Case in Point


This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Christian journalist: Thinking Christianly as a journalist

Today (4/11/11), I want to briefly look at how current Christian journalists think of living and writing Christianly in the newsroom. My observation is that as journalists our thoughts run to pietism. That is, our Christian testimony and obligation is to act Christianly, as in, loving our enemies, being pure in heart and mouth, obedient to the newsroom authorities and not treating our employer as a personal ATM machine.

Now, of course, this is all right and good and necessary. But it is not sufficient for the Christian journalist. The Christian journalist must think Christianly as he reports and writes his story. That is, the Christian journalist must attempt to think God’s thoughts after him as he constructs his narrative.

Johannes Kepler

The German astronomer Johannes Kepler is credited with saying that through his study of the Universe, he was “thinking God’s thoughts after him.”

Discernment is learning to “think God’s thoughts after him,” practically and spiritually; it means having a sense of how things look in God’s eyes, and seeing them in some measure “uncovered and laid bare.”
1) Justice and love sown towards racial, ethnic minorities, poor and the socially forgotten.
2) A peaceful and law abiding society
3) Cultural activities such as learning, commerce and subduing nature be done according to God’s revealed will.
4) Moral standards be adhered to
5) Family and state be examined in light of God’s word.
6) Definition of human essence

The Search for Christian America

(Thanks to Mark Noll, Nathan Hatch, George Marsden, for this list in their book The Search for Christian America)

Carl F. H. Henry

American culture and Western civilization depend on whether sight and sound are reserved only for human speculation and transitory temporal happenings, or whether the truth of God is given equal time and space in the public square. Carl F.H. Henry reminded us that a mood of perpetual crises in the temporal socio-politico-economic sphere is nurtured by the press rather than the reality of the eternal spiritual and cosmic control of a gracious and merciful God.  The mainstream media’s denial of spiritual reality, it’s embracing of moral relativism, and its accommodation of materialist and sensate view of life, all increase its power to change society.

One aspect of discerning truth-telling for the Christian journalist which helps the community is that the journalist is to shine light where there is darkness. As children of light (Eph. 5:8), Christian journalists are to be purveyors of light in dark places, exposing corruption, evil, injustice, malfeasance and sin. It is interesting to note that the scriptures define God as “God is …” only four times: “God is spirit” (John 4:24), “God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29), “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and “God is light” (1 John 1:5). At least two of these divine attributes directly apply to the Christian journalist (“light” and “love”) and perhaps even the “consuming fire” can find journalistic application. The Christian journalist is to be a modern muckraker, just as the first muckrakers were.

John Bunyan

Lincoln Steffans

John Bunyan (Pilgrim’s Progress) came up with the term: “The Man with the Muckrake… who could look no way but downward.” Lincoln Steffens (1866-1936), known as the original muckraker but no Christian, graciously refused to take credit for inventing the practice of muckraking. Rather, he correctly attributed the original muckraking to Old Testament minor prophets.

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