On Squealing Mics and Screaming Commentators

We had church gremlins in the sound system yesterday. The microphone had a deafening squeal every time I came within an arm’s length of the pulpit... where my notes were. I even tried standing beside the pulpit and glancing backwards over my shoulder at my notes—nope, squeal. Somehow the portable mic, the pulpit, the pulpit mic and who knows what else were causing a feedback conflagration to the point where no one was listening to the sermon and everyone was holding their ears and acting incredibly pained. Come to think of it, that is the way people always act when I’m preaching! So maybe it wasn’t the sound system.

Unfortunately, people were listening when I took a good-natured swipe and Glenn Beck and his dopey comment about leaving your church if the words “social justice” are mentioned anywhere the church website. (Good thing we don’t have a Google search box on our web page!). OK, I admit I’m not a fan of Glenn Beck… or Keith Olberman… or Bill O’Reilly… or Nancy Grace. Or anyone else that’s on TV that you have to pay for. The one good thing about having free over-the-air TV (besides saving $80 a month) is not having 24-hour a day news TV. (Of course, I also don’t have ESPN, but that’s another cross-eyed bear).

I think 24-hour news is about 23-and-a-half hours too much. Not that much important stuff happens in a day; to fill up 24-hours you have to have a lot of commentary and commentators. Bring back the good ol’ days where Walter Cronkite could tell us “that’s the way it was” in 30 minutes. And if you missed it, you had to wait until 11:00. And then at 11:30, Johnny Carson would make fun of the way it was.

There’s another reason I’m not a fan of Glenn Beck… or Keith Olberman… or Bill O’Reilly… or Nancy Grace. I don’t like to be YELLED AT. I don’t like people interrupted by the host YELLING at his guests before they say 10 words. I don’t like people calling people they disagree with names (what idiots) or impugning the motives of others (it’s a communist plot). There seems to be a complete lack of common courtesy or civility when dealing with issues.

That’s why I was drawn to an article in the news today on the “Civility Covenant” signed by Christians leaders from both the left and right. This “Civility Covenant’ is simply a pledge by Christian, despite their differences in theology and politics to “put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

I thought that sounded refreshing-- Christians taking the lead in showing civility to one another even in areas where we disagree. Of course, then I read the quote where Chuck Colson said that this document apply to Glenn Beck and that whole thing because “we're talking about the conversation in the family of believers ... Glenn Beck is a Mormon.” O good grief. Back to the shouting!