Are you guilty of enjoying cable news (not ironically)? If Seth Godin is right (and he usually is), the thinking represented in most cable news (left and right) is, um, not so good. Seth writes:
Cable news thinking … amplifies the worst elements of emotional reaction:
- Focus on the urgent instead of the important.
- Vivid emotions and the visuals that go with them as a selector for what’s important.
- Emphasis on noise over thoughtful analysis.
- Unwillingness to reverse course and change one’s mind.
- Xenophobic and jingoistic reactions (fear of outsiders).
- Defense of the status quo encouraged by an audience self-selected to be uniform.
- Things become important merely because others have decided they are important.
- Top down messaging encourages an echo chamber (agree with this edict or change the channel).
- Ill-informed about history and this particular issue.
- Confusing opinion with the truth.
- Revising facts to fit a point of view.
- Unwillingness to review past mistakes in light of history and use those to do better next time.
But there’s a bigger question here than just whether or not you like cable news. It’s this:
Does this kind of thinking creep into the church? Your church? Do you sometimes think like this?
Go through the list again and think about how your church makes decisions about what’s important, what to do next. How it views “outsiders,” how it talks about itself, truth, God, and others. How humbly (or not) it views its past mistakes and failures, and how willing it is to admit them and learn from them.
The reason it’s important is that a church behaving in the ways listed above is dying. Any organization behaving like that is dying. Only a matter of time. Seth finishes with some harrowing words for anyone who has recognized “cable news thinking” in their church, organization, or nation:
If I wanted to hobble an organization or even a country, I’d wish these twelve traits on them.
Awesome post. Cable news makes me sick. People walking around their work places spouting their political opinions as loudly as they can while mocking the other side (while not even caring that people who hold different views are sitting in the same room) makes me sick. It’s gotten to the point that if anyone brings up anything political, I just politely choose not to enter the conversation.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of the same attitudes in church. I live in a very conservative-fundamentalist area. I make sure I keep my personal views on evolution, women, theology, etc. to myself when talking with Christians from different churches. I’d rather talk about things we can agree on.