God spoke to Jeremiah early in his life saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). God’s will is constantly going forth. Even though we may not audibly hear Him pronounce a professional calling for each of us, there is no doubt that He has equipped us to do His will, including in our work. That equipment often begins in the form of interests, talents, and desires which are God-given. That’s why I like the fact that Jordan Smith’s story a couple weeks ago emphasized her interest in books and magazines as a child, her talent for writing and graphics, and her desire to please God through a career in journalism.
Back in the day, I was a journalism major myself, and I could identify with much of what Jordan said. For me, I also had a great interest in news. My parents listened to it regularly on the radio within earshot of me. Later when they purchased a television, the news was all they watched with regularity. And we subscribed to a daily newspaper which I read pretty thoroughly, not just the comics. We had current events class at school, and once a week or so, we had to clip a newspaper article and share it with our classmates. Somewhere in all this was born in me a desire to be a news reporter. In high school, I was thrilled to be named the page one editor of our newspaper. That’s where all the big news was. In college, my favorite class was the one in which we each got to role play being an editor of a big city newspaper for a couple weeks.
Oddly, until this blog, news reporting was not a big part or any part of my career. This blog is not exactly news either, but rather feature writing, which is close enough. My favorite blogs are those in which I interview other people, research historical events, or report on worthy charitable organizations or ministries. I like to present information that my readers might not already know or introduce them to remarkable people they haven’t met. I pray every time before I begin to write that God will use what I write for His honor and glory. I’m just as confident that His guidance and counsel has not only prepared me to do this, but has also led me through the divergent paths that have given me my various job hats.
But let’s get back to journalism and God using His people in that career. Sometimes when we look at the mainline secular media, we wonder, is there anyone out there who actually calls themselves a believer of Jesus Christ? If so, where are they and what kind of job are they doing? Are they shushed or promoted?
I’m not the only one who has wondered about this. A Christian journalist by the name of Gordon Govier, writes, “It would seem… that in this information age that now surrounds us, journalism would be a very strategic occupation for a committed Christian.” Govier is currently a member of InterVarsity’s communication staff but began his career as a Wisconsin radio news reporter. He is an author and has a big interest in Biblical archaeology.
“ Sometimes when we look at the mainline secular media, we wonder, is there anyone out there who actually calls themselves a believer of Jesus Christ? ”
Govier quips that a Christian journalist may seem like a bit of an “oxymoron,” and begins his own story about searching for likeminded journalists back in the 90’s, with this comparison. “Journalists have dropped almost as low as lawyers in the public esteem, maybe lower. A friend who is intrigued by my work to organize Christian journalists compares it to an organization of Christian used car dealers.”
Over the years Govier has been successful in organizing Christian journalists through networking endeavors, meetings, and newsletters—all of which culminated eventually with the origin of Gegrapha, an international fellowship of Christian journalists. Please take a moment and read his encouraging article published by the Evangelical Press Association (https://www.evangelicalpress.com/gegrapha/).
Cal Thomas is probably most familiar to my generation as a Christian journalist, and at the age of 79, he is still going strong as a widely distributed conservative Christian newspaper columnist. He is also a daily radio commentator. His faith has always been transparent in his work which spans six decades. He has worked for NBC and Fox News. Here’s a link to Cal’s transcript for today on the current price of fuel prefaced with a quote that might make you curious to read the rest and click on the link. “What is the Biden Administration doing? Only Symbolic Gestures…” (https://calthomas.com/2022/03/we-cant-get-rid-of-petroleum/).
Marvin Olasky was born into a Russian Jewish family in Massachusetts, graduated from Yale University and became an atheist and a member of the Communist party in the early 70’s when it was popular for college students to accept such views. However, in 1976, after reading the New Testament as well as other books by Christian authors, Olasky became a Christian. He began his career as a newspaper reporter and later was a college professor. He has authored several books, and in 1990 he joined the staff of World Magazine (more about that publication in my next blog), as editor-in-chief. Later, he also became Dean of the World Journalism Institute, a position he still holds. Perhaps, one of his most notable concerns to write about is the cause of life.
In an article appearing in World Magazine dated January 14, 2021, Olasky writes: “Jump to 2021, when more states with conservative majorities are likely to join those that already have heartbeat laws that protect unborn children starting at six weeks of gestation—if the Supreme Court will allow those laws. Abortion strongholds like New York, Illinois, and California could be hemmed in by life-affirming states until liberalism’s internal contradictions—standing for the weak and vulnerable but killing the most vulnerable—eventually kill the abortion regime.”
“ Journalists have dropped almost as low as lawyers in the public esteem, maybe lower. ”
John DeDakis, another American Christian journalist, is a former CNN White House Correspondent and Senior Copy Editor and writer for CNN’s award-winning news program, “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” DeDakis is also the author of the Lara Chadwick Mystery series. The fictional Chadwick is an investigative reporter. In Fake, one of the series’ most recent novels, the world of fake news is exposed as Chadwick tries to determine what is real vs. what is not.
David Aikman, a Christian British-born journalist, has many accomplishments under his belt. He worked for Time Magazine from 1971 to 1994 and is a respected foreign policy consultant. He has covered numerous major historical events and has interviewed many world-renowned leaders including Mother Teresa and Billy Graham. Still going strong at 78, there are more things listed on his resume than I have space to list.
Back in 1987, in an interview with Christianity Today, (https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1987/march-6/secular-journalism-ripe-opportunity-for-christians.html), Aiken expressed the need for Christians to enter the profession of journalism and described how his faith impacts how he performs his job. He says: “A Christian brings to journalism a coherent world view and a purpose to life that transcends the immediate framework of the profession itself. A journalist who is a Christian should see journalism as a vehicle for living out his Christian witness in the community, and implementing God’s purposes in the world.”
“ A Christian brings to journalism a coherent world view and a purpose to life that transcends the immediate framework of the profession itself. A journalist who is a Christian should see journalism as a vehicle for living out his Christian witness in the community, and implementing God’s purposes in the world. ”
Jenny Taylor, a Christian British author and journalist works for a news tabloid in London. She says of Christian journalists in Britain, “God is at work in us even before we can speak the required religious formulae – and is at work in a hundred more ‘secular’ newsrooms up and down the country.”
“The truth is journalism’s business. It doesn’t need a Christian label,” writes Taylor, going on to quote from Milton’s Areopagitica: “Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?” (https://engagingmedia.info/faith-and-secular-journalism/).
Taylor is founder/director of Lapido Media, an organization which works with journalists in order to “promote religious literacy in the public discourse.” Lapido means “speak up” in Acholi.
Finally, I want to mention a newspaper reporter named Ken Fuson who worked during his career with the Des Moines Register and Baltimore Sun. He died in 2020. He might have been best remembered for a gambling addiction which plagued a lot of his working days, had he not been able to write his own obituary as he struggled with cancer at the end of his life. His love of reporting truth allowed him to set the record straight, writing, “Skepticism may be cool, and for too many years Ken embraced it, but it was faith in Jesus Christ that transformed his life. That was the one thing he never regretted. It changed everything.”
I’m thankful that God created the field of journalism and for the many Christian journalists He has called and continues to call to work in it.
“My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”