Who’s Your Translator?


In today’s world of information overload, how do you translate 24 hour fact from fiction, talking points from truth, wisdom from venom; it is a nonstop problem. President Obama at the latest White House Correspondent’s dinner had “Luther his anger translator,” in a parody poking fun at him and others. We take ourselves too seriously

Amidst shrilly nightly news, often focused on violence, heartache or doom, like Baltimore, Nepal and drought, quiet sources of calm and wisdom are ignored. Why is that? I believe it is all about ratings. Unless it is a catastrophic mess, the media’s race for ratings trumps truth; if it bleeds it leads.

However, it is often ministers who provide calm amidst tragedy, not some talking head for CNN, TMZ or ESPN. Amidst the stunning litany of police brutality recently caught on camera, it has been church leaders who try to bring calm to those who are outraged and throwing bricks. I don’t see any atheists out there providing leadership amidst chaos, on camera; what’s with that? Why aren’t people swarming them for hope, consolation and healing. Perhaps those of little faith and much swagger can’t make sense of it all either.

When events simply overwhelm you, when all is lost and little makes sense, what do you fall back on? Seriously, is it face book, food, a case of beer or a self absorbed politician? Hmm. I would submit that people of faith, clergy specifically, can translate hope and calm to those in real crisis. We’re not talking OMG, my computer crashed. This is I lost my child to a drunk driver, only death will stop my pain, I have a terminal cancer or there is 5 years left in my prison sentence and I’ve lost literally everything.

Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandella, Chuck Colson, Mike Barber or the church volunteers in Pekin, Illinois who weekly provided church when my wife did time were sources of consistent hope and forgiveness amidst apathy and loss. Nothing lost in their translation; so who is your translator?

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