Most of us in the LCMS are well aware of the publication known as "Christian News". Check out their website, as the most recent issue has several of its stories actually posted to the web!
As I read through the most recent (print) issue (to which I do not subscribe, but always seem to get multiple copies of), I noticed that Rev. Paul McCain seems to be the topic du-jour. Which got me to thinking....
What does the Lutheran Blogosphere think of Christian News?
I know that there is a variety of opinion in the LCMS, ranging from disdain to admiration. At the recent convention, I heard CN referred to as a kind of "third-rail of LCMS politics", and that candidates endorsed by CN stood little chance. "Kiss of death" was the exact phrase I heard.
Many pastors simply won't read the publication. One of our former St. Louis prof's told us in a "fireside chat" setting that we simply shouldn't read it.
Some, like me, read anyway... with variously sized grains of salt. On some things, CN has been "right on". Other times, way off.
What are your observations/comments/evaluations of CN? Is it good, bad or ugly? Should a Lutheran read it at all? Why/why not?
I would also make the following observations/comments about CN:
- The sheer volume of production is overwhelming. Too much of a good thing, perhaps? I wonder if all the small print and long articles don't turn off some readers.
- The layout is often awkward and hard to follow.
- One of the better things CN does is simply re-print articles of note (from all sides). Jesus-First and Day-Star to blog articles to whatever... I am sometimes uneasy about how careful CN is to get permission for all these re-publications, but then I don't know the "rules" that well either.
- Sometimes CN seems to cross the fine line of satire and into the realm of "just plain mean".
- CN tends to repeat itself, from issue to issue and even within issues. This gives the publication more a feel of propoganda than an actual news publication.
- I realize there is quite a history to CN, and that I don't know much of it. Maybe that makes me ignorant, maybe it makes me unbiased?
- I don't think anyone will deny the influence CN has had and continues to have, but I do think that influence is certainly declining. CN is, in a way, part of the "old media" of the LCMS - and I think internet sources, in particular, the Lutheran Blogosphere are in some ways replacing it. Still there is an elderly subset who won't ever get up to speed with the internet, but as they die off so too will CN's audience. (Unless CN changes somehow - crossing over into the internet. I was surprised, as I wrote this, to see they are actually doing something with their website. But how successful this will be remains to be seen).
- How much of CN is simply Rev. Otten himself? Or will CN live on beyond him? Is there an heir apparent, or could there be?
What are your thoughts and opinions on "Christian News"? Leave a comment!