Monday, December 1, 2014

Could You Use a Bit of Good News?

Back in the days of homeschooling, I gave my daughter Christine (now an Army-chick, Army wife, and mother) a writing assignment: write the news as if it were really news. This was not some commentary on the lack of intelligent newscasts that flood todays networks -- "In tonight's special report we go behind the scenes at the local McDonald's to see if customers really are 'lovin' it,'" OR "An out of control car careens into a corner full of school children killing nine, a masked vigilante holds a pedophile hostage in a local synagogue for six hours, but in tonight's BIG STORY, rain hits our region again." What I had in mind for this little project was for her to see our world as it really is -- broken, dying, corrupt -- and to recognize this is not news. What is really news is that even on such a planet, among a sinful and selfish bunch of people, the goodness, kindness, peace and love of God exist. Who doesn't look at the News from time to time, and wonder just how bad its going to get? Who doesn't marvel at the depths of depravity to which we have sunk? This is not news. We have removed God from every facet of public life in this gross misinterpretation of church and state. It is much more appealing to crush candy on Facebook or press the "On Demand" button, than to pray and do family devotions. In a society where workaholics and up-and-comers are lauded and genetic lottery winners are promulgated as the status quo, why is it Breaking News that a "quiet, gentle man" snapped and mowed down coworkers in a hail of bullets, or a "wonderful wife and mother" drowned her two small children in a bathtub so she could be free to run off with her crack-dealer? Please don't think I am dismissing any personal responsibility or mitigating the severity of these crimes, but I ask, given our efforts to police ourselves, to remove any obligation to a Higher Authority, to render subjective things like standards and truth, why is this "News?" What, exactly, did we expect?

So, I have decided to complete my own writing assignment. I give to you, Murphyville's Local News at Noon:

Good afternoon, and welcome to the noon edition of Murphyville News. Our top story today is the story of Althea, whose husband has an undiagnosed nerve condition which causes excruciating pain and burning in his legs. Her husband, Larry also suffers from seizures and mini-strokes brought on by a brain aneurism. Althea is trusting God to provide for her and her family, and to heal Larry from his medical conditions. She does get a little down from time to time, but her own story of God's healing and faithfulness is proof to her that God loves her and Larry very much. She clings to the life and the hope she now has in God after He brought her from a life-threatening accident and addiction to a relationship with Him.

A Murphyville man is also crediting God with bringing him out from a life of addiction. It has been three years since Darryl has touched a drop of alcohol, and six months since he has misused pharmaceuticals. He says the Lord gives him strength for the fight everyday. He also believes God was present during the times he was tempted to give in to his addictions, such as when he lost his job. "It was difficult on the entire family, but a group from church took up a collection of food items to stock our pantry, and met with my wife each week to pray for us and shower her with encouragement," he says. Darryl's fellow brothers and sisters in Christ became a visible symbol of the love of God, and ministered to his family in their hours of need. 

In other news, the serial rapist that once threatened the neighboring town of Mount Inez has been apprehended. Police say it was the work of conscientious citizens and prayer warriors that put a stop to this man's reign of terror and his heinous attacks. They believe that without the intervention of Almighty God, this list of this rapist's victims could have grown at an astounding rate. Victims are encouraged to seek treatment at a local counselor. The rapist will be spending his time in incarceration undergoing therapy for his issues and seeking to rid his life of sinful compulsions through Bible study and prayer. One local church has begun praying for each of his victims; another is praying for the rebirth of the rapist himself. 

From our Community Page: The tensions between black and white neighborhoods have ceased after a local rally for Murphyville youth. The theme for the three day event was "Created In God's Image," and focused on the differences and the value of differences between ethnic groups. It also celebrated mankind as a single, united race -- the human race. "The fear and ignorance that sparks the fire of racial tensions is not from God," one youth explained. God created us all in His image; we all have immeasurable value. It's our differences that equip us for His work and make our world beautiful. We should never despise those differences."

And so forth and so on. Look, I know it's a little hokey, but let's face it, bad news sells. We all have this intrinsic desire to see the worst, a curiosity about those things we might not go so far as to do ourselves, to shake our heads and feel better about ourselves because "we're not a s bad as that guy." But none of this is news. Adam stood by and watched while Eve was lured into the serpent's deception. Cain killed Abel. People sought to exalt themselves to godlike power. Sin has been going on almost since the Earth's inaugural revolutions. What is really news -- good news -- is that, thanks to a God who loves us beyond measure, we can work with our hands and feet in this world and our hearts and minds in the next.

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