This all started with a Skype date with Kid1. She was telling me about her day at Oxford in England (where she’s studying for the summer), which included setting up a meeting with some folks from a British quarterly magazine called Delayed Gratification. More on that in a second.
Most of you know that I love the daily miracle that is a newspaper. Back porch. Cup of coffee. Dogs asleep after their morning constitutional. The whole bit. Did it this morning, in fact. It’s nice out.
I’m also aware of the possibility that in 10 years the ritual won’t exist. Most cities no longer have competing newspapers publishing in the morning and evening. Some newspapers in major metropolitan areas have switched to on-line versions. In fact, my hometown announced that their print edition is only going to occur three days per week starting in the Fall.
It’s also likely that TV news broadcasts will go by the wayside as well. I mean, let’s be honest. Local broadcasts are much more human interest/weather/sports than actual news. National broadcasts are geared towards the Baby Boomers (don’t believe me? Check out who buys ads.). And those stories are hardly “hard-hitting” journalism.
One of the reasons these mediums need to reinvent or die is because by the time you get home from work (I know few people who are at home at 6pm) you already know what has gone on in the world via Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, cable news networks, web sites, even radio blurbs in your car. We get everything minutes after it happens.
Generally, this leads to a series of knee-jerk reactions. Topics are irrelevant. Doesn’t matter if it’s the scandal at Penn State or the shootings in Aurora or a decision by the Supreme Court or a trade by a baseball team or a financial happening. All mediums are trumpets. Blogs, Tweets, status updates/forwards, demographically researched news/specialty networks all have their takes, newspaper columns & editorials & reader opinions, “on the street” interviews with neighbors…all within minutes of major events. Hours seem too late. Days? Weeks? Re-visits to those stories are almost non-existent. We’re on to the next thing to knee-jerk about.
Let me use the NCAA’s recent sanctions against Penn State University as an example. The NCAA announced some very strong penalties against the university at a morning news conference. Within 15 minutes of the conclusion, the guys at ESPN were opining. So were the guys I listen to on the radio. A few on-line papers had headlines. Cable news went after all sorts of angles: student reactions to merchants in Happy Valley to players to parents to discussions of their endowment to the future court cases of the victims to the family of the head coach to recruiting happenings to long-term ramifications to how it affects other big-money schools and on and on. Twitter and Facebook feeds told me what my friends and acquaintances all thought about it.
My point is that by noon, a mere 3 hours after the press conference, I already had tired-head from it. This morning, 22 hours after the conference, I skimmed the major headline in today’s daily miracle because there wasn’t anything I was unfamiliar with.
…back to the quarterly publication Kid1 set up a meeting with.
Like most great ideas, their idea is a simple one. I’ll quote their definition of what they do as they say it better than I can:
Slow Journalism measures news in months not minutes, returning to stories after the dust has settled. The Slow Journalism Company offers an antidote to throwaway media and makes a virtue of being the last to breaking news. Its publications are beautiful, collectible and designed to be treasured.
I’m drawn to the simple idea of getting a little perspective on the story. Getting a couple of months to step back, get a bigger picture and get some more details and give some more thought to an issue before you pop off about it. I mean, we’ve all said things in the heat of the moment we were dead wrong about. We’ve all drawn conclusions before we had the facts. We all have opinions about things we don’t know too much about. Only time and information and perspective can give us a more balanced view.
But we don’t like that.
Because thinking is hard work. And I think there’s more to the title “Delayed Gratification” than at first-glance, too.
So let me extrapolate a bit into my arena some, shall we? Even at the risk of an incredible Jesus Juke, here goes:
What if we slowed down and started to look at things from a Kingdom perspective?
Just stepped back.
Did the hard work of thinking.
Used the wisdom only perspective can give us.
I mean, what if, instead of a status update saying things about our President that aren’t true we hauled off and went all 1 Timothy 2?
I mean, what if, instead of being annoyed with the long line at the grocery store, we focused on serving that Ephesians 2:10 trainee struggling scanning our stuff?
I mean, what if, instead of thinking that selling/buying/processing our widgets and gadgets really mattered, that we took Psalm 46:10 seriously?
I mean, what if, instead of believing the lies of suburbia (and there are oh so many), we measured them by Colossians 3?
I mean, what if, instead of over-momming and under-fathering our kids we focused more on Ephesians 6:4 than 6:1?
I mean, what if, instead of hyper-belief that politics is any sort of answer, we lived like we took Revelation 22 as history-forward?
I mean, what if, instead of believing that our culture has somehow devolved into some sort of state worse than any other in recorded history and Tweeting about it, we took a look at how to do life among the dead in 1 Corinthians?
I mean, what if, instead of griping about the sound system/poor course selection/worship service style/sermon/auditorium temperature/lack of parking/etc., we got figured out some way to apply Micah 6:8 & Luke 9:48?
I mean, what if…
I could go on.
But my point is, like the idea of slow journalism, a simple one. What if we stepped back and gained some perspective in our moment-by-moment knee-jerk lives?
Your thoughts, patrons?