St. Peter's Blog 'Are we our own worst enemies?' from St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – North Wales, PA's Blog

Are we our own worst enemies?

Friday, Feb 13, 2015
Author: Pastor Andreas Wagner

This is about the curses of 24/7 news coverage and the fate of Kayla Mueller.

In terms of getting news you may call me old fashioned. I still love my paper with news and analysis that are at least a day old, which seems like an eternity these days. My second favorite source of knowledge about the world is the radio, and yes, I might as well confess, National Public Radio. I also every once in a while look at online sources, often connected to the bigger newspapers. TV? No thank you! Thank you very much!

Only when I am working out in my fitness club as part of the sweat dripping crowd on the cardio machines, do I get some TV news coverage. It's usually CNN, and it never fails to renew my disgust (yes, I am using this strong word here) for the endless string of disturbing images and sensationalist coverage. It's even more disturbing to me when it's about truly serious matters, such as the recent death of American hostage Kayla Mueller in Syria.  Of course nobody is helped by this type of 24/7 coverage with more repetitions than a ballet class. Quite the opposite. The viewer will get either desensitized or depressed. The bad guys get free coverage on the global news market and leverage with our government and political system. The family of the victims are certainly not helped by this. Why are we doing it? To feed our appetite for sensation? Because we can? By presenting this constant menu of disturbing news we are helping no one and in fact become our own worst enemies.       

I have strong feelings of sympathy for the fate of Kayla Mueller and the grief her family will continue to experience. She obviously was a strong and high principled young woman who took her Christian faith seriously and understood like few people of her age that God can be found in suffering. I often think that we too easily label military personnel heroes (which is true for many, but by no means all of them!) while the same should be said for many aid workers who enter the front lines of disease, war and famine. To me Kayla was a heroine, despite or perhaps even because of her own awareness of how her bold actions and risk taking impacted her family at home in Prescott. I tend to think that we need more people of that ilk. And I don't think that CNN or any of the big TV outlets are necessarily helpful in inspiring people to sacrifice much of anything on behalf of a bigger idea. May God bring up more people like Kayla!

February 13, 2015  Pastor Andreas Wagner        

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