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

Christian journalist: Rehoboam and the bad boys of the court: respect the newsroom tradition (1 Kings 12:6ff)

I Kings 12:6ff. “Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon…,’How soul you advise me to answer these people? They replied, ‘If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.’ But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grownup with him…”What is your advice? The young men…replied, ‘Tell these people…my little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will make it even heavier. My father scoured you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions’ Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men….So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.”

Ezekiel and Application

Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, ascended to the throne of Israel as the only legitimate heir to the kingdom. As the newly installed king, Rehoboam called together a council of royal advisors, the elders who had served his father. The Solomonic cabinet gave him some prudent advice about patiently governing. But Rehoboam rejected this advice and called together some young Turks for advice. Their advice about governing was much harsher and confrontational – “Establish your authority from the get-go!” This brash advice is the advice he followed. The Israelites’’ in response to Rehoboam’s harshness was to turn to another leader to be their king, Jeroboam, and thus the united kingdom of Israel was divided into the northern tribes and the southern tribes.

My focus is on the message Rehoboam gave to his fellow churchmen, the Israelites, as he followed the hard advice of the young men surrounding him rather than the soft advice from the seasoned elders who had surrounded Solomon. Here is what I take away from this passage for the Christian journalist:

1) As Christian journalist moves into a newsroom, respect the established social and professional order. Be patient with the established customs in the newsroom.

2) Carefully consider the advice and counsel of those senior to you in the newsroom, even if you have a different point of view.

3) Take counsel from everyone in the newsroom. Do not exclude the opinion of anyone.

4) Remember that the people decide who they will follow. You cannot force your opinions on the reader or listener.

5) Be humble in your position in the newsroom. Keep your pride of accomplishment in check. It is the Lord you has placed you in that newsroom.

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