The_sky_is_falling The TV stations were abuzz over the weekend painting scary visions of ice storms that would wreak havoc on the Dallas area like a great plague. Many went to Walmart or Target stocking up on supplies as thought a hurricane was about to hit. On Saturday night, I went to Blockbuster–which looked like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange inside as everyone, confident that a great plague was on it’s way that would cancel school and work perhaps for years, rented Blockbuster dry.

Churches canceled services. A Christian unity event expected to draw thousands was canceled as well. All for…

No ice. Not one pellet.

While there may be ice still to come, this got me thinking about the unbelievable amount of trust and influence the media is granted in our country. It got me thinking that someone needs to ask them hard questions about how they do their job, just as they ask hard questions of others.

Perhaps, we should understand that they are in businesses as well as news outlets. They must survive and boost ratings…and this might tempt them to exaggerate even a simple weather story to keep us glued to our TV sets. It might tempt them to interpret the events they report in a sensationalist way for the sake of their own advancement.

I know that many media outlets do the best they can to be as accurate as they can without prejudice, but these questions need to be asked nonetheless. This might encourage the media to be less quick to jump to conclusions about the motives of others’ behaviors, and to carry out their responsibilities with utmost pride and integrity.

This is why preachers should appreciate people who ask questions about what they communicate from the pulpit as well–provided it’s done in love and earnest quest for the truth–rather than hostility or a critical spirit. It’s good for people to listen carefully enough to question what they are being taught, and it’s good for those who preach to know people are listening…for it calls us to be truthful and accuracy in what we say.

Here are the questions for today: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much influence do you think the media has in America? Is that level of influence appropriate? Now, answer the same questions of the pulpit.

What are the implications for us as a society?

And, if you saw the season premier of 24 last night…what’d you think?