A place for spiritual vision in the media?
MOST of us consume a broad diet of media fare these days. We flip back and forth between news commentaries and music on the car radio, skim through two or three magazines in a waiting room, and with the help of a remote-control channel changer, pick up the highlights of two or three television programs scheduled simultaneously. The media have to work hard to keep the attention of consumers like us. The result has been a good number of productions--both print and electronic--with real quality. But as one professional in communications, I'll have to say I wish I found more spiritual vision in the media. It's easy to relegate spiritual vision to religious broadcasting. But couldn't any production use more of what the prophets gave in Old Testament days--insight into the fundamental issues of the day? I keep wondering if we are missing what Christ Jesus calls ``the signs of the times,''1 even while we get more and more expert at seeing the signs of economic, political, and social change. Something that happened to the prophet Elisha has raised some questions for me. He and his servant were once surrounded by an army specifically sent to capture him because his prophecies had been causing trouble. The servant was terrified, and so Elisha prayed, ``Lord,...open his eyes, that he may see.''2 The servant had already made what seemed an accurate assessment of the situation; they were surrounded, and the enemy had the higher ground. Suddenly his perception of the scene changed, and the servant saw what Elisha had apparently seen all along. That they were surrounded all right, but by ``horses and chariots of fire,'' by divine protection. Elisha went on to lead the enemy, now temporarily blinded, into another land, defusing the whole encounter instead of inflaming it. I had to ask myself what the real news was in this situation. Which of the servant's views was the most accurate? If we are to push past ``hype'' to history in the making, past exploitation to understanding, past crisis to solution, don't we need to pray for opened eyes? Will such prayer do any good if we have a basic skepticism about the existence and immanence of spiritual power? Commenting on the basis of prophetic vision, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this newspaper, writes, ``The ancient prophets gained their foresight from a spiritual, incorporeal standpoint, not by foreshadowing evil and mistaking fact for fiction,--predicting the future from a groundwork of corporeality and human belief.''3 What is our groundwork for predicting and probing human experience? Is it human intellect, supposedly independent of the infinite intelligence--God? If so, it is by definition shortsighted, even blind. Maybe it's time to turn the harsh beam of skepticism on our narrow, materialistic framework for reality. Maybe it's time to probe further than an approximation of what's going on or an analysis of events and gain some grasp of the truth that Jesus linked to freedom.4 If we do adopt a spiritual standpoint, we have the opportunity to see both the challenges and the hopes of humankind in a vastly different light. Genuine prophets were not purveyors of sweet but empty promises. They unflinchingly exposed corruption, and in listening to divine intelligence they helped any who were willing to find practical solutions to tough predicaments. A first step toward spiritual vision is to cultivate a love of the divine Spirit, to listen to its leadings. As we do, we may find that not only events look different but we ourselves are different. We are more ready to confront the limitations, poverty, sadness, losses, lacks, of human experience with moral courage. We feel more aligned to divine goodness than to the evils we face. We become more certain that the vision of man as God's likeness is not some myth or afterlife hope, but the only genuine, enduring reality. Humanity's effort to prove this is news worth reporting. 1Matthew 16:3. 2II Kings 6:17. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 84. 4See John 8:32.