Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fake News, Bad News and Good News

The news has been in the news, lately. People are talking about how the media covers current events and also about what people consider to be news. Is all news the same? What about in the church; what is the content of the church's message?

Fake News
According to Wikipedia, "Fake news websites publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation to drive web traffic inflamed by social media. They are distinguished from news satire, because they mislead and profit from readers believing the stories to be true." It is amazing how facts and truth have become increasingly subjective (based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions). People are quick to believe a thing is true based on what they feel or think.
Some people call this the Post-Truth era. Just last month criticism of Facebook and Google grew for how they allowed their algorithms to disseminate multiple fake news articles to millions of people. Many see a click-bait fake news headline and quickly share the article before taking the time to dive into the validity of the content. It seems articles based on facts are not nearly as “headline-worthy” or interesting to people as those that give social media users a chance to say, “I told you so!”
Christians have no business clicking or sharing this kind of news.

Bad News
No one wants to hear bad news. If we could have our way, bad news would never happen. But, is there a place for the news we don't want to hear? For instance, the Scripture reading for this past weekend from Isaiah 1 and 2 was pretty stark. It told of sins against God and injustice against each other. God, speaking through the prophet, even said that God was no longer interested in people practicing religion inside the Sanctuary if they continued to live poorly outside in the world. It was about how badly we've messed up. This was the reading that churches around the world embraced to get ready for Christmas. What place does bad news have in our lives as Christians? How much bad news (the kind that speaks about sin and our need of a Savior) do we want to include in worship?
Christians cannot grasp our need for Jesus without knowing how bad our own stories have gotten.

Good News
Jesus. The best news ever told. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is the best news. God has made promises to deliver us. We need to focus our vision, and adjust our lives to recognize the evidence that it is already happening around us.
Christians cannot share the good news enough. We are nothing, if not witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. There is nothing fake about that. Grace and peace.

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