Love Affair With The Wrong Story

Whether it’s print media or broadcast, those reporting the news have a love affair with the Occupy Wall Street “movement.” It’s hardly a real movement — more a hyped wannabe.

David Brooks in his New York Times article “Is Occupy Wall Street Being Overhyped?” stated that there are all of thirty people involved in the movement in Minneapolis. That number swells to eighty in Washington.

Meanwhile, here in SoCal, the Los Angeles Times lists over two hundred articles covering this movement since its inception. Interestingly, the LA city leadership has been encouraging, even supportive of it:

Los Angeles elected officials have been assiduously wooing the Occupy movement, which inspired protesters furious at Wall Street to take over the grassy area around City Hall downtown — and public spaces in cities across the nation.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gave 100 ponchos to soggy demonstrators during the last big rain. Council President Eric Garcetti told campers in the tent community to “stay as long as you need to.” And officials have quietly allowed the urban camp-out to continue, despite a law prohibiting overnight stays at city parks. (“Officials’ embrace of Occupy L.A. loosens a bit over fiscal issue”)

In spite of all this support and the media attention, only seven hundred people are staying in the tents, though that number reportedly “swells” to an unknown degree during the day.

The other notable thing is this: the Occupy Wall Street story sprang up because unspecified hundreds of people protested in Lower Manhattan and marched up Broadway a little over a month ago. One hundred and fifty of them then spent the night. And a story was born. Because of only a few hundred. Now a month later people are starting to ask if perhaps the media loves this story more than the rest of us do.

The Third Step Event is an innovative outreach to women enrolled in secular recovery programs.

Why did Occupy Wall Street become the story du jour? What makes these few hundreds more news worthy than, say, the many Walk for Life events that take place yearly? Or how about something like the upcoming Third Step Event scheduled for this Saturday in the Los Angeles area.

Third Step is a practical, positive movement designed to make a difference in the lives of women struggling with substance abuse. I see these women as similar to the woman at the well Jesus talked with or the Syrophonecian woman whose demon-possessed daughter Jesus healed. In other words, they are women in need of the Savior.

And more than six hundred of them will gather together at the Third Step Event where Christians will serve them and tell them about Jesus. From the Third Step Event “About” page:

The Third Step Event [so named after the third step in the twelve-step recovery program used by many substance abuse facilities, which involves “turning one’s life and will over to a higher power”] is an innovative outreach to women enrolled in secular recovery programs. Once a year, women in recovery are invited to attend an elegant cost-free event within an atmosphere of love, acceptance and celebration of the women’s decision to achieve sobriety. Following a full course meal, the women are treated to a special program filled with music, drama, testimonials of deliverance and they are presented a powerful and inspiring message of how freedom and transformation was attained through faith in Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18). The women are extended the opportunity to respond to the message of salvation and to pray with a trained altar counselor for God’s love and power to free them from every form [of] addiction and bondage. At the conclusion of the event, the women receive a free Bible, literature to continue in their spiritual growth, a gift bag filled with lots of special goodies, and a referral list to local churches for the women’s continued Christian growth and development upon discharging from their recovery program.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a better story than Occupy Wall Street.

I wonder what it would take to generate over 200 stories in the LA Times about the Third Step Event. Would the program have to spread to all fifty states? Grow from 600 to 600,000? Would it have to be a sustained movement lasting a month or longer rather than a yearly event now occurring for the ninth time?

I suppose there’s little chance of the media ever falling in love with this story because it shows Christians doing Christ-like things — selflessly helping the most needy and neglected and forlorn of our society.

Third Step is an interdenominational, Bible-centered ministry outreach, seeking innovative methods to reach the lost for Jesus Christ. The Third Step Event strongly depends on the participation and support of local church ministries.

But wouldn’t it be fun to try and get media attention by just these kinds of acts of love? I wonder how those who say hateful things about Christians would resolve their concept of Christianity with the picture of Christians giving generously of their time, talents, resources to strangers.

I know Christians do selfless things all the time. My church’s high school group sent a team of students to New Orleans after Katrina, for example. But then many non-Christian groups went to help, too, so the story surely wasn’t about Christians doing Christ-like things.

Even Walk for Life events brush up against politics and may seem agenda-driven rather than service oriented, so what’s to separate them from other political endeavors?

The Third Step Event is different because there’s nothing in it for the organizers — except obedience to their Savior and His future “Well done, good and faithful servant” they are bound to hear.

This is a story I can love!

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