Category Archives: Essay

Intrepid Reporter

An Obituary

(a two minute read)

2020 Journalism: It’s not what I was taught at university. My old craft is dead; I pray for its resurrection. This is no longer a reporting of facts. Rather its regurgitating a narrative already written in the editorial meeting.

1970s: ‘All The News That’s Fit to Print’
1980s: ‘Dirty Laundry’
1990s: ‘The News is What We Say It Is’
2000s: ‘We Report, You Decide’
2010s: ‘When News Breaks, We Fix It’
2020s: ‘All The News That Fits Our Narrative’

2020 Journalism: Writers use a paint roller instead of a scalpel. They cover over the truth with a uniform ideological coating instead of revealing it bit by bit for logical consumption.

2020 Journalism: Writers use a shotgun and make excessive noise while shredding facts to create holes to peer through at whatever truth just died behind the target.

2020 Journalism: A walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is put on endless loop in an echo chamber. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing and confusing everything. (apologies to W. Shakespeare)

2020 Journalism: Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame writ large by people hired for being blessed with great hair and teeth.

2020 Journalism: In name only.

So – Where is the hope?

Any hope we have lies in the truth. Not ‘my truth’ or ‘your truth’ or ‘truth that is “okay for you.”’

Turn off the internet, the TV; put down the newspaper, the magazine. Stop listening to and sharing rumor and gossip. Do all this and sit in the silence. Then ask God to bring you the truth. He will.

So where is the wise philosopher who understands? Where is the expert scholar who comprehends? And where is the skilled debater of our time who could win a debate with God? Hasn’t God demonstrated that the wisdom of this world system is utter foolishness?

For in his wisdom, God designed that all the world’s wisdom would be insufficient to lead people to the discovery of Himself. He took great delight in baffling the wisdom of the world by using the simplicity of preaching the story of the cross in order to save those who believe it.
– 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 (TPT)

Performance Failure

(a three-minute read)

This post is a last-ditch effort by someone who sometimes makes the mistake of over-promising and under-delivering. It’s the online equivalent of push-starting a car after it has been left for dead, way too far from a safe parking spot.

I will admit to feeling unprepared, which can be bad for the stomach as well as the reputation.

Have you ever had projects like this? Where you were fighting a deadline, but inspiration wasn’t anywhere near the ring – not even waving a white towel?

I’m no stranger to writing deadlines. They were a constant presence for more than 20 years. In fact, they often spurred me on to great heights.

Too bad I’m afraid of heights.

My current crisis comes from the endless artificial need to provide you, Dear Reader, with what in the industry is called ‘fresh content.’ No problem. I have some experience pulling this together ‘on automatic’ you might say. But gosh, I’ve been busy. A day went by. Then two days and three, and suddenly I am up against it. But, gosh, I’ve been busy.

(At least give me credit for thinking of you as ‘Dear Reader’ instead of ‘just another set of eyeballs.’ After all, respectful relationships are important.)

The ticking of the deadline clock grows louder, like Poe’s Telltale Heart. Finally, there are only two choices, both poor. Either I tap dance through the bald faced lie when I ‘call in sick,’ or I shuffle you off to re-run land with something that’s been posted before.

How do you like my footwork so far?

I admitted earlier to feeling unprepared. I lied a bit. Unprepared is not entirely true, because I DO have a post, it IS entertaining, and it is now HALF DONE.

Failing to meet my own expectations, and the even more painful experience of failing to meet yours, are not new. But as always, the finger of blame can only point at the pointer.

So what do I do about that?

They say if you fall off a horse or a bike, you need to get right back on and keep riding, or you will lose your self-confidence.

Do you know what this is like? I am the actor who forgets his lines. Or the salesman who calls all day with no order sheets to show for it. Or the athlete who is in a horrible slump. Or the farmer who sees an entire crop wiped out by bad weather.

Or the writer who can’t make the words appear on command.

We must steel ourselves to start over and try again after we fail. Sometimes we come through in the clutch. More often, we manage something adequate, like this, just enough to keep going and show up, instead of being shown up.

Before I finish, because you are my Dear Reader and not an anonymous set of eyeballs being tabulated by an automatic counter, here’s a secret. This post was not actually made up from whole cloth. There is nothing new under the sun.

Because of all those years as a deadline writer, a hoarder of words, a pack rat of paragraphs, a collector of cogitations, I was actually able to resurrect some ideas from the last century and ask them to help me limp across the finish line.

I may not have made the grade, but at least I have made a grade. Now that I am finished, and have admitted my performance failure, I can move onto the next thing.

Logging off.

Finding Myself Again

(a two minute read)

I have people in my life who will say that I ‘found Jesus.’ Others will say that I ‘came to faith.’ They misunderstand. The opposite is true. God came to me. I wasn’t looking for Him. But He was looking for me. Endlessly. And when my time came, I couldn’t ignore Him.

He approached me first, then I found Him. Then I came to find faith in Him. Only then could I hear Him say ‘Follow Me’. Only then could I follow Him.

In that faith that I found, I now know that there are great things in store for me. I’m God’s masterpiece, ‘created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that (I) should walk in them.’ *

Here’s the deal: I was His masterpiece before I followed Him in faith. I was His masterpiece when I was still His enemy and hated Him. I was His masterpiece when I was broken. That’s why He came after me, because I was broken and had thrown myself in the trash. I was like Forky in Toy Story 4. Because I lived in the trash, I thought I was trash.

God disagreed, and tracked me down. What artist paints a masterpiece and throws it in the trash? Or, in my case, if the masterwork is thrown in the trash, doesn’t the artist go to retrieve it? To redeem it?

It’s by God’s grace that I was pulled from the scrap heap, saved from my own destruction. Now, I may finally ‘walk out those good works that God prepared beforehand.’

I do this successfully only through complete surrender. Surrender is difficult sometimes, but it renders the Christian life very simple. The simple answer to every question is to turn to Jesus, who tracks me down no matter how far I wander. And when He reaches me again, He says ‘Follow Me’. And I do, because He’s the one worth following, and I find myself again.

* Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

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Photo by Rachel Richards