What We All Need to See ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

The Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 2002 | Go to article overview

What We All Need to See ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life


This coming Sunday, March 10, CBS plans to air a two-hour special featuring footage that's never been seen of the attack on the World Trade Center. In an unusual coincidence, on Sept. 11 a documentary crew already was at work in Manhattan on a piece about New York City firefighters. They caught on tape the plane flying into the north tower, the first tower struck. They also caught many dramatic moments of carnage. Some of the footage is from inside the towers.

Even before its airing, the special stirs controversy. Relatives of those lost on Sept. 11 argue that the special will re-traumatize them, reminding them all too vividly of images they want to forget. Several of those relatives mounted a campaign to persuade CBS not to use the new footage of atrocities.

Generally speaking, when a filmmaker has ratings-grabbing footage of a controversial nature, he or she goes through a certain amount of public hand-wringing over the question, Do I have an obligation, a public duty to show the material? They often manage to reluctantly conclude that they do, and the footage is aired, and the ratings are grabbed. There's no reason to look for a different outcome here. Larry Grossman, former president of NBC News, offered a balanced summary from a newsperson's perspective. "It's a wrenching decision. Are you doing it to exploit an event because you have [the footage] or are you doing it as a public service? The answer is probably both" (The Boston Globe, Feb. 21).

Whether you plan to view the program or not, questions remain concerning what we see, what we need to see, and how we respond.

The Bible's book of Job directs our gaze considerably higher than even the top of the World Trade Center once would have. "Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.... Remember that thou magnify his [God's] work, which men behold. Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off" (35:5; 36:24, 25).

We all need to see - and already have within us the capacity to behold - more of God's work. Sometimes, as Job implies, we get hints of that through scenes from nature - looking to the heavens, beholding the clouds or taking in some other scene of exquisite peace and beauty. …

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