Sunday, December 31, 2006
Steve White, fill-in anchorman!
We're in the midst of a huge storm. It's all ice in Grand Island. No snow.
Timber! Just heard another tree limb go down somewhere near by. That's because it's been raining for the better part of the entire day. At 32 degrees, that's a bad thing. Freezing rain on trees and power lines is trouble. West of here, it turns to snow, although they've had the freezing rain and sleet too.
Power's spotty in Grand Island, but my house seems just fine. However, the TV station I work for is about an hour west. Power went off there around 7am. They've been on generator ever since. That gives the station enough to power the master control room, which is the guts of the station. We have just enough to keep our signals on the air (we're Fox and ABC). But that means not enough to power a studio or newsroom.
So I got called in to anchor from Grand Island, where I run our news bureau.We did the news without a teleprompter, without limited ability to play video, and no graphics.
We were able to power up enough to get the weather guy on from the main studio in Kearney, but that was it
Check this site to see pictures our viewers have sent in.
Church has been cancelled tomorrow, so I'm planning to stay inside and stay warm! Hopefully the power stays on. If not, I have candles, flashlights, and blankets ready!
Monday, December 25, 2006
It's been a fun Christmas so far, having spent time with family and friends. I attended church on Christmas Eve, but enough of the real reason for the season.
Time to talk about the fun stuff Santa brought (and gave)!
I got an Onion book. Those are always fun. And some socks. Always handy. A MST3k DVD set has already found its way into the DVD player.
I also got a cool Mute Math t-shirt. It's sweet.
What would we do without DVD box sets? I never got into Lost, but I will now! This show is addictive!
But while all that stuff is fun, the greatest gift is still the one in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Five years later, the tragedy of people lost in the snow is all the rage. We had James Kim, the CNET editor who set out in the snow after the family car got stuck. Then we had the climbers lost somewhere around Mt. Hood Oregon.
Tragic situations, yes. Worthy of around the clock updates? Probably not.
However, in an age where every headline ends in an exclamation point or a cliff-hanging question mark, it creates plenty of so-called breaking news for the likes of Nancy Grace.
If only South Dakota was Northern California, and Karen Nelson was 30 not 50 when she was lost in the snow. And if only that happened now, not 10 years ago. Her story would have been there too.
We have CNN teaching us how to make a "desperation trench" in the snow. I kid you not. Look at the first video link in the left hand column on this page.
First, I believe this became a story because of James Kim. He works in media, and that propelled his story into the spotlight, when his family turned up missing. The media avalanche began when it was learned his family had survived, while he had died seeking help in the snow.
Then, faintly a week later some guys turn up missing not far away at Mt. Hood, near Portland, Oregon. The reporters fresh off the Kim story had an easy follow-up. Gotta ride the hot story. That's what they're doing now.
I have a feeling the next person to turn up missing in the snowy Pacific northwest will also make headlines.
If it happens in Montana, probably not news. Geography, and population density determine these things. We had a tragic story in Nebraska a couple of years ago about a couple dying in the snow, lost because they were high on meth. There was no national outcry. There was a 20/20 segment months later, but it never broke through the 24 hour news cycle.
Those of us who live in the often arctic midwest know the rules. Dress in layers, pack an emergency kit in your car, don't abandon a vehicle, etc. And I didn't learn that from Anderson Cooper.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
You, a leader in the faith community can meet Sylvester Stallone, yes Rocky, today!
The marketing team that told Christians it was their duty to support The Passion and Narnia now wants you to believe the new Rocky film is a Christian event not to be missed.
And today, you can join Sly on the phone (12:30-12:50 Pacific Time), or so an e-mail tells me.
Motive Marketing said, "Sly would like to take some time to talk to you about the faith and values that run through the Rocky films, and share with you about his upcoming movie, Rocky Balboa, the final chapter in the Rocky story (yes, Stallone himself gets back in the ring!)."
Space is limited! (Although, it's a phone call? Huh? This is quite the PR drivel here.)
