Sunday, March 02, 2008
MY TRUE CONFESSION
Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:
I'm making my confession. For years I've had a secret life. What I'm about to say may shock and even scandalize you.
Okay--I've got your attention. So, here goes:
I'm a closet listener to NPR--National Public Radio. In fact, I'm an addict. I know, NPR is generally no friend to Christians or to the issues that concern us, but I love the format, style, sound and depth of NPR reporting. I get really tired of sound-bite length stories that barely scratch the surface. NPR has always been great at depth--and that smooth, pleasant, calming pace with which they deliver the story. I always look forward to doing interviews with NPR journalists (and I've done many) because while they may not always be fair, they're always courteous and give me plenty of time to answer.
While I'm in this cathartic stream, I'll be even more transparent: I love the angle of Fox News and the national afternoon radio talk shows, but the older I get, the less I can stand their frenetic pace.
Thus, I have searched and searched for a source of news and commentary that delivers a Christian (or at least morally conservative) perspective on the big issues of the day, but without the frantic, breathless, superficiality.
I think I've found it! It's called Mars Hill Audio.
I'm sure you get the connection with the name, but just in case it slips your memory, Mars Hill is a location near the Acropolis in Athens. It's where the Apostle Paul engaged the Athenian philosophers on the identity of their "unknown God." (In that amazing sermon, St. Paul winsomely deals with his subject and his audience by connecting with their religious traditions and even their poetry. It wasn't only anointed, it was a stroke of absolute genius!)
Well, I digress. Back to the point.
A guy named Ken Myers put Mars Hill together. He has background experience with NPR and reflects the same sort of "sound" NPR produces. I've never been one for criticizing mimicry--it is, after all, a form of flattery. Then there's the old adage, "You don't have to reinvent the wheel." I agree. If you can get plans for a wheel rather than have to sketch it out from scratch, you're ahead of the game. NPR fell on a very appealing format and texture; it's about time a Christian version appeared. "There's nothing new under the son," as Ecclesiastes declares, so you know NPR got it from somewhere. Anyway, I'm the odd Evangelical that actually believes it was a great strategy for the early church to have taken pagan festivals and "converted them" by giving them new names and Christian meaning. God bless Ken Myers for doing the same with the "NPR sound."
All this to say I'm going to give the Mars Hill Audio Journal a try. Maybe you'll do it with me and we'll compare notes. If enough get on board and we see this is a real help to what all of us are doing together through Faith and Action, I'll prayerfully think about a major effort to promote this apparently wonderful contribution to the evangelization of our American civilization. Maybe I'll even get Ken Myers to do a future Faith and Action Live! Missionary Field Report webcast with me.
Two big headlines today: Tim Geoglein, President Bush's liaison to groups like ours, resigned Friday under a cloud after eight years with the White House. He admitted to extensive plagiarism in a regular column he wrote for an Indiana newspaper. Plagiarism is a violation of the Commandment against stealing (I treated it in my book, Ten Words That Will Change A Nation) and it can be a violation of law. Geoglein is likely not to face any legal or even civil penalties for his transgression, but sadly it has him leaving in ignominy. Please pray for Tim and his family.
Barack Obama has officially introduced New Testament theology into his presidential race. During a recent town hall style meeting on a university campus he defended his support of same-sex unions by citing the Sermon on the Mount and diminishing the moral authority of the Book of Romans. The Illinois senator also said his support for unlimited abortion does not make him any less a Christian. ("Okay?"--to quote him.) On the subject of his Christian faith, he stated for the record, "I am a Christian. A devout Christian. I have been a member of the same church for 20 years, pray to Jesus every night . . ." Here's the whole story:
I'll write more on these . . .
Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd St., NE
Washington, DC 20002