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Public and Private Information December 7, 2006

Posted by Joe in Random Musings.
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Lar,

I appreciate your posting that link to those lectures from Strauch.  I am looking forward to listening to them someday.  After reading most of his book, I am sure they are very good.  The standard for leadership in the Church is quite high and I for one am praying for the Lord to raise up more and more leaders in this land and every land.  It is my prayer that you and many others would join me.  I believe we have a responsibility to pray for such men, for the Lord can bestow few greater blessings than men who long to lead the church in godliness.  As we spoke of signs of the Lord’s judgment the other day, so our lack of leadership today is yet another sign.  Time and again in the Old Testament, we see the Lord prepare His people for judgment by raising up false prophets and selfish leaders.  May the Lord has mercy on us and raise up men who realize the great need to lead!  And may we seek the grace to become worthy of being followed!

Anyhow, as usual I wasn’t expecting to write all of that.  I am presently finishing up my studies and one of my last assignments revolved around the nature of public and private information.  One aspect of this (and a big aspect at that) has to do with the amount of ‘coverage’ or ‘protection’ particular persons receive.  Presently, the protection one receives operates on something of a sliding scale.  The more famous you are, the less protection you receive.  The less famous you are, the more protection you receive.

At the same time, there was a ruling a number of years back that sort of set the standard or drew the line between private and public information.  The ruling said that the line between public and private information “is to be drawn when the publicity ceases to be the giving of information to which the public is entitled, and becomes a morbid and sensational prying into private lives for its own sake.”

Here is what I am having a difficult time with:  how does the sliding scale and that standard (or line) coexist?

If you think about, the standard (or line) drawn up was probably a good one.  It protected something of a public interest–namely, the interest to not get caught up investing your life into the private happenings of others (probably b/c it is a waste of one’s life!).  Yet there can be no doubt that in our present culture, this standard is by no means upheld.  Just go to the grocery store check-out line.  What do you find except a bunch of information that no one should care about?  Is it not plain to us all that we struggle with a morbid and sensational prying into the private lives of others for its own sake?  I would think so.

Add to this the concept of ‘newsworthiness’–which various Courts have raised decisions about.  The interesting thing here is how the Courts have come to define newsworthiness in such a way that the general convictions of the public hold sway.  What does this mean?  Simply put, something is newsworthy (and ok to publish) as long as the general public (or specifically, the ‘normal, competent’ citizen) would approve it.  Now think about that.  Isn’t that scary?  Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so scary if the majority of people loved their Bibles or at the very least, adhered to basic morality.  However, when we find ourselves in the cultural context of today–where the ‘rights’ of men to do whatever they so feel are emphasized–such a notion is a scary one.

Once again, we find more evidence of what happens when a secure, objective, Creator-centered moral base is thrown off for the ever-changing, subjective, godless convictions of the hearts of men.  All you are left with is the subjective convictions of the hearts of fallen men.  And if our culture continues to go the direction it is now headed, things could be very scary indeed.  What might our children have to endure?

Let us pray to the Lord for a mighty outpouring brother.  Nothing can change the present religious, political and societal culture, but a powerful working of the Holy Spirit.  We will either be revived or we will die.  May the Lord have mercy.

Praying for great grace with you,

Joe

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