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Busted: Why Perception Matters

I’ve already gotten a number of calls from upset followers of the ministries in the last two posts, angry (one was “baffled”) that I would link to those newspaper articles. My first thought was “Why not?” In those posts, I didn’t comment either way, just simply posted the fact that the newspapers had printed the stories. But on close reflection, there’s more to it:

1) We need to be aware of what the culture is saying. A long time ago, I worked with a ministry leader who bragged that he never read the newspaper, because he didn’t want to be bothered by criticism of him and his ministry. It made me wonder why there would be that much criticism (where there’s smoke there’s fire?). Plus, the result was that he lived in a bubble – completely unaware of how the secular world viewed what he was doing. Are journalists sometimes wrong and do they have an agenda? Of course. If you think any type of reporting or writing is objective, then come back to earth. But just because newspapers or news programs report biases or inaccurate stories, the power of the media mandates that we stay aware of what they’re saying, and in the right cases, respond appropriately, or cultivate media relationships that would help correct those perceptions.

2) Living in a Transparent Culture. I’ve written on this before, and yet pastors and ministry leaders continue to think they can do things without anyone finding out. In a digital age, someone’s going to know you’re downloading sermons from the Internet. Someone’s going to learn about your Rolls, and the oceanfront home. All it takes is a few clicks on Google to find out about that old DUI conviction you thought everyone had forgotten about. Why do pastors keep saying they have college and even graduate degrees, when all it takes is a phone call to find out otherwise? Why do they use titles like “Bishop” inapropriately? Why do they think church or ministry employees will always cover for them?  But as various newspapers and other investigative programs show, even governments are posting their records on the web. You can just about find anything, anytime, so starting living your life like an open book.

Are the people in these newspaper stories like Elmer Gantry? I don’t think so. I certainly hope not. But in the 21st century, media ignorance isn’t an excuse. If we can’t live a life of integrity on our own, the technology of “search” will force it upon us.

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5 Comments

  1. From a Christian body stand point: Don't we need to know what is going on in the Body of Christ?  If our brother and sister are under attack, isn't it important that we know and pray?

    From a business stand point: What is in the paper regarding one ministry affects us all.

    People in the world paint us all with the same brush.  When Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker fell, it caused a ripple effect in Christian TV.  Giving dropped, people made a joke of it.

    In reality, we have not as an industry gotten over those scandels.  We in leadership need to be aware if/when another fall is coming.

  2. It's news, even if none of it is true.

    Like the Fred Price issue, I would think this is a good forum to bring out truth.

    Phil, can you or your readers address the key points raised, is it all hogwash or is there truth there?

    The Bishop Jordan postings gave all if us insight and challenged us. Let's not be afraid to look at truth.

    If none is this is true, we can be spokespeople all over the globe on their behalf.

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