Daryl and I did a crazy thing a couple of months ago. In a digitally-defined world, we subscribed to a newspaper. A real, honest-to-goodness, newsprint newspaper.
You guys, it gets delivered to our house. I read it while I drink my coffee. If I run my fingers across its pages, they get smudged with ink.
I know, right? We’re such rebels.
Around the time the Internet started exploding (*cough* November 2016 *cough*) we realized we didn’t need our news shouted at us.
We want to be engaged and informed. Yet in the swirling mass of digital news, cable news, Internet propaganda, and general hysteria in the public sphere (I’m looking at you, Twitter), thinking deeply about issues becomes more and more difficult.
I’m not saying there’s not serious stuff going on. There is. That is why practicing critical thinking, deep reading, and careful analysis is even more important than ever. That’s why prayer is more important than ever.
So what to do?
After much prayer and discussion we decided to follow the wisdom of the Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth, who once put it, “Take your Bible and your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.”
Though he said this in 1963, it’s no less true today. In fact, it’s even truer in a way Barth never intended.
Instead of listening to talking heads tell us what we should think about this or that, letting the flames of our anxiety get fanned by social media, or reading whatever a news website wants to serve up on its front page moment by moment, we read slowly and deeply about the issues ourselves.
The paper we get is just the Sunday edition, so we don’t drown in pages we’ll never have the time to read. We give ourselves the week to read it and we talk about what we’ve encountered. We’ve also subscribed to a couple of magazines from different ends of the political spectrum, to get a fuller picture of what’s going on in the public sphere.
Bible first. News second. Both in print.
It’s been a breath of fresh air, and a path to greater soul space for us both.
How do you like your news?