Here's what Stallone himself is saying, as he shills himself out to the "faith community"
"In Rocky, if he's just a fighter, then it's just a boxing story, and I told the producers in the beginning, 'It's not a boxing story; it's a spiritual journey. It really is about a man that has been chosen to accomplish a role, to be an example for other people.' "
Interview with New Man Magazine
"If you don't have a great relationship with God, you can go off the deep end. The Christian foundation of life is really the perfect ideal which one should base every decision they make on, because it comes from a sense of kindness, a sense of giving, a sense of fairness, and it avoids everything which I'm exposed to every day in my particular industry which is greed, and avarice and jealousy and bitterness . . ."
Interview with Catholic Digest
They've even found pastors to sell this thing to their churches.
"Life is hard, and faith can help us to face some of those challenges and issues in our past and you see Rocky do that throughout the movies but particularly it comes to kind of a peak in this movie and it was exciting to see."
Senior Pastor, Central Christian Church
Las Vegas, Nevada
"I guess if there's one theme that stood out for me was the whole idea of self esteem. And how important that is to be formed in the family, first of all, and then, if it gets lost along the way, that it can be regained. And that's a good message for people to know, and to hear that there's always hope."
Sister Rose Pacatte
Daughters of St. Paul
So you're telling me I should load up the church van and get the kids to see a movie about... self-esteem? Uh, yeah, great. I'm sure kids will jump at that change to see a 60 year old guy get whipped in the ring so they can share a heart-warming message about self-esteem.
They've even got a website (www.RockyResources.com) offering fodder for Rocky-based sermons.
Ah finally, at the end of the e-mail to faith leaders like me, the caveat I've been waiting for:
Though this is not a religious film, we believe there are many themes ("The Heart of a Champion," "Fighting the Good Fight," "Recovery After a Fall," etc.) that relate to faith and values. But don't take our word for it - listen to Sly himself explain how he has woven these themes into his movies.
I hope this one's down for the count.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Go Big Red! No more "Hail to the Chief" is was the Husker fight song that ushered Pres. George W. Bush before Republicans Sunday.
Will Nebraska go big for the red? Nebraska is one of the reddest states, supporting Pres. Bush with strong numbers in 2004. But it could elect, get this, a Democrat to Congress!
And that Democrat, while he has ties to Nebraska, grew up elsewhere. Scott Kleeb is a Yale grad, who grew up on military bases overseas. He's sold himself as the independent voice the state needs. That message seems to be resonating. Kleeb, a guy whom few had heard of a few months ago, could defeat two term state senator Adrian Smith, a staunch Republican.
Just the thought Nebraska's most conservative district could elect a Democrat has sent shockwaves to Washington, which resulted in the President's visit today.
He spoke at our brand new arena, which is a couple of minutes away from my house. Security wasn't bad. I've seen one sitting president before (Clinton) and one sitting VP (Cheney), not to mention one ex-VP (Quayle). It's nice being the "dean of Grand Island TV repoters" as one cop dubbed me. Having been here longer than anyone has its perks. When I showed up at the door, they knew who I was and bumped me up in line. I had to show my ID to get in, but they already knew who I was.
The President arrived in the building around 4pm and spoke for most of the hour. We went live until about 5:10 and pciked back up for our 5:30 newscast.
Whatever you think of this president, and I'm not going to say one way or the other (gotta maintain that journalistic integrity), it is always fun to see a president. The leader of the free world was there in a building that was just constructed. I had to help host a telethon to raise money for this building, and now the President of the United States is there in front of me. That alone was pretty cool.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Might not be the biggest story of my life. Although, it does sound pretty cool. Kind of fun to have a fun project now and then. Early today I found out I also get to surprise our first teacher of the month winner with my camera, but that's not the secret, because, well, it's not.
October has been filled with political coverage at my TV station. Virtually every day I've seen one politicial or another. Election campaign ads have been brutal here. Ridiculous arguments about who didn't pay their taxes or who's lying more than who.
oh yeah, I'll tell you more about the secret project when it's, uh, not secret anymore! And it has nothing to do with politics, thank goodness!
