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Tumultuous times

2017 tears, cheers, fears—and a peer into 2018

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Airport shooting. Trump inauguration. Travel ban. Pipeline protest. Midwest tornadoes. Neil Gorsuch. School shooting. Comey firing. Obamacare survival. Solar eclipse. Charlottesville killing. Antifa violence. National anthem protests. Concert shooting. Wildfires. Church shooting. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Books, movies, and music CDs that reflect and amplify atheism and anarchy.

I’ve just been looking at mostly domestic stories in the first draft of WORLD’s next issue, which will be our Year in Review special—or maybe we should call it the Year of Tears. The international stories are also heart-rending: Peruvian floods. Coptic church bombings. Terrorism and fire in England. Venezuelan protests. China crackdown. Mexican earthquakes. North Korean missiles.

Christians should keep track of this bad news for at least three reasons. First, God tells us to mourn with those who mourn and pray for them. Second, tragedies remind us of our own mortality and push us to yearn for heaven: As Puritan pastor Increase Mather put it, “Man knows not his time.” Third, if we discern the times, we can slightly influence the world through our buying, voting, and other actions, and we can greatly influence our churches and communities.

I’m amazed and grateful that we produce all these publications, programs, and educational resources with a budget roughly the size of a Christian high school’s.

How to follow what’s going on? The Washington Post and most television news networks are so anti-Trump all the time that it’s hard to know what’s fact and what’s just friction. I’ll watch Fox News over CNN, but Fox fear-selling also increases demands for antacids and high blood pressure medications. WORLD reminds us to be watchful but not anxious, because God is still in charge.

Through God’s grace in keeping our staff members healthy and hardworking, a relatively small number of WORLD reporters and editors create the magazine you read, the website and podcast an increasing number of you access, and our educational tools—newspapers for children and the World Journalism Institute for adults. Our daily half-hour podcast is perfect for busy people commuting to work or cleaning house. My wife and I listen as we walk our dog, Greeley: I hope you give the same present to both your body and your mind.

One big change in 2017 came on our website. We inaugurated The Sift, a daily wrap-up of the major news stories that allows you in several minutes to avoid blindsiding by a neighbor or co-worker who asks what you think of hot news and hopes to get more than a confused “wha?” We also created weekly Roundups of developments in abortion, education, culture, family issues, politics, science, religious liberty, and other areas, along with our thrice-weekly Globe Trot.

I’m amazed and grateful that we produce all these publications, programs, and educational resources with a budget roughly the size of a Christian high school’s. We’d like to do much more. Investigative reporting in America today is like a soccer game with 4-year-olds: Everyone surrounds the ball and leaves wide open 95 percent of the field, often including the goals themselves. “What can we dig out on Trump?” is today’s common journalistic refrain, while the battles fought out within corporations and colleges go largely unreported.

If we receive funding from our donors and ferret out information, I hope you will read on our magazine pages during 2018 investigative stories about how the LGBT offensive is steadily pushing ahead in large corporations whose decisions then affect all our lives. (Realizing the pressure on Christian business insiders, we offer confidentiality when needed: Call 800-951-NEWS and leave a message with June McGraw at the WORLD business office in Asheville.)

We’re also continuing to expand our World Journalism Institute activities, which reach into secular as well as Christian schools. We take advantage of opportunities: In November I spoke to some Christians at the University of California at Berkeley and felt secure but mildly insulted when protesters did not surround me. We hope to be of service to young Christian journalists in China and Africa as well.

If reading or listening to any of our WORLD products during 2017 was helpful to you, or if you’d like to see more of our investigative reporting and educational activities in 2018, please donate by using the envelope in our printed magazine or giving online at wng.org/worldmovers.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is the former editor in chief of WORLD, having retired in January 2022, and former dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books, including Reforming Journalism.



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