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Joel BelzVoices Joel Belz

No phony foes

WORLD and you can operate with a balanced, two-sided worldview

No phony foes

(Krieg Barrie)

“To succeed in the magazine business,” a very wise man once told me, “you need to have a good enemy.” His own magazine enterprise was failing just then, and my friend told me he felt like the March of Dimes after polio seemed licked. “Neither they nor I,” he said a bit sadly, “have found the enemy we need to rally the troops.”

I understood what he meant, but I winced a little. If you have to manufacture a new enemy every time things begin to go wrong, somebody’s going to catch on soon. A phony foe is no more helpful than a phony friend.

But who, in these dark and dire days, needs phony foes? Aren’t there enough of the genuine variety to go around? Readers know that we at WORLD aren’t overstating things when we report how bad the news is.

So here’s the point. The goal of my column this week is to persuade you (and many of your fellow readers) to say to yourself: “You already know, self, that WORLD’s journalistic mission is important. You know that WORLD has already expanded its mission far beyond the pages of a magazine, thanks to you, self, and a whole lot of people like you. You’ve heard about WORLD’s new daily audio newscasts and its weekly radio program that’s airing on nearly 500 radio stations. You know how World Journalism Institute has helped propel scores of young men and women into media jobs—all with a Christian perspective on their work.” 

And I’d persuade you to thank yourself, as we frequently thank you, because without your membership, the gift memberships you’ve given, and the charitable contributions you’ve made on top of everything else, we would not be around to tell the stories of what’s really happening in the world.

Getting you to talk to yourself is not my only goal, of course. After you’ve had this conversation with yourself, I hope you’ll take the envelope bound into this issue and send it our way with a check indicating your support.

But I’m well aware, as you ponder how much might be appropriate for such a gift, that you might be one of those who responds best to a good scare. You want me to haul out a real enemy—maybe in Tehran, in Syria, or even in the IRS office in Washington. If I do it right, I just might create the image of an enemy that needs your vigorous opposition by enabling us to enhance the product WORLD creates with every story it tells.

Ah, but on the other hand, you might be a supporter who responds best to heartening words about how God has all this messy mayhem under control. You respond not to fearmongering but to encouragement.

How do I decide which of those two instruments to play?

That’s easy. WORLD, in every story it tells, plays both instruments. We are here partly to detail for you what a miserable mess we humans have made of God’s marvelous creation and order of things. Hard and depressing as it is, we need to hear that side of things. We can’t be knowledgeable citizens without such coverage.

But we also need to hear the promise of God’s ultimate redemption. We need to be reminded that our Redeemer is the one who will triumph in the end, equipping us with His full and effective armor. WORLD promises never to forget its duty to sound that side of the story as well. This takes balanced journalism to a whole new level.

That’s why I’m bold to ask you to write out a check to WORLD for $25, $50, $100, or even $1,000, to continue its balanced two-sided worldview. And every year when I make this request, I also say boldly: I’m looking for 25 of you who will send me a note committing to give $5,000 not just this year, but each year for a three-year stretch. That kind of forward thinking helps us in our longer range planning.

Whatever its size, and whatever the IRS decides to do over the coming year (subliminal scare tactic), your gift to WORLD is fully tax deductible. To give quickly and securely online, visit

What other gift lets you legitimately think of yourself as both a pessimist and an optimist at the very same time? We’re painfully aware of and acquainted with the enemy. But better than that, we know the One who will vanquish all His and our foes.



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  • mstade
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 04:24 pm

    Tried to donate but the website is not working.