Saturday, October 21, 2006
For the first time in my career, I stood up to a government body that appeared to be doing public business in private. The particulars aren't that interesting, to be honest. The local Emergency Management office and 911 center are operated jointly by the city and county. Someone from the county noticed an oversight had been causing the county to pay too much over the years, so they wanted a refund from the city.
Well, they went behind closed doors in the county commission meeting to discuss what the agenda called "budget issues."
State law gives public bodies a handful of reasons they can use to meet in closed session. But "budget issues" don't count.
A reporter from the local newspaper stood up and made an objection in the meeting. I was dumbfounded by it all. It caught me off guard. So I went back to the office and drafted a complaint letter with my boss and fired it off to them.
If you're dealing with taxpayer dollars, you need to do it in public, where taxpayers can hold you accountable. At least that was our position.
I cc'd the email to the newspaper, and the reporter included our comments in her story. That was pretty cool.
The press is known as the "fourth estate," an important institution that needs to act on the public's behalf. And this week I feel like we did that. Instead of just taking the easy story that's spoonfed to me by some PR firm, I took a stand to uncover something less sexy, but still important. We have to do that on occasion. Even if our viewers or readers don't care, someone has to do it.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Habitaty for Humanity is just one of the ways our youth group plans to serve this school year. It's something we've talked about doing, but haven't done. This weekend we had at least 15 volunteers who helped side a house in progress. It was very satisfying to see the fruits of our labor. I'm still a little sore. That's more of a workout than I've had in a while.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
It's not a Subaru, but a Chewbaru!
That's right it's art car time in Nebraska. This happens to be a Subaru covered in dentures, false teeth, and dental miscellany.
I got to ride along with the art car folks. They're a little, well, weird, but a fun and harmless bunch for the most part.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Jesus says NO PARKING!
This was taken on my recent trip to Ireland. This was one of those where I saw the image in my head, and I'm sure my family was like "what the heck is he taking a picture of" but I knew all along this is how it would come out, which was exactly what I wanted.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I've worn more hard hats in the last week and a half than I've worn in my entire career. But when your community is in a construction boom, that's what you gotta do. In the last week I got an exclusive tour of the city's new arena and an exclusive tour of a 12 story hospital tower addition, which was pretty impressive. It's the tallest building in town, by far, which gives you a nice view of things.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
That was Sara's reaction. Superman was more of a Christ-figure in Superman Returns than Aslan was in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
This journal article from my neighbors on the eastern side of Nebraska cites several parallels between the superhero and the messiah, and those comparisons are from the '78 Christopher Reeve film.
The new film makes many of the same allusions. Superman is of divine birth, and lives a dual life of human and supernatural at the same time. Then there's Lex Luthor and his cronies playing the role of the Roman guards flogging the messiah. And when it looks like the end for Superman -- the stone is rolled away, as we find he's gone!
Then there's the less than subtle arms-wide-open-on-the-cross-are-you-idiots-he's-Jesus pose as Christ, er, Superman makes his triumphant return.
Does he die? Go see the movie. I'm not going to spoil that one way or another. True to the genre's form, it does look like he's had it, but of course, every superhero movie, well, every good superhero movie makes you think the end is at hand before the hero saves the day.
But no matter to the plot specifics, it's not subtle. Superman is clearly a Christ-figure. An imperfect representation, to be sure. Does it paint an accurate portrayal of Christ? Not a chance. But it does point to the need for a messiah, very pointedly with dialogue like this line from Clark Kent to Lois Lane, "You wrote that the world doesn't need a savior, but every day I hear people crying for one."
Did the first Narnia film make that point? I'm not sure. CS Lewis' Aslan is more like the Christ I know. Did the film of his classic clearly enunciate that? I would hope so, but now I'm not so sure. Sadly, the film that probably should have may not have.
So we're left with Superman, a film that clearly points to the need for a savior, but then presents us with a flawed messiah.
