A chance to get something off my chest

Needless to say, skimmers who tend to only read headlines can be misinformed.

Posted on Aug. 9, 2014 at 6:57 p.m.

A couple of weeks ago, a critic had the temerity to take umbrage and attack my column, “Church tries a new idea.” Imagine that. A critic. It was shocking (“If church wants to open a coffee shop, buy a building zoned for commercial use,” Dick Myatt, July 29 People’s Forum).

OK, I’m being a smart aleck. The truth is my critic’s commentary and his “empty hypothesizing” gives me a good lead-in to a subject I’ve wanted to write about.

There are some things that are worth thinking about when the morning edition is plopped in front of your just-waking-up eyes. And I’d like to talk a bit about them.

Before I do, though, I would like to get something off my chest about the commentary I referred to in my opening sentence.

My critic made the statement that Granger Community Church got the former St. John’s property “gratis,” and he wrote, “If GCC had not chosen to accept this modern church campus ... other religious organizations would have.’”

His statement is an assumption without basis in fact or appropriate research. It shows how little he knows about the circumstances of the transfer.

For the record, a St. John’s transition committee worked hard checking many possibilities for a transfer of ownership. The 50-year old building was in need of a lot of repairs. The desire was that the property would go to a church, and that it would go to one that would restore, maintain, and enhance it.

There was no other option remotely as good as the one that was taken. GCC spent over $300,000 on the church before its first service. And there was a huge amount of volunteer labor involved.

That all the pieces came together was a blessing, and it is a tribute to those on both sides of the table who struggled through many months of hard work, meetings, research, and nights with too little sleep.

The result of their efforts was a win/win/win situation for two churches and for the surrounding neighborhood. That doesn’t happen very often, and when someone flings an uninformed hypothesis about what would have happened if another path had been taken, it riles.

Columns and articles can stir emotions. It’s worth noting that they tend to fall into three categories: Informational, entertainment and rant, and often there are elements of all of these in one article. I think it’s useful to recognize and acknowledge these elements as one reads.

I point this out especially because fall campaigning is beginning. Soon candidates will be uttering blames and claims along with promises to fight for fairness, truth, and justice. Let us hope that the readers of news articles, opinion columns, and press releases will read carefully, so that voting is well-informed.

By the way, did you know that columnists usually do not write the headlines that appear on their columns? Headlines are usually written by editors to invite readership, and sometimes to tweak and balance a page. I never know what the headline of my column will be until I open the Sunday paper.

Submitted headlines on nationally syndicated columns are sometimes left alone, but often they, too, are changed, and sometimes a headline can slant the way one feels about the content that follows.

Needless to say, skimmers who tend to only read headlines can be misinformed.

It will soon be time to make our choices for who will be some of our representatives in Congress. Hopefully, voters will sort through the wash of political rhetoric, read past the headlines, see through empty hypothesizing and make knowledgeable decisions.

Former Elkhart furniture store owner Richard Leib has served on planning committees in several industries. An avid auto fan, he raced in the 1972 coast-to-coast Cannonball Run. He has written on a wide range of subjects.

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