Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry Into the News by Jeffrey Bilbro

Reading the Times

Author Jeffrey Bilbro offers Christian readers a perceptive and pastoral vision for “reading the news in order to love our neighbors.” Challenging the current cultural climate in which North Americans engage with and relate to the news media in its various incarnations, Bilbro says, “We don’t just need the media to cast a more piercing light; rather, as consumers of the news, we need to reevaluate the light we rely on to understand our times and discern how to respond.”  

Bilbro frames his book within the context of “a different light” as proclaimed by the apostle John. Bilbro explains, “John urges us to place our faith not in the light shed by the news of the moment but in the light of the good news that speaks time itself into existence. The primary light we need to participate in democracy, to serve the common good, and to dwell as faithful citizens of the City of God is shed not by The Washington Post but by ‘the light of the world’ (John 8:12).”  

Bilbro presents Christians with “a practical theology of the news,” focussing on three areas: attention, time, and community. He asks, “To what should we attend? How should we imagine and experience time? How should we belong to one another?” The concluding chapters of each section—presenting, in turn, liturgies of attention, liturgies of Christian time, and liturgies of Christian belonging—are particularly practical and helpful.  

Though the book doesn’t include questions for each chapter, it would make an excellent resource for small group discussion. (IVP)

About the Author

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.

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