I liked Narnia, but I wanted to like it more. I wanted to be indifferent about Superman, and enjoy it as a popcorn movie, but now I'm torn. I love that it's playing the role of John the Baptist, preparing the way for the Lord, but I'm bugged that its hero ran away, not to mention the sexual tension with Lois. But that's Hollywood. As Sara points out, Superman played it up, Naria downplayed it. The films like Narnia coming from a rich Christian heritage are watered down and the pop culture icons are portrayed as Jesus.
But that's probably overstating it. He stars in both, flawed though they may be, and that's a Hollywood I can live with.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Cornerstone: Tooth & Nail Day
Even the youth group kids have realized there are a lot of crappy hardcore bands here. I haven't listened to much music yet. Did catch the first band of the day, Pilot for Kite. They're a Nebraska band, formerly known as After the Order. They're so excited, because this is their first Cornerstone and one of their first shows as a new band. They've been writing new songs and everything, and were thrilled and maybe a little intimidated to be at Cornerstone. But they're band one on day one, so things didn't go as planned from a technical standpoint, and the guys were disappointed. They did well, considering the circumstances. Technical stuff is a challenge at festival.
Cornerstone: Day 0
After a long day in the van (10 hours with 15 people) we arrived around 9:00 at Cornerstone. By 10 we had our tents up, and it's a good thing we got them up good, because it rained, and rained hard. Around 4 am the heavens opened and thunder and lightning came down.
We're a little soggy, but not too wet. We'll survive. My youth kids from Nebraska are excited because they get to see a local band playing on Tooth & Nail day! Oh boy! I'm not as excited as they are, but it's cool I guess.
More to come later! And to see the official Cornerstone blog, bookmark this address: http://www.cornerstonefestival.com/blog
Friday, June 30, 2006
I was able to find an email exchange from a year ago where my sister sent me her Cornerstone Festival packing list.
This year's festival is only a few days away. Here are some things I'll try to bring, courtesy last year's list:
Tent & tarps & stakes & poles -- and means to get stakes into ground?
Sleeping bag & pillow (optional) & aero bed (optional but good!)
Breakfast foods (since expensive on site and easy enough to do at tent) -- granola/cereal bars, juice packets that can stay good despite the heat (i.e. not OJ that needs refrigeration).
Limited food prep stuff - for sandwiches / etc - knife, napkins, bread, peanut butter ought to do
Cooler / ice / water bottles / etc.?
Shower: shoes, container to take there, 2 towels, clothespins (optional)
Clothing: shoes for mud, shoes for dry, socks, hat
Medical: sunscreen, tylenol-type product, aloe (?)
Other: small mirror, flashlight, camera, batteries, ziploc bags to keep stuff dry in bookbag on rainy days, etc.
Bible & notebook
Here's the one we've found to be quite handy over the years -- instead of bringing my clothes and stuff in a suitcase, I bring it in a rubbermaid container. If it rains, your stuff will stay nice and dry. Of course, if it's hot and humid, you're stuff with get hot and humid in there, so that's an issue. But when it rains, it's wonderful!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
While Christians, including myself at times, bemoan the devaluing of our sacred holidays, especially Christmas and Easter, the same holds true of secular holidays. Most people probably can't tell you the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. People think both are there to honor vets, but that's not completely true. One is for the living, the other for the dead, which would seem to be a big distinction.
Even the national holiday celebrating freedom has been co-opted. When was the last time you heard someone talk about Independence Day in reference to anything but a Will Smith Movie?
The holiday has a name, so why don't we use it?
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
|You Are Marge Simpson|
You're a devoted family member who loves unconditionally.
Sometimes, though, you dream about living a wild secret life!
You will be remembered for: your good cooking and evading the police
Your life philosophy: "You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head."
Friday, May 05, 2006
Monday, May 01, 2006
Friday, April 28, 2006
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006
Sunday, March 26, 2006
1. of all the bands & artists in your collection, which one do you own the most albums by?
Two are neck and neck... U2 -- my favorite band of all time, and the Echoing Green -- my favorite indie band that I've been fortunate enough to enjoy for the last decade, and have even gotten to know them and promote shows and stuff. But there's no question I'm a huge U2 fan.
