Why I Try to Avoid Most Right-Wing Talk Radio

Dr. Russell Moore, of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission, has a great post over at Desiring God entitled, “Too Scared to Cry: Social Media Outrage and the Gospel.”  I especially resonated with these nuggets culled from Moore’s post:

We must learn to lament, because once we no longer lament we turn instead to anger, outrage, blame, and quarrelsomeness. The louder and more frantic the anger, the more we feel as though we’re really showing conviction and grit…

The problem with carnal anger and outrage is that it is one of the easiest sins to commit, all the while convincing oneself that it’s faithfulness. After all, how many angry, divisive, perpetually outraged Christians are convinced that they are Old Testament prophets, calling down fire from heaven? …

Rage itself is no sign of authority, prophetic or otherwise…

Anger is sometimes right. God in his holiness displays wrath. But God’s anger is slow to kindle, rooted in the patience of the One who is “not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s anger is not a means of catharsis, and it certainly isn’t the theatrical display of a temper out of control. That’s why the Bible warns us that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20)…

The outrage culture of today, whether broadcast across the airwaves or clicked about on social media, can make us feel better for a moment, but it cannot yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness…

While Moore’s post is mainly about social media, it immediately reminded me of talk radio.  I went through a time of listening to some conservative, right-wing talk radio.  But I could only take so much.  Anger, angst, and agitation nearly always seemed to be the results I saw in myself from listening to it.  Come to think of it, there was probably a good dose of pride thrown in there too – a superiority complex toward those on “the other side” of the issues.

Missing?  Compassion.  Lament.  Sorrow.  Humility.   Peace.  Love.  Above all, a perspective based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which transcends, trumps, and outlasts American politics, red or blue.

This is why I don’t concern myself too much with Rush, Hannity, et al.  It’s not that I have a problem with everything they’re saying.  It’s that the way they say it leaves me feeling angry, proud, and then when I think about it, kind of soiled.  (I can listen to people I totally disagree with on NPR and come away with a totally different kind of reaction.)

For a time I did find one suitable alternative: the Albert Mohler program (discontinued, though Dr. Mohler has other broadcast outlets now).  Mohler could deal with the news, tackle tough issues head on, interview interesting guests with a variety of viewpoints, handle callers, and do all this with clarity, grace, and an eternal perspective that challenged and refreshed and sought to understand things in light of Jesus and His righteousness, not our all-too often self-righteous indignation.