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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Fake News

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

My mom—the day before she drove herself two hours from southern Minnesota to a Twin Cities hospital, where she was admitted due to two blocked arteries—made this comment. I know some Christians who are pretty depressed about the outcome of the election. And I was able to say to her (and I’m saying here again to you)—maybe they’re putting their hope in the wrong leader. And she agreed.

Of course, if you’ve been following this blog at all this year, you know I’m talking about Jesus, and not a presidential candidate.

Turns out my mom needed two stents and a couple of overnights in recovery, and ultimately she’s going to need a ride home. One of my brothers asked in a text if she’d thought to bring something to read, to which she responded, “I have my phone.” Great, I thought, thinking about the documentary I’d watched the night before. It was Nils’ recommendation, one he’d watched during his COVID quarantine.

The documentary was about fake news and social media—The Social Dilemma—and it was sobering at best. Several Silicon Valley gurus share the inside scoop on their former companies, from which they’ve supposedly separated for ethical reasons. They talk about algorithms and Artificial Intelligence, and how your newsfeed is customized to suit your interests, and “Google doesn’t know the difference between fake news and the truth.” (No kidding.)

From the beginning of 2020 I’ve been literally begging anyone who will listen, to make listening to Jesus their highest priority. The voices around us are going to be LOUD. (This was my assumption months ago, and I wasn’t even factoring algorithms.) How are we going to hear the voice of the Spirit?

At the risk of sounding boastful, I want to share with you today a glimpse into my personal practices. Today is my birthday. I am 53. (My husband has made sure of this, as I am prone to losing track.) Nearly 20 years ago God began to transform my spiritual journey, by inviting me daily to “linger longer.” My kids were young, and I was working part-time (a luxury I’ve enjoyed through most of my adulthood.) My best option for lingering was early morning, so each day I'd set aside the first hour or so—often stretching into two—to be with God. Looking back, what I experienced seems impossible. I recently commented to a friend, “It was like loaves and fish. God literally multiplied the hours in my day.”

This is still my practice. I read my Bible, with no agenda, lingering long. I listen, I pray, maybe write some thoughts in my journal. I avoid “homework.” Knowing myself well enough to admit, Bible studies and seminary reading are not the same as “lingering with Jesus.” I want to hear from Him. Ironically (and miraculously), during my years of parenting elementary-aged kids, relying only on “non-lingering-time," I was able to write a Bible study, and a book manuscript, while working part-time. (Loaves and fish, I tell you.)

Recently I heard about an interview between a news reporter and Mother Theresa. (I am by no means comparing myself to her.) The reporter inquired, “What do you ask God for when you pray?” Her response, “I listen.” Then…”What does He say?” And Mother Theresa answered, “He listens. And if you don’t understand this, I’m afraid I can’t explain it to you.”

We need to listen. We need to let the actual thoughts, the voice of God, overwhelm us. Especially now. We cannot be letting other voices take over. Followers of Jesus. Beware.

I have longed…ached…this year, 2020, for fellowship. Fellowship first and foremost, with Jesus. But fellowship with other Christians, too. I am not interested in which side of which issue you are on. I want to be Elizabeth whose spirit leapt when Mary walked into the room. Because—brothers and sisters—we share this in common. The same Spirit, once babe in a mother’s womb, is the indwelling presence of Jesus in you.

My husband and I voted for opposite presidential candidates in 2020. That may surprise you, and make you curious, which is not my point. What I want you to know is that the two of us could not be more unified when it comes to the outcome of this election. We are one in Spirit. Emotionally detached in every way from a political outcome, because we agree. Our King is reigning, now and forever, and we are only ever concerned with giving our allegiance to Him.

I will assume my soapbox for one more comment, before letting it rest. If you are counting on your online news feed to shape your thoughts, and to tell you the truth, you are going to be sadly disappointed. Maybe you already are. I beg you, give up on that. Turn it off. Delete it from your phone and your life, if that’s what’s needed. And hear His Voice, urging you…Come and linger.

I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. 1 John 2:26-27

P.S. Mom is back home and doing great!

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