The late pastor James Atwood believed guns to be the biggest problem facing the American church. Author Jemar Tisby argues that racism and white supremacy are. In Untrustworthy, Bonnie Kristian asserts the largest problem facing American churches is epistemic (epistemic -- of or relating to knowledge or knowing). According to Kristian -- the poisons of cancel culture, conspiracy theories, and skepticism of experts in conjunction with social media algorithms incentivized to make money at all costs are the largest problems facing the American church. Kristian posits that if we can't agree on whom to trust or what is true then everything else is a moot point.
LEARNING CAPSULE: How to Read the News
Keeping up with the news can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Who do you trust? Here is a guide to help you read the news through a Christian lens and with a critical eye (HINT: Think local!)
BOOK: Reading the Times
From newspaper fact checkers to evaluation methods such as S.I.F.T. to diversifying one's news feeds, there is a tremendous amount of time and energy devoted to debunking lies and conspiracy theories. Despite the trend to provide more quality information to the public, according to a 2022 PPRI poll, 60% of white evangelical Protestants believe the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump while QAnon conspiracies ravage large swaths of churches in America. While fact-checking methods and diversifying one's news feed can be helpful, it seems to do little to move people from yelling at each other to holding a respectful conversation. How did the church get here? Is there a theological way of consuming the news? How can we think and act Christianly to the news?
ARTICLE: Information hygiene for social media (S.I.F.T. method)
Practical. Easy to learn and easy to implement. The S.I.F.T. method, developed by professor Mike Caulfield, is a must-learn four-step methodology to use when engaging with and sharing media online.
PODCAST: The Pour Over
In a world of 24-hour news coverage, it is easy to get lost in the shear volume of information. Fortunately, the fine people at The Pour Over Podcast are producing three (M, Tu., Fri.) sub-eight-minute podcasts each week that highlight top news while keeping the focus on Christ.
PODCAST: Turn Off Cable News and Booing Christians
Unfortunately there is little distinction between how Christians and non-Christians react to the news, but hosts Justin Giboney and Chris Butler call on all Christians to be discerning with our media consumption while advocating for media hygiene.
ARTICLE: 6 Questions to Ask When Reading the News
The consumption of news from a Christian perspective should be unique and discerning. Pastor Daniel Darling lays out six questions to ask which involve variety, humility, and patience when we engage with and/or share news.
PODCAST: The Gospel and Fake News
Skye Jethani of The Holy Post and Jesse Eubanks of Love Thy Neighborhood team up to discuss fake news, the role Christians play in spreading it, and how Christians can break out of the fake news cycle.
ARTICLE: News as Spiritual Formation
Most of the news on television involves unactionable items - a murder, a natural disaster, etc. - where there is little that we can do about it - especially if it is on another continent. Anglican priest D.J. Marotta argues that Christians need to be "hyper-local" with our news sources. What this means is being in community with our neighbors, friends, and family where you can respond to information (news) with kindness and love within your sphere of influence.
DAILY E-MAIL: The Morning Dispatch and Daily Briefing from the Week
Two daily e-mail newsletters to help you keep abreast of national and international news.
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