10 more orphan houses, with four orphans and a caregiver in each house.
That’s far more than most of us can accomplish, but could you send $50 or $500 or $5,000 so we can do more reporting that multiplies the good, for God’s glory?