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The joy of Christian journalism

"The joy of Christian journalism" Continued...

I remember one letter that came to WORLDafter we criticized Barack Obama’s positions but still asked our readers to keep calm and carry on, as the Brits said in World War II. The letter screamed: “Why are you gutless wimps not shouting through your columns that this nation does not want this filthy garbage as our country’s leader? Where is your anger? Where is your HATRED??? Obama voted for infanticide, his corps of friends are some of the most unsavory, hateful, [expletive deleted] in the world!!!”

Hmm. WORLD crusades on abortion and other issues, but we try to keep calm by reporting sensational facts with—in most circumstances—understated prose.

We try to have an accurate self-image. An excellent secular reporter, Richard Ben Cramer, said of himself, “I’m a smith. I occupy the position in our society that a good wheelwright would have occupied in his. Making wheels is a highly specialized skill. I don’t consider myself to be an artist. I consider myself to be a skilled workman.” That’s how we as Christian journalists should see ourselves. We are not saviors. We are little hobbits in a great big world.

But we’re also hobbits with a great opportunity to glorify God and enjoy Him immediately. As John Piper notes, “Every joy that does not have God as its central gladness is a hollow joy and in the end will burst like a bubble.” Christian journalists can have great joy by discovering and communicating the reasons that exist for honoring Christ in all things and above all things.

Piper points out that we should aspire “to study reality as a manifestation of God’s glory, to speak and write about it with accuracy, and to savor the beauty of God in it.” The Bible teaches us that God created this world to be His theater, so the more we report accurately what happens in it, the more we will praise Him. A Christian journalist who highlights good news is praising God: Our natural selfishness means that what is good comes from Him. A Christian journalist who reports bad news, showing the results of sin, is praising God because the bad shows how desperately we need Him.

Zeal for God’s glory should characterize all of a Christian journalist’s editorial decisions. We should praise marriage and hate abortion in the realization that our natural tendencies are toward selfishness—so when a mom sacrifices her freedom to care for a child, and when a dad sacrifices his freedom to provide for his family, that glorifies God. We should cover compassionate ministries because God most showed his glory when Christ lowered himself to live among us and then suffer and die for us. Since Christ so amply displayed compassion, our trying to follow in some of His steps is another way of glorifying God.

All journalists can have the joy of writing provocative and evocative news stories that come out of pavement-pounding rather than thumb-sucking. Christian journalists can have greater joy by standing not only for factual accuracy but also for biblical objectivity, which means trying to see the world as best we can the way the Bible depicts it. Christian journalists can be humble by presenting not our own opinions but God’s perspective from the Bible, distinguishing between issues on which the Bible is clear and those on which it isn’t.

Christian journalists, in short, can have the joy of offering salt, not sugar, and not acid. We can publish what we believe to be true, not what we or someone else would like to be true. Christian journalists can have the joy of speaking up for those it’s convenient to forget: the unborn, the uneducated victimized by poor schools, and the politically unfashionable. We can know that we are fallen sinners, but sinners who look upward and create a no-scream zone within a high-decibel society.

In the world, this theater created by God, we can enjoy our front-row seats. We can applaud with both hands, praising God by telling the truth.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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