Friday, August 25, 2006

Nothing News

Let's face it; the news is ridiculously depressing, most if not all of the time. Call me aloof or out of the loop or an escapist, but most of the time, I'd really rather not read it. I love G.K. Chesterton's insight on how unrealistic the reports can be (if this is your first taste of Chesterton, read slowly and savor it like steak!): We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, “Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,” or “Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.” They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complex picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority. - The Ball and the Cross (1910) Thoreau once said we should "read not the Times, but read the Eternities." The Times, so often, are full of our falleness: the gashing disobedience, the destruction, the diabolical division that our greed unleashes upon the world. But in the quiet of the every day where we live, I believe most of us are making heroic choices; selfless leaps into the lives of others in a million little ways. I believe most of us work and sweat and offer up our being for the betterment of our families, friends, and communities. Maybe we volunteer time, or we pray for those who ask; we go to church on Sunday and maybe more often than that. We read some scripture (even just a little of that antidote can kick the poison out of our Times). We appreciate kindness, and offer it ourselves from the roadways to the foodstore, throughout the day. When we put God or others before ourselves, we open a door that lets Eternity enter the Times. The doorways are all around us! It's a "thousand times more common." This news, that God is REAL, that life is GOOD, that we are LOVED, is rarely printed or shouted from the rooftops. But this good news (so good!) is the quiet revolution that keeps the planet spinning.
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