2. what was the last song you listened to?
U2 - With or Without You just popped up in iTunes
3. what's in your record player right now?
If that means CD player, then the answer would be Family Force 5, a CD I just picked up, but haven't had time to digest yet.
4. what's your favorite instrument?
I have two favorites to play -- drums and piano. There's not an instrument I don't like to listen to. I appreciate well played guitar, bass, cello, violin, turntables, keyboards, banjo, about anything.
5. what's your favorite local band?
Hennepin Ave. Some high school kids who just won a battle of the bands I judged last week.
6. what was the last show you attended?
U2 & Kanye West blowing it up in Omaha just before Christmas.
7. what was the greatest show you've ever been to?
- U2 & Kanye West in Omaha, Dec. '05
- Sixpence None the Richer with Sarah Masen in Minneapolis in '97 or so.
- Over the Rhine at Cornerstone in Illinois a few years ago (2003?), when they had this amazing multi-instrumentalist who produced this huge wall of sound to match the husband and wife duo at the core of the group
- Echoing Green, Five Iron Frenzy November '97 (I think?) my first time seeing EG and Five Iron guys later told me that was one of their best shows ever, and I'd have to agree.
- Other than that, I've seen so many shows, it's hard to even say at this point
8. what's the worst band you've ever seen in concert?
ApologetiX. Fortunately, I only saw a song or two.
9. what band do you love musically, but dislike the member(s) of?
Tough question. There are some bands that I just dig the sound of, but it's hard to get into lyrically. Or some that just seem like jerks, but that's hard.
10. what is the most musically involved you have ever been?
Does being thanked in liner notes for several CDs count? Well, I did play piano on a song that was recorded. I've booked and promoted a music festival. I'm a staff photographer for a music festival. For nearly a decade, I've been an online music critic. I've interviewed bands like P.O.D. and MxPx.
I've also played drums for some church worship stuff.
11. what show are you looking forward to?
Probably Cornerstone -- Violet Burning, Over the Rhine, etc.
12. what is your favorite band shirt?
Probably this old navy blue Sixpence shirt I got at a show (this was before Kiss Me was overplayed on the radio).
13. what musician would you like to hang out with for a day?
Duh, Bono. Who else would I say?
14. what musician would you like to be in love with you for a day?
Hmmm, Bono? That would be brotherly love, though.
15. what was your last musical "phase" before you wizened up?
I never really got into the emo thing, and only liked 2 ska bands. I'm still on the synth / electronica thing, but not like I once was.
16. sabbath or solo ozzy?
Ozzy? A guy who was on the Osbourne's TV show signed my cast when I broke my wrist :)
17. did you know that filling out this survey makes you a music geek?
Of course. I'm a music elitist, didn't you know ;)
18. what was the greatest decade for music?
The '80s maybe? This one hasn't been all bad. I'm not much into '60s or '70s stuff, and while there was some interesting music in the '90s, there was also a lot of dreck.
19. what is your favorite movie soundtrack?
Anything by John Williams
20. what would you be without music?Not much, I don't think. Music encourages me to be better, ask hard questions, love, listen, and grow. It uplifts my spirit, grounds me, and gives voice to the yearnings of my heart I can't even find the words to express.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Tunnels in Nebraska? Believe it. Well, they're more like bobsled runs, but everywhere you go are huge walls of snow. The good news is, the snow has stopped falling. The bad news is, the mounds of snow haven't met their slushy demise yet. 20 plus inches is a lot, even by midwestern standards. Plows have scraped enough snow of the pavement to make it driveable, but now there are massive mounds of snow everywhere. There are piles four or five feet high lining some streets. Last week it was 60. Let's hope next week it is too, so this stuff will be history.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Monday, March 06, 2006
We're gonna score.
We're gonna win Twins,
Watch that baseball soar.
No. 34 has been grounded. No more leaping catches off the hefty bag, no more World Series heroics. No more soaring home runs.
Kirby Puckett died today, and a piece of my childhood did too.
