Check Your Sources

I often read reviews when buying something. It can be a hilarious education. Recently, I was reminded of a broader lesson than product quality. First a disclaimer to the women who read this blog: please keep reading. There’s a gender neutral insight here that we all miss periodically.

Looking for a replacement shaving head for my electric razor, I discovered that the replacement head I had bought five times before was no longer available. There was a different replacement head. I found that item number and starting reading reviews. Oh, my! Why would anyone buy that shaving head? The reviews were harsh – “Cheap construction . . . ruins [the company’s] reputation. . . . If I could give negative stars I would. . . . Substandard. . . . It is terrible. . . . Horrible.” On and on they went, with an infrequent good review.

The majority opinion won me over. No way would I join those dissatisfied customers. Faced with the prospect of replacing a relatively expensive electric razor, like a bird dog I turned to find one of the old replacement heads. Surely there was one somewhere. No. None.

In my irretrievability, I called the company again and happened onto a very helpful customer service person. Explaining my plight, I told him about the abominable reviews. It was no news to him. But he added, the company was dismayed by the bad reviews, revealing that the shaving head taking the rap was also on one of their best razors. There it’s getting raving reviews! “Why don’t you give it a try,” he suggested.

I did. That shaving head has given the best shave I’ve ever had with an elective razor. Then I saw the broader lesson. Regretting the time wasted scrounging around, I mused: how many times have I, have you, listened to the wrong people and wasted time, sleep or peace over something far more important?

The news is a plethora of bad reviews on people, events, faith, the future, among other things. The philosophy of what makes news is that primarily only bad/negative things affect us. Link that to the scarcity of critical thinking today, and you have a recipe for wasted time, hopelessness, good ideas shelved and vision crushed. A positive, uplifting news story, often inspiring, hope-filled and clearly affecting good actions, is a mere tag at the end of a broadcast. There should be a treatment for the melancholy that looms after the evening news. Some will remember Walter Cronkite’s famous end-line on his broadcast, “That’s the way it is” after 30 minutes of reporting how bad things are. That may NOT be the way it is!

I’m not suggesting we plug our ears from the news. I’m a news junkie. I like being informed. But I/we do have to be careful of our sources.

How many people have been discouraged by someone telling them, “you can’t do that, you’re not smart enough, you don’t have enough education”? Then along comes a Bill Gates, who dropped out of Harvard and from his genius Microsoft emerged. Education is vital leaven for opportunity, but when we limit paradigms we may contribute to waste.

Some people have written off the message of the Bible and have not uncovered its leading edge on truth. Why did they write it off? Because one of their sources never cracked it open? Or questioned it? Check your sources. Why have so many called it Good News?

Did one of your sources tell you God was not knowable? That it would make no difference to seek God, to talk with God? What reviews have you read on God? Check your sources. You might discover what you have missed.

Author: Randy J. Gauger

Christ-follower, husband of Mary for 52 years, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, writer, preacher, ordained American Baptist Pastor, retired.

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