People don't believe what they hear, they believe what they see. Did you know that Missouri is the "show me" state? You have to prove to Missourians what you are claiming! In the military, orders can be given to do an "eyes-on" inspection. You can't take someone else's word for It. TV news is very powerful because it shows visual images of what happened: a car wreck, a house fire, a police confrontation, a tornado funnel on the ground; a person making a claim.
Next to seeing it, hearing it is almost as good. When I was a radio news reporter, I frequently used "actualities." These were short clips of people saying something. It could have been a state politician, a city official, the county sheriff, a sports figure, or some ordinary person involved in the story. I interviewed NASA officials, Senate candidates, the Governor, and had two stories carried on NBC news. I edited recorded statements for time (I only had five minutes for my news show) then included their audio clip as part of my hourly broadcast on WLAK.
Seeing and hearing from an original source can be a powerful tool. It can provoke an emotional reaction. A news correspondent can make a statement, but I'm left to wonder, "Is that their opinion or did that really happen?" In important matters, I don't want their personal bias filtering what I am being led to believe. I want my own independent judgment to be able to sort out the information and arrive at an unbiased conclusion, one that is true to the facts.
For this reason, Walter Cronkite was America's most trusted TV news anchors. His factual reporting carried authority because he kept himself out of the story. Edward R. Murrow was captivating because he interviewed significant people, bringing major events to life for his TV audiences. The news is the first draft of history. In hindsight, it may not always be right. However, first impressions are difficult to change. More perspective over time is usually needed. It is true that whoever writes history makes history.
Are you an eyewitness to history? Has your life included seeing things or hearing things that caused your world to tilt? Our beliefs about how life works can shift dramatically when we are confronted with evidence that makes us re-examine old traditions.
The first time I saw a healing miracle, it shocked me. It caught my attention. I saw a man, an evangelist, heal a crippled person using his supernatural gift of faith. They were visibly cured of their lameness while I watched. God was glorified, the man received mercy, and a miracle was displayed in the name of Jesus. My world view suddenly changed. In a moment the Bible was true and Jesus was alive - in the present day, not just as an historical figure.
Jesus used miracles as visual aids. He performed healings by means of the anointing of the Holy Spirit who rested on him since his baptism in the Jordan River. But I wonder if a few of his signs were done because he was the Son of God. For instance, turning the water into wine, or calming a stormy sea, or feeding a multitude by multiplying a handful of fish and bread.
My wife and I have been going through the new video series, "The Chosen." It brings Jesus' life to the screen in such a non-religious, authentic way. I love Jesus' smiles and laughter! I can report that this is the best presentation ever dramatized of Jesus' life that I've seen.
-- Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Email him at [email protected] or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.
Editorial on 05/13/2020
Print Headline: Seeing is believing