Posts Tagged ‘truth’

Okay step one in creating a successful blog post, “write a controversial headline…” and check! This is also the way to gauge how many people read beyond the headline. The amount of hate mail I get will show me.

Fox News lies… I was at my very first conference for our denomination. There was yet another debate over one of several issues that threaten to tear us apart, when a man who I’ve since come to know and respect, (I have the ability to respect people even when I disagree with them) strode to the microphone and shouted “Fox News Lies!” I got myself in a little trouble over that because I was chronicling my experience at the conference in cartoons, and I made one of this incident and posted it online. People to the other side of the issue in question reposted it (among others) to their site and, well let’s just say my site got a lot of attention that day, much of which was negative. Lesson learned.

Here’s the thing, to an extent he was right. Fox News does lie, and so do CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the list goes on and on. You see at one point, you turned on the news, and the reporters could be trusted to tell you what happened. Somewhere along the way, an ideological shift happened.

My suspicion is it happened because the media became somewhat elitist and began to consider themselves to be better and smarter than their audience, the great unwashed, us. They began to “realize” that it was not enough to tell us what happened, but they had to interpret it for us, so that we would understand, and that’s when they started lying. They stopped telling what happened and started telling us what to think. At that point it stopped being about reporting and started to become about advancing an agenda, the house agenda of the network. The by-product of this was that they started to try to destroy and discredit those who dared to disagree.

I honestly don’t believe they think they’re lying, rather they look at all things as to how they relate to the agenda. Add to this they have to feed the beast of a 24 hour news cycle, compete for ratings, and all of the sudden controversy and discord are good for business. We see the fruit of this everywhere we turn. The thing is a very wise man once said “A house divided cannot stand.” His name was Jesus. He’s also the one who said, “I am the truth.” And therein lies the key. In a world where “truth” seems to be becoming fluid, God’s Word is the truth we can depend on.

Those of us who are Christian creatives have been entrusted with, and gifted for, communicating the truth. We can’t afford to get caught up in all this divisive stuff. We need to keep majoring in the majors and communicating the truth that sets men free. Here’s the truth, the media lies because they’re human, and we humans are all susceptible to adopting agendas, so the best thing we can do is grab the right agenda. Truth is not really fluid. Truth is a person, namely Jesus Christ, so let’s use all our gifts to advance His agenda. In a world of lies, let’s be a voice of truth.

A friend of mine on Facebook shared this yesterday and it bears repeating. Did you ever notice there seem to be some people who have a vested interest in keeping us angry? Here’s what Cindy Fetty-Lawliss has to say about it.

“In my feed today
From the right: mass hysteria about Starbucks kicking out officers, Colin Kapernick telling Nike not to make the Betsy Ross shoes, and all the things that need to be boycotted based on these things
From the left: racism revolving around Disney movie character, Trump misspoke at 4th of July in a rediculous way, and all the reasons we need to be angry at Trump and white America.
Am I completely crazy, or is there something out there that wants us to be angry at each other all the time. I am calling propaganda on all of it. I’m tired of letting bots and ad space fuel my feelings. Someone is paying to make us mad. I’m not buying.”

I felt the need to add a comment.

“DING, DING, DING… We have a winner! You nailed it sister. Follow the money. Peace and love are better, but you know what they don’t generate? REVENUE. So the media knows their constituency and reports accordingly. An angry populace keeps watching. Watching increases ratings. Ratings drive advertising revenues. Advertising revenues equal MONEY AND MONEY IS POWER at least in their world! They gain wealth, power and authority by keeping us at each other’s throats and as a result they cannot (with some exceptions) be trusted. Big media is bad, social media is worse, because too often we share things ad infinitum without considering whether or not they’re true. (“You shall not bear false witness, remember?) What should we do instead? It’s nose to the grindstone time. It’s speak the truth in love time. It’s love your neighbor time and dare I say it, it’s SPREAD THE GOSPEL TIME! Thanks for posting this!”

Brothers and sisters, as followers of Jesus, we are in the “truth business,” especially since God has given us gifts that are often related to communication. It is our job to speak that truth in love. Not trying to anger others, not trying to win others to our side, but speaking the truth. If the truth offends, that is really the problem of the offended, unless we are saying it in such a way as to be deliberately offensive. One of the great ways to check yourself is with a few questions, such as:

• As I share this, do I have the person’s best interests at heart?
• Do I care about them and am I trying to genuinely help them?
• Am I treating this person like I would if I knew Jesus was watching/reading and would He be pleased? (Because He is watching/reading.)

Friends there are a lot of things in this world that need a comment, and more than a few on which we should take a stand, but which stand. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the eternal thing and a good eternity requires Jesus. Will your action, post, comment or creation bring someone closer to Jesus or drive them further away?

