Monday, April 20, 2009

Who Wants Some GOOD News?

I recall reading once, maybe in a magazine or a newspaper, I can't recall for sure, that generally people really do like bad news. To be more specific, they like other people's bad news. The article said that people in general like this kind of news because they can read about it, then talk about it, and while they're doing that they can forget about their own bad news for a few minutes out of the day, and then be glad the newspaper articles bad news isn't their bad news. In some ways, that makes sense to me. Someone in the article was interviewed about the topic in general and asked, what would happen if a newspaper decided to publish only good news, and not a single article of bad news? When I read that I thought it was a brilliant question and an equally brilliant idea, but, the expert sounding off in the article responded that such a venture would be an absolutely disasterous failure. It would fail before it ever got off the ground, because no one would buy the paper, he said.

I vividly remember thinking when I read that "not true, I would buy that paper". I'm pretty sure lots of people would. Bad news is everywhere, all the time, 24/7. You turn on the tv, and there it is. You open your email, click over to the news sites, or pick up a daily paper and you'll be overwhelmed with tragedy, heartbreak, controversy, crime rates, disasters, pending-disasters, doom, gloom and a various assortment of sordid and lewd material. I'd be willing to bet (if I did that sort of thing) that there are lots and lots of people just like me who are really just fed up with nothing but bad news ALL THE TIME. Add into this mix the neverending stream of various controversy and bad news coming from within the evangelical world most of us (us = those who read this blog) function in, and the bad news seems to just clog the pipes from all directions. It really can be enough to make one heartsick.

Frankly, I'm tired of it. While I do think we need to be informed and not stick our heads in the sand (always a bad plan, you get sand up your nose), I think there's room for some serious balance. I think there's room for a newspaper like the one I mentioned above, or at least something like it. I think the exhortation in Philippians 4:8 is something I know I don't do enough of, and something I think maybe a lot of folks could really benefit from. The handful of commentaries I read recently on this verse (Barnes, Calvin, Gill, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, Matthew Poole) all agree that we are to give continual and intentional regard to "these things" (truth, honesty, justice, purity, things that are lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy) so that in our meditation on such things, we have a constant example before us to pattern our own life after. I loved what Barnes NT Notes says of "these things":

"Let them be the object of your careful attention and study, so as to practise them. Think what they are; think on the obligation to observe them; think on the influence which they would have on the world around you."

I can only speak for myself, but I know I don't usually let the good things be the object of my careful attention and study, nearly as much as I tend to let the bad things take that role. I don't usually think about the obligation to observe them so as to put them into practice, or of the influence they would have on the world around me. I suppose it's fallen human nature to lean toward the controversial and the tragic, while letting the good stuff just whizz by without a lot of attention being given to it. I don't say that as an excuse, just an observation (since that's the sort of "news" we seem to want).

So, I said all that to say this:


Starting next Monday I'm going to make an effort via this blog to change that. I'll be doing this as much for me as for my readers here but the purpose is to dwell on the good stuff, at least on Monday morning. I picked Monday because it's a day most people are already in a bit of a sour mood and could use a real good "good news" boost. I skim through a ton of headlines, blog posts, twitter links, FB links and more each week, and among all that, there's some really great stuff. I wont be posting any kind of blogwars, church scandals, political disaster or anything else like that. If it can't pass the muster of "these things" in Philippians 4:8, it simply will not be posted. In addition, if you have something to share that falls into the same category, I'd love it if you'd post a link in the comments for the Good News Monday posts.

I'm looking forward to next Monday already! I do hope it will be an encouragement to you, and I hope you'll join me and share any good news links you have too.

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