God blessed The Pathway in many ways in 2005
October 18, 2005
COLUMBIA– I will have the privilege of being the guest lecturer to the Fellowship of Christian Journalists Oct. 30 at the University of Missouri Journalism School here.
Never has there been a greater need for Christian journalists willing to report the news from a biblical worldview perspective than there is today. I am not advocating they impose Christianity on readers, unless they are working for a Christian publication like The Pathway or WORLD magazine. I am more interested in journalists reporting the unvarnished truth in a fair and accurate way, rather than lying or putting “a spin” on a story.
Just like all disciplines, journalism has been infected with relativistic thinking that denies the existence of absolute truth. That is a scary thought. Credibility is an essential ingredient in journalism and one cannot have credibility if one does not believe in – much less tell – the truth.
It is this quintessential post-modern idea that absolute truth does not exist that produces “journalists” like Jason Blair, The New York Times writer who lied and plagiarized articles for 18 months before being caught and fired. When one ceases to believe that truth exists, then as Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky suggested, then anything is permissible. Post-moderns are searching – even those who are journalists — and as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must point them to Him for direction and confidence. He is the basis of a Christian worldview since He is THE way, THE TRUTH and THE life.
I want these outstanding journalism students to know God will open doors and give them opportunities to let Him shine through their stories in ways they never imagined. I also hope to impress upon them to consider the ministry of Christian journalism (there is a great need in the Southern Baptist Convention for theologically conservative journalists), but should they decide to go on to secular newspapers (and we need them to do that as well), that they make the commitment to not leave their Christian worldview at the newsroom’s entrance.
I am pleased to say that The Pathway has intentionally sought a closer relationship with these young people. It has included lunches, phone conversations and writing assignments. The president of the organization, Allison Seabolt, has written several fine articles for The Pathway in recent months and I am pleased to be recommending her for employment at Christianity Today.
This relationship with the student journalists at the University of Missouri is just one of many blessings God has bestowed on The Pathway in 2005. The year began with a bang as The Pathway co-hosted the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) first-ever prayer breakfast for the governor, members of the Missouri General Assembly and justices of the Missouri Supreme Court. It was an outstanding time of worship and fellowship that got rave reviews, so much so we are going to do it again this January in hopes that it will become an annual event.
Meanwhile, The Pathway’spaid circulation has soared from zero to more than 15,000 in 33 months, while both advertising revenue and “hits” on our Web site continue to rise. The number of issues this year has grown to 26, up from 24 the two previous years. With an annual subscription rate of just $10, The Pathway continues to be a bargain thanks to your support of the Cooperative Program. I am pleased to announce there will be no subscription rate increase in 2006, despite rising postage rates.
Also, I am proud of our coverage of the General Assembly and would like to think we played a small part in the passage of the so-called “Jessica’s Law” that significantly raises the penalty for drunken drivers who kill someone and for the historic anti-abortion law recently signed by Gov. Matt Blunt. The Pathway staff works hard in coordination with Kerry Messer, MBC lobbyist and Rodney Albert, president, of the MBC’s Christian Life Commission on such matters. While we praise God for the blessings of these new laws, we do so realizing that perhaps our greatest challenge lies ahead as Missouri becomes a national battleground over embryonic stem cell research. I promise The Pathwaywill not shy from this fight and will keep Missouri Baptists informed and public officials held accountable on this life-and-death issue.
God has opened a wonderful door by allowing me the opportunity to address the issues of the day through my “Thoughts & Adventures” commentaries statewide on the Bott Radio Network. I am most grateful to Dick Bott, one of our state’s great Christian leaders, for providing this opportunity for me, The Pathway and the MBC. A relationship that began three years ago with The Pathway encouraging Bott to broadcast from the MBC’s annual meeting continues to blossom to the glory of God. I would also like thank my terrific producer, Chris Rhodes, whose work in the MBC’s new broadcast studio is sure to have a mighty impact on how we do ministry going forward.
Finally, I would like to thank The Pathway staff for another year of outstanding service to Missouri Southern Baptists. Staff writers Allen Palmeri and Brian Koonce (who at this writing is attending the Baptist Press Collegiate Journalism Conference in Nashville, Tenn.), along with ministry assistant Andree Ziehmer, advertising/Web site coordinator Julie Anderson and layout coordinator Murley Blakley have been, well, superb. So have the array of freelance writers and photographers listed on our masthead on page 5. Two of them, photographer Bob Greenlee and writer Susan Mires will be assisting The Pathwaystaff’s coverage of the annual meeting in Springfield. If you attend, please use it as an opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate their work.
The Pathway would not be the blessing it has become without them and the grace of the mighty God for whom we gladly serve.
Soli Deo gloria!