Community NewsPosted: May 19, 2014
Two days later, I was still glued to the TV and I never had to leave my home. I had a slight headache but no other damage or difficulty. Was it a waste of time?
Maybe I could have been established a more balanced program of news watching but I wasn’t sorry I’d sought information while it was happening. Not only did I get to see the fires come under control, I could also see what was going on in my friends’ neighborhoods.
My particular area was not impacted as much as many of my friends were. Thank God, none of us was harmed. Nor did we suffer any major losses. Two of my good friends had to evacuate and others were put on warning. As I write this, the eight North Country fires are nearly all out and the TV is off.
Just before the fires started, there was an email discussion within my minister’s group about how much news we should watch. It started in reaction to my last blog when my theme was that things are usually all right so the events that make the news are the exceptions.
The minister’s exchange moved quickly to a question of whether we should watch the news at all. Some ministers believed they needed to be informed to serve their congregations well. Others believed that any news was bad for us and they advised avoiding it altogether.
It was an interesting discussion and the opinions were all over the place. It was especially fascinating to read the emails and then have the responses followed so quickly by dramatic local news. I thought the fires were a definite illustration of why avoiding the news doesn’t always work.
Anyone can see we need to know what is happening in our immediate world if it is potentially harmful. Fires are a clear cut examples. On the other hand CNN’s coverage of the lost Malaysian airplane was so obsessive and attracted so many obsessive watchers that it was fodder for jokes from the late night TV hosts.
The idea that we should avoid all news is fairly prevalent among followers of New Thought. They believe that knowing the bad news and all the trouble in the world is not useful. They think we are simply overloading our minds with negativity. Of course it is true we want to be as positive as possible so they have a point. One well known self -help author wrote about going on a “news fast’ several years ago and that idea spread rapidly.
I am always a bit shocked when people I think are intelligent tell me they never read a newspaper or watch the news. It makes no more sense to me to avoid the events of the world than it would to avoid eating correctly or taking care of my health.
I heard the Dali Lama say once that we should take care of our planet’s environment because, “That is where we live.” He made perfect sense to me then and in the face of global warming, he makes even better sense now.
The Dali Lama’s words were a very simple statement and most of us would agree with it. We must decide what to do and how to do it to deal with the impact of global warming on the planet. Certainly, we must pray. Just as certainly, we must act in new ways.
I believe it really is important to know what is happening in our community. In ways, our community includes local, statewide, national and global connections. The idea that we need to keep abreast of what is going on in these communities seems just as clear as taking care of our environment. When we know what is going on, we can pray and we can also take action.
We cannot expect to avoid our responsibility to the natural environment just because we are spiritual people. Nor can we expect to avoid all political responsibility. There are times when we need to be informed and to take action.We learn about events through our news media although some venues are more reliable than others.
Should a spiritual person avoid the news? Some of my friends don’t vote because they think living a spiritual life means avoiding politics. I cannot agree. Not only do I want to know where the fire is going next, I want to know what is happening around me in social or political events.
Perhaps because I grew up during World War Two, I formed a definite idea of my place in the scheme of things. The “good people” who tried hard to avoid knowing what was going on, before World War Two, learned a big lesson. War broke out anyway. Millions were killed on both sides. Hitler’s hateful beliefs resulted in the killing of millions of Jews and others.
.I learned that a good citizen participates in his or her government.Deliberate ignorance made many things worse.
I formed the habit of reading newspapers in the sixth grade and kept it up until fairly recently. Now I find I depend much more on TV and internet to keep me informed. Although I buy the Sunday paper in San Diego and get the daily NY Times online, I mostly scan headlines. I only read what interests me. I watch Rachel Maddow most evenings and Melissa Harris Perry on weekends because they cover issues nearest to my heart.
I always vote. I use absentee ballots and I always take the time to inform myself. I donate money to some causes and I write letters from time to time. There was a time when I was much more active and even if I can’t march, I still want to help steer the country into equality, liberty, etc. I truly believe that no man is an island.
The question of whether or not to pay attention to the news is an interesting one and I was happy to see it so fully discussed. I know that everyone has a right to make his or her own decision however, I can’t help wishing more New Thought people were more interested in current events.
The question of the importance of the news was solved in my neighborhood when the recent fires were a few miles away. Issues like the narrowing of voter registration and closing Planned Parenthood centers are just as urgent in their own way. Let’s not wait till the knock on the door comes before we know what is happening.
What do I really believe about following the news?
Is there anything I want to change in relation to the news?