We’re Not A Hate Group, We’re Just Like Any Family With Crazy Uncles
Skye Jethani’s recent article in Out of Ur explains what happens when prominent Christians face the media…
Sadly, when sensationalism sells it’s going to be the crazy uncles in Christendom that get media attention. Over time this creates the popular perception that all Christians share the views of those spotlighted by the media, especially among those who have no un-mediated interaction with Christians themselves. But there is an even more dangerous side-effect of the media’s elevation of Crazy Uncle Christians. With access to the prestige and platform that comes with media attention, Crazy Uncles actually start to influence the views of more Christians. In other words, the tail starts wagging the dog. Christians too start believing the church is a hate-mongering, homophobic, and theocratic special interest group. This is the trap evident in Michael Cheshire’s post. He’s accepted the media’s narrative of American Christianity as reality.
I think most Christians know them, the crazy uncles. Uncle Pat, Uncle Oral and lately Uncle Mike Huckabee and Uncle John Piper have demonstrated that case of foot-in-mouth disease. Jethani is correct, I believe, but in my view it raises a bigger question. Why does this happen? Is the temptation for mass media dissemination of the message too irresistible? Do we really believe that getting a message out, especially if we consider the message a good thing, to be a good thing? He’s right, the tail has been wagging the dog. Media shapes and forms the message as it pleases no matter how sincere and honest the messenger may have intended it.
It’s for that reason that I believe if the MSM had been around in the early years of the Roman republic when Jesus showed up that He would’ve shunned them, let alone chastised them. Like Christ being questioned by Pilate, He would’ve been an uncomfortable interview. He would’ve been set up by media as a crazy uncle to believers and unbelievers alike as He’s asked to explain His miracles performed. Many of His followers didn’t continue and left because of His hard teaching.
It may appear desirable to get the message of Christ out to as many as possible by using mass media. The internet is a great thing, but it has no personal touch. Perhaps that is one reason Christ entered the world when He did. No television or radio to speak to nameless, faceless individuals, but the spoken word would be widely disseminated personally, with the testimonial impact of the witness. In the environment of the MSM, impassioned liars carry as much weight as truth.
In my opinion it’s time the major networks and news outlets were mercilessly avoided. It’s clear their intention is news, and it’s their intention to make it anyway they choose. Christianity has its crazy uncles just as any family does. Christianity needs to handle them the same way.