There is a certain type of four fingered writer who always keeps one finger to the wind and five fingers wrapped around the reigns of his hobby-horse. Their self-perceived gift is to take the story of the day, and tie it into the one story that has already captured their heart. Every major news story becomes the occasion to saddle up and ride into the one story the writer can’t give up. Somehow the death of Princess Di, the plight of the Chilean coal-miners, Tebowing, Kony and Trayvon Martin all, in their due time, point out the obvious, that the President is a bad man, or women should dress more modestly, or the Fed needs to be audited, or raw milk is good for you.
I am aware of this tendency among writers because, believe it or not, I fight that tendency. I am mildly aware of what everyone in the world is talking about. I am acutely aware of the one public issue that dominates, though not as much as it should, my own thinking. I in turn am quick to see the connections between the two. Sometimes I fight the temptation to connect the two, sometimes I give in.
When I give in the connection is usually the same. I write a piece in which I ask, “Hey, why is the world so busy talking about x, when my issue is so much more important, so much more compelling? Why are Christians at every office water cooler talking about the media’s talking points, instead of my talking points?” I feel guilty for turning what is often a genuine tragedy of a news story into fodder for my cause.
Today, however, I am persuaded that my habit is the result of our deep disease on this issue. That is, I suspect that all of us would rather talk about today’s story rather than the story precisely because the story is too intense, too revealing, too much a window into the grave evil of the goats and the deep cowardice of the sheep. We would rather talk about Kony than abortion, Trayvon than abortion, even Susan G. Komen than abortion because we are less guilty over all these than we are over abortion. We can look into these comparatively distant, petty horrors because they are both distant and comparatively petty. Abortion, however, is as guilty and horror-filled as hell.
I understand that we all have different callings. I do not begrudge a man bringing the gospel to
India rather than laboring to stop the slaughter here in America. I wouldn’t complain about a pastor counseling a young married couple, rather than gathering signatures for the Personhood Amendment. I am positively grateful for godly men who repair plumbing problems instead of carrying picket signs. What troubles me, however, is that away from our specific callings, we find the time to discuss the news, even to pontificate on the news, while the murder of babies has become old news. The murder of babies is backburner, boring, banal, as common as sin. This does not excuse our guilt, but exposes it. Darkness has come into the world and we perceive it not. We are called, all of us, to shine the light of Christ into the darkest corners of the world. May we begin with our own hearts.