He was a fallen man, undoubtedly, but a hero none the less.
Sure there was the career ending glaucoma and the sordid tales of abuse and infidelity.
But Kirby Puckett smiles at me tonight. Two of his baseball cards sit here on my desk. Kirby, and the Cardinals' Ozzie Smith are maybe the two greatest icons of my youth. I was fortunate to see both play.
As I head to St. Louis this week, I'll definitely remember that 1987 World Series between the two. Not to mention the '91 series between the Twins and Braves, arguably the greatest ever played. And the catalyst for those teams was the undeniably likeable, cherubic ball player.
Crank out a homerun,
Shout a Hip Hooray!
Here's for *the* Minnesota Twin today!
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Lent has arrived, and while I'm not a member of the Catholic church, I am a member of the church universal, the catholic church.
Giving up meat on Fridays just doesn't work for me. But I am going to give up pop (soda, coke, whatever it's called in your neck of the woods).
It's something I can stand to sacrifice, at any rate, and caffeine is a drug, so it can't hurt to kick my drug habit, right?
This is one of those things where modern evangelicalism fails me. Advent and Lent are both full of interesting stuff that's been jettisoned by evangelicals. How often do you hear evangelical pastors encourage congregants to fast, or make dietary sacrifices of some sort for a 40 day period?
I have seen some evangelicals in the last decade who have connected Passover celebrations to Easter and the last supper. I love that. There's so much rich symbolism there, that's often neglected. So maybe there's hope some evangelicals will embrace Lent in a broader way. I realize it's not in the Bible, but megachurches, worship teams, and PowerPoint worship slides aren't either.
Googling the topic, I just found out "fasting, long familiar to Catholics as a Lenten fact of life, is increasingly popular with evangelical Christians striving for spiritual awakening" according to a piece in Slate.
The author goes on to say "Catholics have for so long thought of themselves as the defenders of ritualÂ?the masters of incense, genuflection, and splendorÂ?that it still seems strange to be sharing ash-wearing with Presbyterians and Methodists. But our shared affection of late for some of the old ways of worship represents a small victory for mystery, ritual, and awe."
That's one area emergent (postmodern, whatever) Christianity is swinging the pendulum. That's a rebellion not against evangelicalism or catholicism, but against modernity. Modernism is all about triumph through science, forward progress, scientific method, forumlas, research, etc.
Sometimes, though, we need to step back and realize there's a lot of mystery and awe in our faith. Our Lord died on a cross, and on the third day rose from the dead, ascending into heaven. Scientific research won't help me understand that.
So I'm taking part in Lent, whether or not it's endorsed by my church. The ritual isn't so important as the attitude, and I want to prepare myself for the mystery of Easter, and want to go through a 40 day journey of sacrifice if it'll take my focus off the selfish onto the Selfless one.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Somebody give this guy a job! Some guy named, well if you can't figure it out, Jeff Clark, set up his own website to market himself for what else, a marketing job.
IHiredJeffClark.com is online, and Jeff Clark is apparently unemployed, although a stunt like this is sure to get noticed from some marketing agency.
I'll give the guy props. It's one of those "why didn't I think of it" ideas. But that doesn't mean I can't steal, er, uh, use it as inspiration some day.
Monday, February 13, 2006
A bold statement, perhaps. Every working journalist should sit in a pew once a week. Or folding chair, or whatever it is. While I would hope the motivation would be spiritual or at least altruistic, I realize for some it may simply be a selfish career move. I don't care what drives someone to go to church. Plenty of wrongly-motivated people have probably benefited from some good churchin'.
Hardly a day goes by that I don't turn to a contact from church. Just today, I used several. A local businessman was arrested for some illicit, downright icky behavior involving an underage girl.
Thanks to contacts at church, I know at least one teenage girl who also worked with this man, and another who did business with him.
Then there was the story about my city's odor issue. I started with the routine stuff, digging through city council minutes to see who had addressed the council in the past. Out jump the names of Charlie and Jan. I don't know them well, but we were in the same Christmas program. My church averages 1,000 worshippers on a Sunday morning, so it's hard to know everyone, but that's a discussion for another day.
