DISCERNMENT IN THE D.C. GLADIATORIAL GAMES

Politics is blood-sport where power is the prize and those who play it will stop at nothing to win.

I learned that ugly truth in a beautiful room in the house of one of the power players in Washington D. C. The owner, whose issue is tax reform, was not present, but had made his home available to another special interest group for a meet-and-greet. I was attending their conference as a guest who could offer an evangelical perspective on their issue.

As I sipped my drink and circled the room I came upon an older, white-haired gentleman, erect, clear-eyed and almost elegantly dressed compared to the rest of us. This old gent looks nice enough, I thought; I bet he can give me a real feel for their movement. So I introduced myself and asked something innocuous like, “I’m new to this. Can you tell me what drew you to this movement and what how I might help?”

With little more than his name and state as preamble he said, “Young man, this is about power plain and simple and I am willing to break your legs in order to get that power and defend my rights and achieve my purpose. If you are not willing to do the same you don’t belong here.”

I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. If that’s what this is about, I thought, count me out. But that happened about ten years ago, and the more I watch the D. C. gladiatorial games, the more I believe he was right. While there are a few “Mr. Smiths who have gone to Washington,” honest people seeking to serve, we are witnessing a ruthless battle for power into which all have been swept. Those who have it want to pursue the agenda for which they were elected. Those who do not have it want to stop those who do and will fight dirty to win.

The question for us is: who is telling the truth? Answering that requires the biblical quality of discernment. It is what Solomon asked of God when he became king of Israel, “Give me a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.”[1]

Discernment is the ability to see the character beneath the costume. It perceives the chill in the kidnapper’s eye as clearly as the fear in the real mother’s when threatening to split the disputed baby in half, as Solomon did in his most famous case.[2]

Like Gamaliel, who reminded the Sanhedrin of the fate of earlier messianic movements when he stood to speak on behalf of Peter and the apostles, discernment sees the whole context, remembers the rest of the story, not just the parts on momentary display.[3] It reads between the lines of testimony and sees that what is not being said is as important as what is.

Sound judgment also distinguishes a partisan player from an honest broker, a manipulative speech from a straightforward question, and a witch hunt from an authentic investigation. As Megan Basham, who attended the Comey hearings, reported on World Radio this morning, “Everything sounded so scripted that all the drama was taken out of it. The only thing that raised journalists’ eyebrows was Mr. Comey’s admission that he had leaked information to the press via a Columbia Law professor.”

No one person has access to all of the facts, so discernment in the D.C. gladiatorial games depends on reliable reporting based on biblical objectivity, or the “God’s-eye” view. It is impartial, fact-filled, and thorough and recognizes that “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account,” including the biases of the reporter. [4] 

For that I can only recommend WORLD Magazine and World Radio’s The World and Everything In It podcast. You can get a risk-free three-month trial membership by going to www.getWORLDnow.com.

[1] 1 Kings 3:9 NIV

[2] 1 Kings 3:24 NIV

[3] Acts 5:34-39

[4] Heb 4:13

WORLD RADIO: NPR FOR CONSERVATIVES

OK, I admit it, I enjoy National Public Radio (NPR) and I’ve listened to it for decades. I’ve listened to it for so long that I know who Bob Simon is and what happened to him. I’ll just stand here for a minute so my conservative friends can lob their rotten tomatoes …

Feel better? Good, now let me tell you why NPR scratches my information-junkie-itch and what I’ve found to replace it.

NPR does a lot of things very well. From Morning Edition to All Things Considered, Car Talk to The People’s Pharmacy and This American Life, among others, NPR succeeds with its breadth of topics, in depth reporting, and its literate reporting staff. But more than anything else I appreciate its tone. Unlike its commercial, conservative competitors, it isn’t bombastic, crude, repetitive, personality-driven or sensationalism, but rational, reasonable, and somewhat understated. The problem, and it is a deep one, is that you can’t listen to NPR without noticing its Darwinian, post-modern, secular-humanist point of view. (Did I leave any out?). I am increasingly sickened by its total commitment to the politically correct party line and pretty much anything contrary to the biblical world view. It’s reporting on the Planned Parenthood videos sounds like public relations work by the priestesses of this modern Molech. As Juan Williams said in 2010, when he was unceremoniously fired from NPR for mentioning his reasonable fear of Muslims on airplanes, “To say the least this is a chilling assault on free speech. The critical importance of honest journalism and a free flowing, respectful national conversation needs to be had in our country. But it is being buried as collateral damage in a war whose battles include political correctness and ideological orthodoxy.”

Enter WORLD RADIO and its daily program, The World and Everything In It, a thirty-minute daily broadcast available to download on your smartphone or listen online. The World and Everything In It takes the best of NPR, its tone, its breadth, and its intelligence, and presents its news and commentary from a biblical world view. It is refreshingly honest about this, unlike NPR, which pretends objectivity as it promotes the PC party line. Its contributors and regular guests include Cal Thomas and John Stonestreet, along with weekly interviews with thinkers and policy makers from all walks of life. WORLD RADIO is also committed to journalistic integrity. They do the hard work of chasing down the facts, verifying them, and reporting them without gloss. Like the magazine from which it grew, WORLD RADIO doesn’t shy away from difficult stories. It will report corruption and failure within Christianity as well as without, yet without the rancor and insensitivity found in some other publications.

WORLD RADIO is part of World News Group, which also produces the monthly World Magazine and GOD’S BIG WORLD for kids. They also sponsor the Hope Awards for effective charity. Like NPR, it is a non-profit, which works in its favor. It doesn’t let its advertisers shape its content. Yet unlike NPR, which slurps at the tax-payer-money-trough to fund its budget, WORLD doesn’t whine. They do offer an opportunity for forward thinking Christians to contribute to the further development of world class journalism from a biblical point of view. I urge you to check them out, and become a regular reader and supporter.