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When the News Intrudes

When President Kennedy was assassinated almost 40 years ago, Walter Cronkite interrupted "As the World Turns" with the tragic announcement.

Pastor Gene Boutellier climbed the tower of his Fresno church, and began pulling the bell rope. Much later, exhausted from his tolling, he descended and found the sanctuary full of weeping people. Tear-streaked faces turned upward, wondering what he would say.1 The scene was repeated the following Sunday in virtually every church in the nation. People needing hope turned to their pastors. Preachers of the generation called it "The Sunday with God."

When President Kennedy's son died in a plane crash last year, the news media climbed their towers and sounded the alarm. After witnessing a week of non-stop coverage, pastors ascended their pulpits wondering, What should I say? Should I say anything at all?

And if they're like me, they wondered, How do I preach to the endless tide of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, celebrity deaths, and political intrigue? ...

December
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