And while Charlie and Jan may have declined other interviews, because of the common connection, they told me to come right over. How many retired couples do you know who would invite you right over if you told them you were bring a TV camera, mics, and lights? And were going to talk about a hot issue no less?
Not only do church connections lead me to people when I have an assigned story, but they lead me to stories. Not a Sunday goes by when someone doesn't tell me a great story idea. I get so many, I can't use them. I'm a hard news guy, trudging through city council agendas, legislative bills, and court dockets. But I still gather unique takes on things the others don't.
In TV reporting, especially in small to mid sized markets, most reporters are young and single. Professionally, if you want to set yourself apart, plug into different demographics. Get to know older couples, families, parents with teens, etc. Having a church directory with hundreds of friendly faces inside is a blessing at work. Last summer, we had a number of internet sex cases. It was easy for me to find a family to ask what concerns they have about privacy online, and what steps they take to protect their kids.
Plus you'll be plugged in to the spiritual journey of your community. The other reporters in town have finally caught on about The Passion or The Purpose Driven Life. But what's the new thing that Christians are rallying around? Is there a homeschooling movement? A growing emphasis on missions around town? Are churches struggling with tough social issues, or are churches adding staff, starting unique ministries?
I remember my boss was thrilled when I did a story about church construction in town. There were dozens of churches with building projects going on. What does that say about a community's spiritual health? Those are the stories most twenty-something single journalists don't catch. But it's real life for your viewers / readers.
Faith fuels so many lives, yet may be the most underreported aspect of our culture. Sports, entertainment, politics, and business get the headlines, along with the routine beats like crime and education. An education reporter could do a No Child Left Behind story every day of the year. But are they missing things parents really care about?
Even if it's selfishly motivated, get to church. It'll do you good, in a business sense. It extends beyond journalism. I'm sure other professions would benefit from church ties too. But it truly works when you are the church. Give back. Grow in your faith, and help others grow in theirs. Besides, everyone journalist should want to not only know, but live the greatest story ever told.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Jordon writes, "As I read church history, it is rarely full of the complainers and deconstructers. That is the easy part. History is full of the builders."
So what's working?
Relationship building works. How's my church do it? Lots of ways. I help with the youth group, so that's what I'll talk about, since that's what I know.
Our youth group has no bible studies. None. But we do have roller hockey. Granted, we have Sunday school, and a large group meeting, where God's word is the basis for all that's taught. But we've given up on programs. Trying to stuff kids into an organized bible study wasn't working.
We had a bible study. Maybe five kids would come, and if we were fortunate, maybe one even brought a bible. And that's from a youth group of 100+ high schoolers.
It was hard to say we were giving the bible study up. But it wasn't doing anything. It turned into another social hour, and while there was some discussion, it wasn't that productive. It was all the regulars who go to everything, but don't necessarily contribute back. It was too comfortable.
Meanwhile, we've been playing roller hockey in our church gym, er, "multipurpose room". We regularly have a dozen guys, many of whom are unchurched. We pray, do a little devotional, and love on kids.
There's no prep time. We just show up and play. There are kids who are more plugged in to the body of believers than ever before probably because of the fellowship and encouragement they get at hockey. Without that 2 1/2 hour pick-up hockey game on Thursday night, I don't know that they'd feel part of the body. But they do.
Programs are easy to administer. Buy a curriculum and use it. Do what the super hip conference speaker tells you to do. He must be cool, because he's got those thick rimmed hipster glasses and a crazy goatee. I'm not discounting that guy, but he doesn't know your church. You do.
Slapshots may not get it done at your church. But find what does. Some guys in our church play putt-putt golf in the hallways. Whatever. Find ways to plug people in.
It may not be as easy as ordering the latest hot curriculum, but if you really invest in people and God's word, it'll pay dividends, because eternal things always do.
Harkening back to Jordon's comments, don't build programs, build people. That'll make history.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
You are Spider-Man
|You are intelligent, witty,|
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.