Keep the main thing, the main thing?

I had this idea for sort of the ultimate creative exercise, that would have proven the ultimate point I am trying to make about discourse in our world. With all the talk about “fake news” it would maybe not have been thought as original as I would like to be, but if could have done some real good.

What I was going to do was to make up a story—a totally plausible–something that could actually have happened and yet just preposterous enough that all but the most gullible among us should second guess it. I was going to write it and check it and then I was going to give it a tantalizing title and put it out on Social Media, acting outraged over what I had just heard and seeing how many people would distribute it. Then after about a week I was going to write a secondary article denouncing it and showing people how quickly fake news and false teaching are disseminated and how wrong it is to share things we don’t know to be true. I had all intentions of doing this, but I didn’t. Here’s why.

1. I live to honor God. He gave this law about not bearing false witness and I am pretty sure it still applies here. Even though I was trying to prove a point, I would have been guilty of false teaching, gossip and a whole bunch of other things.

2. I value my credibility. A big part of doing what I do hinges on people believing me. Also important is that people feel safe sharing what I post. What would happen if I started to put things out there that would make people constantly wonder, “Is he trying to trick us this time too?”

3. Rebottling Genies is hard. What if someone read the first story and not the second. What if my story was passed along and the people who saw it were unaware of the retraction or the point behind the exercise. Things on social media have the potential to spread and take on a life of their own. I can’t even begin to imagine that I would be able to reach everyone touched by something I’ve posted with a single retraction. I’d simply be guilty of misinformation. There are other reasons as well but these are the big three.

Why did I share this? Because there are people all over the “inter-webs” who do not have my scruples. They post things for the sole purpose of getting people to share them, spread lies and turn people against each other. It may be the ultimate misuse of creativity. So the next time you get outrages over something you read online, before you pass it, take a breath, calm down and maybe do a little research. People always joke, “I read it on the internet, it must be true.” You know why people laugh when they say that? Because it is so obviously untrue. Watch what you post and what you repost and share. The internet gives a platform to anyone and everyone who wants one, We’d be lying to ourselves if we thought all those people posting are honest and with our best interests at heart.

Use your platform for good and value the trust of the people who give you their time.

Speak the truth. Post the truth. People are watching.

You’ve probably been hearing about this a lot lately, the idea of fake news. I have to tell you the truth today, fake news is for real. Is it true, of course not, but, and this is something anyone who wants to communicate any message needs to learn, to the vast majority of the public, perception is reality. Think about how many people believe all manner of things after having seen nothing more than a social media meme. Can I tell you the truth? I can generate about four memes an hour, more if I use other people’s images and content and if I didn’t care about truth, I think I could make most people believe anything I put out there. That’s the power if imagery and media and many people are dong just that and deceiving the masses.

Now to be clear I do care about truth, but you have no idea the temptation I have been under to roll out a fake story, just to watch it get legs and then tell people, “I made it all up.” It would be a great way to make this point. Why haven’t I done it? Because like I said before, I care about truth. I’d never want to be responsible for perpetuating a lie, even to prove a point. Also I value the people who come to this site to read and learn and I would never want to lose credibility. I value your trust. Of course all of this pales in comparison to the fact that I’m a minister of the Gospel and as such I represent the personification of truth, Jesus Christ.

Guys there is tremendous power in a story. We can do great good in the form of telling stories. We can also generate tremendous harm and it is important that we are careful with what we share. Do you know this thing to be true? Can you prove it? Will sharing it do more harm than good? All of these questions should help us to decide what to (and what not to) share. Getting caught up in a lie, even unintentionally will destroy (or at least damage) your credibility. Perpetuating a lie on purpose is downright diabolical.

Brothers and sisters, we who claim the name of Christ, have got to get our stories straight. We are called to speak the truth in love, and in this mission, both elements are essential. Love without truth is a lie (and ceases to be love) and truth without love is usually just plain mean (and probably won’t be heard.) All these fake news stories leave us in a place of being less and less sure what we can believe. That can be a benefit if it makes us do our homework, but for the most part, not being able to take anything at face value erodes trust to the point where most people have no idea what to believe. We need to tell a better story. Thank God we have the greatest story ever told in our arsenal. We Christians always need to lead with truth wrapped in love. It will not always be popular, but it will always be right.

A famous man once said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” This is precisely the aim of fake news, and it cannot be denied because fake news is nothing but a lie that contains enough of a ring of truth that when repeated becomes believable. That famous man was Adolph Hitler, a man responsible for the death of probably upwards of 11 million people, mostly as the result of believable lies. We can and must do better.

Get the facts before you spread information. Tell a better story, and speak the truth in love. Put an end to the fake news. After all it is the truth that sets us free.

