Looking through this date in history, it’s a date scattered with disasters, including the Hawke’s Bay earthquake, New Zealand’s worst natural disaster in 1931, with 258 dead; a Baghdad market bombing in 2007 which killed at least 135 people, with hundreds more injured, and 33 people killed by a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2013. This is the nature of news: we so often hear the worst of every situation, and as we consume news through multiple channels, it can be hard to battle against the cumulative depressive effect that this can have, upon our thinking, and therefore our motivation to engage with others.
In 1 Chronicles 16:23, we are told “Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.” One really encouraging story that I came across from this day in history is that in 1943, four US Army chaplains drowned after giving their life jackets to others – the story even makes it onto Wikipedia (search ‘Four Chaplains’). The chaplains were from a range of denominations, sang hymns as they drowned, and were a great example of self-sacrifice and cheerfulness in the face of death. I wonder if we’d be prepared to do the same?
Today, can we think about how we can add some good news into the world: not platitudes, but evidence of real joy amongst the struggles and reality of everyday life.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.