I really try to keep an open mind… and ponder all sides of an issue. (For that reason, I watch FoxNews and CNN.) It’s my theology of tension at work: believing that both sides belong… and stand, together, equally, to contribute to a full understanding of reality. (Of course, that’s not to ignore the way both sides can delude and distort!)
Watching “Fox and Friends” this morning had me hearing their rantings about Newsweek’s newest issue — cover-storied with an article on the decline of Christianity in America. (Come on, Newseek, adding “Fall” in the title was a bit sensationalist!)
I have no doubt that the “Foxes” had part of the truth about this “decline” being related to perceptions and biases of the Media.
But, the Media is only part of the problem in my mind. (Talk about bias!! Our Friends at Fox even wanted to suggest that the timing of the article was an afront to American Christianity — ignoring the fact that Newsweek has traditionally cover-storied articles on faith and religion this time of year, every year!)
Truth is, as I see it, that blaming the Media is a diversion. It’s blaming one’s poor health on the doctor who, even though he might have poor bedside manners and really doesn’t care about you, nonetheless reports truth about your condition.
Truth is (as I see and feel it), Christians have no one else to blame for a poor diagnosis of their condition than themselves. For too long, we’ve accepted lower standards… and a compromised witness. (What was it that Chesterton said about Christianity? Something like “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting as much as it has been found difficult and hardly tried!) In my mind, we’ve pretty well given reason for Americans to write us off! I can hear outsiders saying, with cause: “what’s the real difference between Christians and non-Christians? what difference does the Church really make?” And finding no real solid or convincing answers to their questions, they go elsewhere for meaning and healing.
To be sure, elements in the Media have given us a bad rap. But, then, we’ve done a lot to deserve and justify it. The remedy to the “decline and fall” of Christianity in America, you see, is in our becoming a lot less American in our faith and practice… and a lot more, genuinely Christian!
Especially as we enter this Holy Week, let us fix our eyes on the life of Christ… and what we need to let go of (and take hold of). Then, having addressed the “plank” in our eye, we’ll be in a much better position to judge how much of the problem is the Media… and we’ll be in a much better position to change their minds and hearts!