barack obama

How to Watch a Debate

I receive an e-mail subscription sent to Pastors from Focus on the Family and H.B. London. In light of the ongoing campaigns and tonight’s debate, I thought I’d give you some of the thoughts contained in my inbox.

EXCERPT FROM “The Pastor’s Weekly Briefing,” Sent October 2, 2008.

Mr. Johnson outlined the following observations that he had gleaned from experts. Some of the comments are mine.

  • Listen actively. Switch from a passive mode to a learning mode. Pay attention.
  • Focus on substance not style. It is not so much how they look and how they sound as it is the clarity of their plans and positions.
  • Ignore subtle and disruptive behavior. You have seen candidates twist questions to the point that no answer is ever really given. You need to listen for a response that represents your questions. Discount gamesmanship.
  • Keep an open mind. Sometimes I find myself wanting the debaters to say what I want them to say and discounting the other person, even if he or she makes sense. Do you? My political bias many times gets in the way.
  • Turn off the TV when the debate is over. I really agree with Mr. Johnson. “The spin zone and post-debate analysis are designed to influence you. Make up your own mind.” I probably will make up my own mind, but, so often, I turn to the analysis I agree with rather than taking some time to weigh the results. Take some notes.
  • Give your own grade. Be objective. Weigh the significance of the issues. The polls are for the masses — the debate is for you as a God-assigned influencer.

In the Acts 26 debate, Paul was right — Agrippa was confused.

Apostle Paul: “What I am saying is true and reasonable” (Acts 26:25).

King Agrippa: “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28).

END EXCERPT