I write a newspaper column, host a radio program and pastor a church. In the United States, all these areas are in decline. To mitigate my uncertain future, I’ve become a Fuller Brush salesman. Let’s just say I have a knack for spotting growth industries.
Personally, I think recent proclamations concerning the church’s demise have been exaggerated. As long as God still exists, He’s going to find a way to let us in on the secret. As far as the issue of identification, I’m glad fewer people are comfortable claiming the “cultural Christian” tag.
Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship with religious tendencies. The Bible is a worthless book to follow if you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. So regardless of the shuffling of Christians from church to church or fad to fad, I think my beautiful Savior will still exist when it’s all said and done.
The permanence of the radio and newspaper industry is less certain. Our current economic regression has transitioned the radio and newspaper industry from a slow decline to a quick free fall. In the vernacular of human development, newspapers are heading toward the retirement home and radio is suffering from a severe case of empty nest syndrome. The kids have moved away and the house feels rather empty.
This week the Seattle Post-Intelligencer became another casualty of our ever transitioning media. The P-I simply couldn’t escape its intelligencer roots. Now the newspaper has become as obsolete as its name. Some would be quick to point out that the P-I will maintain an online presence. I would be quick to remind you that I have an online presence as well. And so does almost everyone else on the planet.
The sad truth is the mighty P-I has become another scrawl on the Internet’s bathroom wall.
Some ulta-conservatives see the demise of the P-I as some sort of victory against the “liberal agenda.” If the Seattle Times folds, local conservative talk show hosts will be able to hold victory rallies in the street. We can all cheer about the dawn of a new age where instead of being inconvenienced by attempted journalism, we can fully embrace the era and error of unsubstantiated opinion.
Why even attempt to present a story in an unbiased manner? Forget about giving both sides of the issue. We’ve got thousands upon thousands of blogs to bring us the truth. And if our Internet is down, we’ve got television and radio pundits to make sense of it all. They read the newspaper, so we don’t have to …
Wait a second, if the newspapers close, where will the pundits and bloggers get their brilliant ideas? How will they rant against a news establishment that no longer exists? Who will bring them their reporting to ridicule, their statistics to refute and their observations to belittle? When the media elite finally pass away, who are we going to blame for this mess?
Well, certainly not the pundits, the bloggers or the talking heads. We’re not part of the problem, we just call it like we see it. We just give our honest opinion, even if we have no idea what we’re talking about.
I’m probably biased on this issue, but I still think we need the local newspaper, radio and church. There are some discussions we must have as a community. There are many issues we must try to understand from all sides. We still need individuals who are willing to follow a story to its conclusion. Even when they are not comfortable with the reality they uncover.
With this in mind, I want to thank each and every reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I might not have always agreed with your point of view, but I appreciated your willingness to pursue the real story.
And a shout out to the Auburn Reporter … because hey, we’re still ticking.
Doug Bursch hosts “The Fairly Spiritual Show” at 6 p.m. Saturdays on KGNW 820 AM. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or email@example.com.