Friday, December 01, 2006

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood"

Obviously, on the top of my mind this week has been the Lee Camp stuff that I talked about on Wednesday. I have several thoughts on this.

1) About the Tennessean. Ok, I know that newspapers are out for readership. That's just a fact. And controversy stirs up readers, as this story obviously did. However, there has to be some responsibility taken for the level of irresponsible journalism that was incredibly apparent in the story as it originally appeared. And truth be told, what they printed yesterday from Lee was good, but it appeared on the third page of the second section, not the front page as the original article did. Again, I understand the nature of the business and that it probably wouldn't have appeared on the front page, but I would think page 2 of section 1 would have been more appropriate.

AND, what the Tennessean printed yesterday about the controversy was just plain abysmal. What it basically said was "Hey, look at us and the controversy we started by reporting this wrong! Look at all the comments people made based on our incorrect reporting! Look at us!!!!!!!"

The Tennessean has to take responsibility for this level of reporting. They simply must. And they need to issue a public apology for either intentionally or unintentionally misrepresenting Lee's views.

2) Talk Radio. Once again, I know that controversy stirs up ratings, but what I heard on 99.7 WTN on Wednesday was almost unbelievable. Well, I guess it would be unbelievable if it weren't talk radio. It would be slanderous. However, talk radio hosts and callers can pretty much say whatever they want. And Kevin Miller did. Mr. Miller needlessly stirred up controversy and trashed the name of someone he doesn't know, based the reports of a paper that he generally would mistrust because of its "liberal bias." And spent at least two hours doing it with his callers: people who had their information about this filtered through him about this whole thing.

And yesterday, nary a word. I didn't hear an apology, no "oops, we didn't understand that the Tennessean had misrepresented him," nothing. What passes for info-tainment on our radio airwaves is just maddening.

3) Bloggers. Well, I could say a lot about this too, but it's primarily in the same vein as above. People making judgments that they didn't take the time to find out about more fully about. And it's not like Lee hasn't written a book or anything that people could do some investigating in, you know?

One thing that I and a few others have been doing is using the BlogSearches that I linked to on Wednesday and where we find someone that has excoriated Lee and not seen his response, we link to the response. Several people have issued apologies based on this and when we comment with grace and love, it prevents a lot of misunderstanding.

4) Other Christians. This one disappoints me the most. From posts in the comments section of the original article to blogs to rumors that were flying around, Lee's Christian brothers and sisters made snap judgments about this entire situation that showed a lack of faith in the words that Jesus said that I quoted a couple weeks ago when Brandon got his anonymous letter, and I'll quote here again. Matthew 18:15-18 clearly states:
Dealing With Sin in the Church
15 "If a brother or sister sins, go and point out the fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18 "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

What people did was ignore this clear teaching by Jesus. And in fact to digress into a little Biblical interpretation here, people have used this passage to disfellowship or excommunicate people from their community. Verse 17 says to treat them as a pagan or tax collector. Treating them as Jesus treated pagans and tax collectors means eating with them, talking with them, loving them!

With snap judgments and deliberately hurtful comments toward Lee, people show that they are more admirers of Jesus rather than followers of him, and that just confirms what most people think about Christians. And not in the good way.

Well, this has been a long post and I could say more. Good things that have come out of this include the manner of support that Lipscomb has shown Lee, such as the statement released on Wednesday afternoon. It would also be great if Lee's thoughts on discipleship got some more press, not limited to Mere Discipleship getting into the hands of a lot more people.

Lee also got some positive press on WKRN News2 last night, when he was interviewed by Faith and Ethics reporter, Jamey Tucker.

Hopefully, the negatives of this situation will pass quickly and everyone can learn the Covey lesson about understanding someone else first. Or to put at little more bluntly, shut up and listen.


Rob Cox said...

Great post!

Good has and will continue to come from this. Lipscomb didn't crumble under tremendous pressure and stood behind him. You and others gently and lovingly corrected some of the bloggers. Way to go! Some of those bloggers apologized directly to Lee by emailing him.

It will be interesting to see what other good things come from this.

Tony Arnold said...

Amen, Amen, Amen.

You articulated very well my own thoughts about the Tennessean's attitude.

They not only refuse acknowledge the untruth and damage they created, but seem to take pride and honor in it.

I prayed hard that God would use this whole mess to His glory. And for peace for Lee.


Malia said...

I second Tony, though I would add a fourth Amen, since you did make four points.


DB Carden said...

Sounds like a good theme for a drama television series set in a science fiction setting concerning the relationship of humans to the synthetic organisms they created.

jettybetty said...

Thanks for keeping me updated Phil!

Template Designed by Douglas Bowman - Updated to Beta by: Blogger Team
Modified for 3-Column Layout by Hoctro