Monday, August 4, 2014

Ecclesiastes 2014

The writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

It's always been true of media: "If it bleeds, it leads." Tragedy sells even better than scandal, although the shock value of either makes for great copy, great viewership, and generates great financial rewards. A tragic sex scandal = a grand-slam home run.

"This news story has legs." (People will be talking about it for a long time.) We've even seen a newscaster commit suicide live on TV.

The same approach holds true in the 21st century, if you're discussing the church. Books, magazine articles, and various Internet formats (blogs, forums, e-zines) follow the same mantra: if it bleeds, it leads. Or when it comes to churches, leaders, and even congregants, the paraphrase might read: "If it trashes, it dashes". (In other words, if it's a negative slam, it will gain a much wider readership. It will "have legs".)

Larry Norman recorded Something New under the Son, but there's nothing new in today's publishing. Church-bashing is a sure-fire hot seller. Lists of "10 Ways Pastors Screw Everything Up" or "27 Gazillion Problems with Christianity" will take off like a heat-seeking missile have legs. 

Positive suggestions, thoughtful reflection, attempts to appeal to Scripture for proactive solutions = boring. 

Because these publishers know what sells (or generates website traffic, multiplies 'likes', or gets re-tweeted): If it bleeds, it leads. Negativity has legs. People don't want solutions. There's nothing sexy about moving positively forward. 

I'm not suggesting that a good, solid, investigative critique isn't necessary and beneficial at times. I wouldn't have written Detoxing from Church or Post-Charismatic if that were the case. But when I look at the average "likes" that any given article might receive, it's stunning to realize that negativity is way more popular than trying to find positive solutions. Negativity has legs.

There is nothing new under the sun, indeed. What has been, will be again.
Except that we follow Someone who has promised that He is making all things new (Revelation 21:5). We have to look to the future to find hope for the future.
This video is based on Ecclesiastes 1, and yet resolves with the promise that Jesus made. I hope it encourages you to keep that promise in mind. (And I'm blown away that my son not only "gets it", but that he wrote such a powerful song about it.)

No comments:

Post a Comment