An online, social media Lenten observance

Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, a time for reflection and devotion. Christ Lutheran Church (LCMS) of Topeka, KS, has devised an ingenious online, social media observance, built around specific words for each day of Lent. The idea is to post a picture that captures each word, posting it on FaceBook, tagged with @christlcms, or Instagram, tagged with @christ_lutheran_topeka, and the hashtag #hearingthegospel.  Then people can contemplate all of the pictures that have contributed.

There was a story about this on Religious News Service.  I contacted the pastor, asking if this is just a congregational activity or if I could put it out there on the Cranach blog.  He gave me permission to do so, so spread the word.  More details after the jump.

2017+pic-a-day+calendar

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How our politicized media would review the Narnia books

Our media is highly politicized across the spectrum, obsessed–pro- or con- or somewhere in between–with the Donald Trump phenomenon.  No one can escape it!  And in print, on screen, and online pundits are interpreting non-Trump phenomena in Trumpian terms.

My former student John Ehrett, of whom I am proud, has a hilarious piece in The Federalist about what various outlets would say if The Chronicles of Narnia were to be published today.

He looks at 21 media outlets, from The New York Times to Patheos, and nails the sensibility and obsessions of each one.

Samples after the jump.
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A catalog of fake news stories about Trump

2567469865_df9540bb12_zTrump’s opponents seem to have coined the term “fake news” to describe hearsay and rumors that circulated on the internet in support of his campaign.

But now the anti-Trump hysteria has reached such a fever pitch that the mainstream media is churning out fake news about the president and his administration.  Never mind professional standards of objectivity and fact-checking.  Journalists are publishing and broadcasting stories apparently devised solely to fire up “the resistance.”

Daniel Payne at The Federalist has compiled a list of 16 fake news stories about our new president.  As he shows in his discussion, these are not stories whose facts are in dispute.  Each of these has been found false by the newspapers or broadcasters that published them.  They put up corrections, which, of course, receive little attention as the false reports continue to spread on Twitter and FaceBook.

This is not a comprehensive list.  What other fake news stories are not included here? [Read more…]

No, Trump isn’t censoring government agencies

8073618443_4369aee552_zThe media is aghast that President Trump is requiring approval for website posts, clamping down on the use of social media,  freezing grants, and forbidding federal agencies from issuing news releases.  Censorship!  Information control!  Orwellian thought police!

Well, it turns out, as even the New York Times now admits, this is routine practice during the transition from one administration to another.  The same orders were handed down when the Obama administration replaced that of George W. Bush. As veteran federal workers are trying to explain, when new leadership comes into an agency, until it gets settled in, you hold off on your operations.  Orders to do so have been coming not from Trump but from Obama-appointed agency heads.

But what about Trump coming down on the National Parks Service for the tweets about how his inaugural crowd was smaller than Obama’s?  Read the whole story about that and how agency transitions work after the jump. [Read more…]

Fake News 

fake-1903774_640Both sides of our political divide are accusing the other of spreading “fake news.”

Rev. Tim Pauls, writing for LCMS News & Information, says that of course making up facts and believing whatever we want to is going to be a problem in a culture that rejects objective truth.

He gives some striking examples and some insightful analysis from a Christian perspective.  He then gives some Biblical texts that address this issue and suggests how Christians can handle it. [Read more…]

“Positive propaganda as the main theme”

10462887174_2e3a2c0d99_zRussia does it with RT.   Arabs do it with Al Jazeera.   Now, as of New Year’s Day,  China has launched the China Global Television Network.

I am impressed with how honest the still-Communist regime is in explaining its purpose:  to promote “positive propaganda as the main theme.”

Watch for CGTN on your cable or satellite TV system.  And watch for Americans to swallow it whole.

Having grown up during the Cold War, I find it hard to imagine a Communist propaganda network on our televisions, but then again we only had four channels.

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