Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Media. We have so much access to information - more than we've ever had before. We can Google anything, Facebook with friends and family thousands of miles and oceans away, shop online, and read all the latest news on equipment no bigger than the palm of a hand. Access to all this information can be fun, and may seem freeing. I remember having to actually (gasp!) go to a library and look in a card catalog for an encyclopedia for basic all I have to do is flip on my phone and with a few taps I've jumped down the rabbit hole of the internet.

The problem with access to so much information is one of discernment. It's awfully easy to get lost on the information superhighway, or bogged down with the excess of bad news that perpetuates in cyberspace.

Here's a ray of hope... Media thrives on bad news. Regardless of your bias, regardless of where you live, bad news sells. We are a species driven by adrenaline, and bad news gives us a small adrenaline rush governed by fear. With brains that are unable to adapt as quickly as technology progresses, we process information the same way we did when it moved at a snail's pace--traveling via word of mouth or pony express. The kidnapping on channel 10 becomes an iminent threat in our brain; the robbery at the convenience store seems an inevitability.

What impact is all this bad news having? Depression...anxiety people living in one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. People who are pampered.

Meanwhile, children halfway around the globe are still receiving news via handwritten letter. Living in dust with tin roofs and thin blankets...playing in polluted water, drinking the same, trying their best to dodge the mosquito that might carry the dreaded malaria, these same children trust God, love freely, pray sincerely, and rejoice easily.

Hope. Here's what the media isn't telling you. Today, crime rates in the United States remain at historically low levels according to the Bureau of Justice. In 2010, violent crimes were 1/3 what they were in 1994. The odds of being murdered or robbed are 1/3 what they were in the early 1990s, and the odds of rape have dropped to 1/6 what they were 20 years ago.

Why aren't we celebrating one of the most peaceful times our planet has ever known? Despite turmoil in some areas of the world, we are still remarkably peaceful. In fact, some analysts suggest the world is more peaceful now than it ever has been before. Don't believe it? Forget the individual news reports you see on TV--remember, the media seeks to grab you and pull you in to increase ratings, and bad news sells.  Instead, think about what we know of history... the plagues, famines, great wars, torture, murder, lack of humanitarianism... and think of today.

Hope. We have it. Now share it... turn off the TV, pick up a pen, and share that hope with your Compassion kids!

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