Yesterday, we looked at the example of the controversy over Pres. Obama’s birth certificate and began to ask the question: is how this has been handled, instructive for us in the church when we deal with controversies, rumors and the like in the church.
Most churches go through times of rumor or controversy. Those who are public positions need to have thought through how they would handle these types of situations.
According to the model proposed by Dr. Sam Wang (Assoc. Prof of Molecular Biology & Neuroscience at Princeton) was this:
- 1. It is a reasonable policy for those involved in the rumor or controversy not address it as long as you can.
- 2. State the facts concisely without reinforcing the falsehood (if you remember from yesterday, simply repeating a rumor or falsehood can cause us to remember it and later believe that it has merit, because we forget the context in which we first heard it.)
- Bring it back to the storyline (on what do you want the church to be focusing?)
- Use images-they strike a visceral cord (as does the women with the American flag in yesterday’s post). Repeatedly showing Obama’s certificate of live birth was recommended. Perhaps even having an Aug 4-birthday party for for Obama in Hawaii and letting the media cover it!
- Question the sources & their credibility.
- Get a third party to look at the evidence.
I am not suggesting that we should necessarily adopt principles that the government or secular entities use. But with the comments from Dr. Wang about how the brain functions, is this a helpful way to react to rumor and controversy? Are there biblical principles that weigh in here? Talk back to me…help me think this through. What do YOU think?