Faith Matters: Where the News is Good

Pastor Shawn Hannon
Contributing Writer Pastor Shawn Hannon

My home church, First Lutheran on Chandler Street, had a motto I remember from my teenage years. I’m not certain whether or not it continues, but when I was there it read: “First Lutheran Church: Where the News is Good.”

20 years ago that was a reflection of the things that tended to dominate the nightly news report: sad and tragic events. It was a statement that in a world that seems saturated with bad news of car accidents and gun fights and scandal, there is still a place where the news is good.

But news today is more than just bad. Today we deliver opinions and speculation and report them as truth. We’ve bought into the notion that for things to be newsworthy, they must be sensational. We did not use to report on 5” of snow with the urgency we do these days. News no longer delivers the facts and leaves the listener to decide what to think, but delivers what to think and omits the facts. And in the end, everyone thinks they are right about everything, and no one is.

What we need today is not just places where the news is good, but where the news is true.

Truth is freedom and liberation, and the one and only source of it has not changed. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31).

Truth matters. And in a world where it can be hard to find, may we remember that too often that is because we are looking in the wrong places. Much of life that we wish was black and white is relative and subject to experience. We do ourselves a disservice when we neglect to treat it and talk about it as such. But something remains that is steadfast and firm: Jesus.

Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. Everything else, we muck through together. Find yourself a place where the good news rings true, and trust me you will not find it on ANY television channel.

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

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Pastor Shawn Hannon
Pastor Shawn is a 2010 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and he began his call at Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade NY that summer. While he spent four years learning and serving churches in South and North Carolina, as a Jamestown, NY native, Western New York has always been home. He is glad to be here. Pastor Shawn and his wife Carol Hannon met while attending SUNY Geneseo in the mid-2000s. They have enjoyed making their home together in Arcade with their daughters Quinn and Perry.   Pastor Shawn has a background in youth and outdoor ministry. He is a former camper and staff person at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center in Bemus Point, NY. He has also served camps in urban settings and oversees in Madagascar. In seminary he was recognized for gifts in Greek and New Testament, and in his senior year was recognized with awards in both Preaching and Biblical Studies. Pastor Shawn continues to emphasize the youth in his ministry, but not simply because they are the future church, but because they are the church of today.  He also enjoys working on service projects, and takes the role of planning meaningful and engaging worship seriously.  He loves helping people find ways to put their passion and energy to work making their community and other people’s worlds a better place. When he is not working at church, Shawn enjoys remodeling and construction projects around his family’s home.  But as busy as he gets, PS always has time for a quick nine (okay, 18) on the golf course. He enjoys playing sports of all kinds and fiddling with his guitar.