One thing about exercising at Planet Fitness are all the TV screens. They’re hanging from the ceiling all in front of the bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, and what not. For a while, some of them were showing reruns of Charmed on TNT. Lately all the screens in front of me have been on the news. And over the last few days, I’ve noticed something about the news and makes me ask: But is it news worthy?
What struck me this last Monday (I was going to write this on Monday but got busy) was what was on the news. As I’m on the bike, trying to watch my podcast, my eyes kept flickering up at the screens and what was on the news. To my far right, a few screens over was CNN. They were rotating between the Japanese hostage situation with ISIS, looking at who the prisoner was they wanted released, the situation in Nigeria with Boko Haram, and the pending blizzard about to hit the Northeast. Every so often there was something about the whole New England Patriots and “deflate-gate.” I looked to my far left, and I saw a segment from a Christian broadcasting show about a woman in Africa (I didn’t catch the country or region) who had lost two children due to water born illnesses. The broadcast talked about the need for clean drinking water in the village and how to make it happen. The next screen closer was about the situation between some British pop star ripping off a Tom Petty song and the issues of intellectual property, copy rights, and international law.
But the three screens in front of me was what caught my attention. They were showing the morning shows from CBS, ABC, and NBC. One was talking about the fashion successes and fails of stars on the red carpet during the SAG awards. NBC kept going over this Super Bowl add staring Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel. And another was looking at the up coming puppy bowl and the winners and losers of the SAG awards.
All the news which comes from these stations are usually hard hitting. And I understand that it was the morning, but still, something stirred inside of me. With all that was going on, did I really need to see how fabulous someone was over and over again? Did I really need to see the segment on how adult footed pajamas are coming into style (oh, please no). Was this really news?
It makes me wonder sometimes, with all that’s going on in the world today, does some of this stuff really matter? Or is it stuff that we look at so we can ignore the more horrid stuff that’s going on?
On the way home Monday, my wife (we exercise together) asked me if I had been paying attention to the news on the TV screens. I said yes. She began to go into how frustrated she was about the fluff being shown when there were more important things happening. Did they care? Were they trying to ignore it? Were they trying to show something else to get our minds off of it?
It makes me wonder.
I think to the Bible. God is the God of nations. He was angry about the evil being done in the nations around Israel. He gave “woes” to these nations for the oppression of others. He even sent Jonah to Nineveh because their violence and evil had become such an a front to Him. His prophet Amos gave woes to the various countries who had done Israel wrong. But then Amos also gave woes and judgments to Israel themselves for not doing what God’s Law, God’s word, had instructed them to do.
The prophet Isaiah speaks about God’s people being a light to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). And in doing so, showing love, kindness, mercy, compassion to all.
Now, I’m not saying that we all need to go out there and march on DC to make changes or to have huge protests and riots over it. Nor am I saying that we should be slacktavists and change our profile pictures and do short posts for an hour on Facebook or do a quick tweet about it and be done with it.
I’m saying that we should actually care. We need to look past the fluff and see what truly is news worth. And when we see what truly is news worthy, we can begin to truly pray for this nation, for this world, and for the person down the street.
When we begin to look at the news, truly look at the news, we can begin to pray about what’s happening in the world. We can pray “Come, Lord Jesus, come and heal this dry and weary land.” We can pray for healing, for peace, for restoration.
Look for what is truly news worthy and pray and then look at how you can live this prayer.