How to watch the nightly news

Joshua Walters

Joe Davis
June 15, 2012

Bonhoeffer's discussion of the second Beatitude in The Cost of Discipleship really blew me away... We seem to treat the Beatitudes as a pharmacy aisle of blessings to "fix our attitude." In this treatment, the second beatitude should only be prescribed for those who are grieving a traditionally-defined loss like the death of a family member or friend. Mourning is never actually considered as something that shapes our life. Bonhoeffer really challenged me to take this call seriously and that is extremely tough to do. What if we really mourned over the loss of men, women, and children in Iraq and Afghanistan - including US troops, Iraqis, and Afghans?

Walter Brueggemann takes Bonhoeffer's call a step further in his discussion of Jeremiah in The Prophetic Imagination. For Brueggemann, Jeremiah's weeping signals that something is deeply, deeply wrong in the present. Empires, or any form of control, cannot tolerate this weeping because they are all about denying the past and the future in order to maintain the present. Mourning brings the present into question. Weeping is a primary tool of prophets as they carry out their role as critics of the dominant consciousness. Brueggemann tells the story of a group of people from a local church in North Carolina (Durham maybe?) who, in response to a surge in killings, would immediately visit the scene of every murder in the city and just mourn... and it made a difference.

Sorry for not actually addressing your questions :). That last one is an especially good one though - for me at least. I enjoy "The Daily Show" along with "The Colbert Report" on a regular basis... I'll have to think on that one a bit more.

June 19, 2012

A few decades ago I heard a sermon where the text was Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things."

The preacher then stated that this was why he did not watch television news. He was serious and categorically pronounced that there is nothing true, noble, etc. on the news and that therefore this verse forbids Christians from watching it.

I wonder how he feels about Genesis 19:30-36?


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