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|An Amazing Year
by Randy Robison
Gleaning my father's insight on a wide range of topics provides endless food for thought and reading the response to his columns is equally intriguing. Some of the more critical (and often absurd) comments can be quite entertaining.
Over the year, we addressed terrorism (The Terror Behind The Terrorists, Destruction at the Door, The Right To Retaliate), politics (A Test of Character, Don't Let The Media Choose Our President, Oprah and Obama), social issues (A Christian Response to Global Warming, The Father and the Prodigals, The Immigration Solution) and spiritual topics (When Evil Manifests, Answered Prayer, Addictions, Compulsions and Solutions).
We focused on inspirational people, including Ruth Bell Graham, The Masters champion golfer Zack Johnson and Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, as well as some not-so-inspirational people, like Michael Vick and the psychologist/sex-and-drug advocate Joel Becker. We shared the amazing story of stem cell baby Noah and reflected on the life of Jerry Falwell.
Perhaps the most polarizing column came after the interview with television commentator Bill O'Reily. Readers tend to either love or hate him, leading to some pretty scathing feedback. One reader called him "pompous, unloving, condemning and self-righteous." Another accused him of being racist, saying, "Bill O'Reilly and Hannity and others only support white male issues" while "Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton represent all of black America."
This feedback led to the first "response" column from my father in Looking for the Perfect Guest. In turn, we received more feedback than ever before in support of our willingness to talk to people, even when we do not endorse or agree with all of their views.
The most entertaining feedback comes from a few readers who always respond with typical, knee-jerk liberal ideology. They tend to come in short, often incoherent bursts, like "Bush lied, people died" and "America the real enemy of Bush the terrorist!!!"
A thought-provoking debate came from an article related to Darwinism and intelligent design (Why Would Science Fear God?). The suggestion that it doesn't matter whether creation occurred in six 24-hour periods or in a more complicated, figurative manner did not sit well with some people. "If God didn't mean six days," one reader asked, "why didn't he just say so?" (My immediate thought was, "Perhaps I should pluck out my eye -- literally -- since Jesus didn't say that was figurative!")
Another reader challenged, "Why then does the Bible specifically number years starting with Genesis 5 and then do the same from time to time in genealogies, kings' reigns, years of captivity, and so on? Could you maybe add them up and specifically find the age of the earth? None of us witnessed creation but God did. Is He a reliable witness?"
Most of the feedback we receive is positive and encouraging, but, surprisingly, the harshest criticism came from an innocuous article about Christmas (Happy Birthday, Jesus). Frankly, I assumed that a traditional "Jesus is the reason for the season" message would be appreciated by our audience. But one reader replied, "Are you just plain stupid??? This is not Jesus' birthday! Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. It is not now or has it ever been His birthday. What a fool you are to think that."
And so we begin a new year talking about the things you find compelling and relating the concerns we believe important. Given that this is an election year, I am sure that we will touch on a bit of controversy. As always, we look forward to your response -- even when you disagree.
Hopefully, you will be challenged, inspired and entertained. I encourage you to forward articles that you find interesting and prompt your fellow "thinkers" to sign up for the column. I will be here every week, diet soda on my desk and David Crowder band on my mp3 player, relaying my father's views and reading your response. And if you want to call us fools, that's alright, too. It lets us know that you're actually reading the articles and gives me something to smile about.
Author: Randy Robison
Word Count: 719
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net
Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.