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The Blues...or Good News?

I once read that the top three causes of depression in the United States are ABC, NBC, and CBS. Now that we are saturated with 24 hour cable news programs, it wouldn't hurt to add a few more: CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc. These past two days (Wednesday & Thursday 6/9-10/09) headlines on msnbc.com included these:

    * Banking system faces rough road ahead (rising unemployment and falling house sales).
    * White supremacist accused of Holocaust Museum killing had a long history of hate.
    * 3 kids die as police chase ends in crash.
    * Foreclosures up 18% over last year.
    * Budget deficit hits record for May of $189.7B.
    * Pakistan shootout kills 23 officials say.
    * American Dream Team to Wage Afghan War.
    * Bird flu can linger in landfills.
    * Danger in the yard: Toxic plants pose pet threat.
    * Spike in swine flu cases may signal pandemic
    * Gov. Palin: Letterman's jokes "perverted."

All this reminds me of a statement by the late great newscaster Paul Harvey. Concerning headlines he said, "If it's not black, bleak, or bloody it won't make page one." And Harvey wasn't celebrating that, he was bemoaning it. David Brinkley's career as a newscaster spanned close to 50 years (1951 to 1997). Concerning the nature and quality of news coverage on TV he said, "The one function that TV news performs very well is that, when there is no news, we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were." American writer and publisher Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) summarized a newspaper editor's job this way (perhaps with tongue only half-way in cheek): "An editor is a person employed on a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed." Thus the familiar line, "And now, the news" can easily become -And now, the blues- if we don't sift all the stuff we hear and see on "the news" through the filter of faith! The Bible says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith in God reminds us that even when a swine flu pandemic threatens, we can have perfect spiritual health through Jesus Christ "by whose stripes you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24). In a world where Iran and North Korea pose a growing threat of nuclear war, Christians enjoy a "peace which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). Even when the stock market falls, our heavenly portfolio maintains it value through "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8). Headlines may blast us with news of hatred and killing and the taking of life, but the Bible blesses us with its unchanging message that "God is love" and that Christ came that we may have "abundant life" (1 John 4:8b; John 10:10b). The bank may foreclose on my house here, but Christians look forward to a heavenly home being prepared by Jesus (John 14:1-6)! I may lose my job at the factory or office, and my savings may evaporate, but I have an inheritance unaffected by economic slow-downs and unemployment (1 Peter 1:3-4). Don't let bad headlines ruin your views and give you the blues — remember God's good news!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