Yes, you read it right. My generation, the Millennials some call us, are never in the news. Well, maybe better put, you’ll never find us stuck with our heads in a newspaper or immersed in a news station or even listening to a news radio station on the way to work.
As I’ve started to immerse myself more and more into the field of journalism and intern at a local affiliate of NPR, I’ve noticed more and more that my generation is just not an audience of daily news. Whether it be international, national, or local, most of the people around my age (17-25) have little clue what’s going on anywhere but their own little worlds. What we know is by word-of-mouth… and that hardly gives of any details.
When I tell my friends and classmates that I’m working at Capital Public Radio this summer, I get blank stares.
“Do you know what that is?”
“Have you ever heard of NPR?”
The answer is also “no” about 75% of the time.
It would be unfair of me to assume that all people in my generation are disconnected from the news. Some of us check BuzzFeed daily after all. I guess you could count that as a dose of informative content for the day.
Today’s top stories on BuzzFeed’s news tab are as listed:
“24 People Rescued from Stuck Roller Coast at Six Flags America”
“This Designer Couple Imagined Every Insane Scenario That Could Go Wrong While Babysitting”
“This Guy Just Wants to Film a PSA About Lions But An Adorable Lion Keeps Interrupting Him”
And NPR’s top stories of the day are:
“Turkey’s Erdogan Wins First Direct Presidential Election”
“Israel Accepts New 72-Hour Cease-Fire in Gaza”
“West African Border Crossings on Lockdown Amid Ebola Spread”
Humor aside, you can decide for yourself which is legitimately newsworthy.
But instead of me getting all fired up and rant about how my generation needs to be news-literate and updated on today’s current events, I’m just going to calmly explain why I think it’s particularly important young Christians today be interested in and care about the news.
Let me acknowledge that I’m entirely aware of how depressing, dark, scary, heart-breaking, and wrong today’s news can be. It’s in our nature to want to watch and read the feel-good stuff and do without the hard stuff. (Sort of like how we love those John 3:16/ Phillipians 4:4, soul-warming verses in the Bible, but we skip over all the hard, confusing parts (Revelation, Job, etc.)) A majority of news does not report victory or marriage or love or the other uplifting things of life. So, we understandably gravitate away from CNN and towards BuzzFeed stories about lions interrupting PSA men.
Unfortunately, the truth is that the sad, bad, wrong, dark, twisted things that are on the news are actually happening. Buffering these stories with happy-go-lucky mush stories does not make them stop or go away.
We can not pretend like war isn’t happening, like people aren’t starving, like Christians aren’t being killed by ISIS, like oppression is not rampant. Yet, by ignoring the news, we do just that and escape the responsibility of caring about the innocent people affected by these horrible things.
We remove ourselves, excuse ourselves, and pass the problem along to someone else… some politician, some activist, anyone but us. We believe we are just the small and powerless ones within the world and we can not help. And we deem the people who care – the people who become aware of the hard-but-true current events, the people who do something about them – as someone different than ourselves. We assume that’s just “their thing.” Or that they’re more capable or powerful or financially-able than us. Let me tell you, this is far from true.
Jesus called all of us to justice. And when you get right down to it, that’s just what the sad events in the news are missing: justice. We, as Christians, are meant to search out this injustice and find ways to fix it; to love on the people who need love more than ourselves. By staying trapped in our own little world, detached from the grander, scarier scheme of life, we limit our ability to do this.
All we need is a little faith that God can work through the bad to make good… which, in theory, most Christians hold as a basic part of our belief system. But, do we put this theory into action and truly test God’s faithfulness? Are we readers of the Word who forget it shortly after– or are we readers of the Word who put it into action?
Listen, all I’m saying is that the reason our generation of young Christians doesn’t watch or read or listen to or care about the news is a deeper issue than just being lazy or illiterate or immature. It’s an issue of the heart.
In my eyes, I see Christians who are deeply affected and convicted when they become aware of the world’s problems. To me, that’s a beautiful thing. Yet, some of us are uncomfortable with that conviction, so we block it out by ignoring the issues. I think our generation has the power to turn this conviction into a bountiful harvest if we let go of our insecurities and discomfort and truly live out the words of Jesus.
So, Young-Adult Aged Christian, I challenge you to go to a news site (CNN, Fox, BBC, NPR, whatever you prefer) and read just a few stories. Allow your heart to be broken for what breaks God’s. Sit on how you can follow in the footsteps of Jesus and help. And don’t be afraid.