There’s an old saying, “What I feed grows. What I starve dies.” This is crucial, especially in the realm of belief. If we will believe that we are worthless, that we have little to offer, that we can’t make a difference, that we aren’t creative, we feed a negative mindset that makes perception reality. It’s literally a self-fulfilling prophecy. Likewise, if we will believe that we have value, that we have something (maybe even great things) to offer, that we can make a difference, that we are creative, we feed a positive mindset that will make those perceptions reality. Who you are depends first and foremost on who God made you to be, but secondly, it depends on what we believe we can be, what we believe we are. What mindset are you feeding?

Remember this truth. Think your value is low or nonexistent? Consider the price your Lord paid for you. He gave His only Son to die in your place. Sounds like he finds you far from worthless. Second, If you believe you have nothing to offer, consider that Scripture says you are created in Christ Jesus to do something good that God planned in advance of your birth. You were quite literally created on purpose. If you believe you can’t make a difference, look at the people throughout Scripture who, though seemingly small and powerless, ended up doing great things and having tremendous impact. From the boy sold into slavery by his own brothers who ended up becoming prince of Egypt and saving his people, to the child of slaves, raised in the house of kings, who ended up tending sheep before becoming the leader of his nation, who God used to rescue his people, to the guy born in a stable who ended up saving the world. God seems to love humble beginnings.

Think you’re not creative? If you’re a Christian, Scripture calls you a child of the ultimate creative. Scripture tells us we are more than conquerors, children of the King, etc. etc. etc. The enemy of our souls, who’s been bent on our destruction from the beginning of time, has a lie to combat every one of God’s truths and promises. He lies because He hates you and wants to ruin you, yet, for some reason, when it comes to ourselves, we seem to find it easier to believe his lies that our loving Father’s truths. What we believe in these matters has a huge impact on who we will become.

What beliefs are you feeding?

truthI spend a fair amount of time on here talking about telling stories. I believe it’s a great way to communicate a message and many parables seem to tell us Jesus agrees. One thing we have to be careful of though is that the stories we tell are true. A local collegiate newspaper ran a story on how the school was putting mind controlling drugs in the water???? Seems a bit unlikely to me, especially since the author was anonymous. Someone needs to run a fact-checking class for the editors of said publication, but I digress.

Then a little earlier today, I saw a story from a major online news source alluding to the “fact” that one of the presidential candidates, Rand Paul, does not have a college degree. My first thought was if he has risen to the level he has achieved, he doesn’t need one, and if he is smart enough to get people to elect him president, he’s probably smart enough to do the job. I know many people will not agree with my thoughts on this, and I am fairly sure this is what the new source is banking on. People who would take the time to read the story, would see that while he does not have a bachelor’s degree, he is an ophthalmologist by training. How does one become a doctor without a degree? Well in Paul’s case, he basically tested out of college and was accepted to his medical school before finishing his bachelor’s. This changes the whole story doesn’t it?

This particular media channel seems to have been banking on something I’ve learned after 30 years in the field of communications… People don’t read. They seem to have wanted to discredit Mr. Paul by sharing a half truth in the beginning, and then burying the whole truth further down, knowing the vast majority of people won’t read that far. This to me is unconscionable.

Please don’t misunderstand. This is not about politics. I know very little about Mr. Paul and I have no idea if he is a viable candidate or not. This is about something bigger than politics. This is about checking your sources. Knowing what you believe and who you can trust. In general this is about the supremacy of truth. Unless we are creating works of utter fiction, the truth is important. I know it can be tempting to overlook some facts, to move an agenda forward, but the other name of a half truth is a lie. For those of us who follow Christ, the importance of this is compounded many times over.  We after all are supposed to be followers of the One who said “I am the truth…” Truth matters, and for those of us who’ve been entrusted with the greatest truth ever, it’s essential. People catch us in half truths and they will question everything we say, with disastrous results. The truth is pure. Add to it or take from it and it ceases to be truth. People need the truth, and yes Jack Nicholson, when it comes to the Gospel, we CAN handle the truth. Watch your sources. Check your sources. Tell the truth.

Remember what Jesus said, “…The truth will set you free.”

Okay don’t run away scared. I am not really asking because I want to know. It’s the title of Andy Andrews’ new book. Don’t worry he doesn’t want to kill 11,000,000 people either. What he is really looking at is the value of the truth. It’s a short book to be designed to be read in less than 15 minutes. The conclusions he comes to are staggering and amazing. This is a dark story and a true story. This book has everything to do with leadership, citizenship and nothing to do with politics (and yet maybe everything to do with politics.)
Here Andy’s description in his own words.

Here’s the introduction in case you’re wondering if I’m playing politics.