I am not a news junky at all. If anything, when it comes to keeping up on world events, I have the tendency to fall into the “ignorance is bliss” camp. But I also recognize that being prepared to offer biblical responses to current events is an important part of my Christian witness in the world. It’s just that the thought of scrolling through dozens of news sites a day to know what’s happening in the world sounds to me like medieval torture.
In this age of information overload, attention is valuable. And there are few things as potentially exhausting and time-wasting as trying to stay abreast of the
Some believers have completely given up on keeping up with the news altogether. I understand the reaction, but I do not think that it is entirely wise. Christians can stay informed without being drained.
The exhaustion of keeping up comes from having to filter through so many different information sources. But keeping up with the news doesn’t have to be exhausting if you get someone to the do the filtering for you.
Here are two resources I use to keep my finger on the pulse of the news stream without going insane:
The Briefing by Al Mohler
Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has a short daily podcast each weekday where he presents “news and events from a Christian worldview.” On each episode of The Briefing, Dr. Mohler gives a brief overview of just a handful of issues being covered by the news media and then offers his take on a Christian response to them.
My wife and I often listen to this on our drive into work, and not only does this program keep us informed, but Dr. Mohler’s commentary teaches us to be better thinkers in general.
The Christian Daily Reporter
My other go-to source for news is The Christian Daily Reporter (CDR). Curated by Adam Ford, creator of Adam4d.com and The Babylon Bee, this Drudge Report style news aggregator offers a simple one-page overview of everything Adam thinks is of importance to Christians.
What’s great is Adam does the heavy lifting of sifting through all the nonsense. So I just get a snapshot of what’s going on from the headlines. And I can jump in further if a story interests me.
I’ve set CDR as the homepage of my browser. It is the first thing I read when I sit down at my computer each morning.
A Note on Bias and Trust
Idealists will object to my encouragement to depend on these kinds of news sources. They believe this reliance on a news filter rules out one’s ability to hear “both sides of the issue.” Therefore, my understanding of the news will be biased and so will be my opinions. I respond to that in three ways:
1. Objectivity Impossible
First, I cannot get an objective presentation of the story. Objectivity is a function of omniscience which belongs to God alone. All news reporting is agenda-driven, lacks some facts, and fails to report the whole story. News, after all, is primarily an entertainment medium designed to sell ads. If I were a cynic I would move that we rename the news “slightly more consequential gossip.” But that’s neither here nor there. All I’m saying is that it is naive to think that it is possible to obtain an objective perspective by reading “all sides of the story.”
2. Begin with Spin, Dig Deeper Then
Second, granting the objection that a news aggregator, especially one with commentary, is adding bias to my news intake, I still see no problem with using an aggregator as a starting place. Even the way in which Adam organizes the stories on CDR or frames the headlines reveals his own biases. That’s not a bad thing. Nor is it a blinding thing, as long as we understand that that is what’s happening. Just because I get my headlines from The Briefing or CDR does not somehow prevent me from digging deeper into a story.
3. Sipping is Better Than Drowning
Third, I want to reiterate how I began the article. It is impossible to keep up with all of the news. It’s like drinking from 300 fire hoses whilst already being fully submerged underwater. What I am suggesting here is that we extend a degree of trust to these aggregators to serve as pre-filters. This enables us to be at least somewhat informed, instead of drowning in digital noise.
All that said, a sure-fire way to kill your productivity is to become addicted to news. If you fall down the “what’s happening now” rabbit hole on Twitter, Facebook, CNN, FOX, or whatever, you will have time for little else in life. We have jobs to do and a Lord to serve in our own corner of the globe. So let’s try and keep up with the news, but not become consumed with the gossip.