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The Sun-Times Makes Space for God

May 6, 2008

The Chicago Sun-Times’ usual modus operandi is to report the life and times of the City of Big Shoulders with an unrepentant swagger and bravado just this side of the National Enquirer. Giant-lettered headlines filling half the front page–ala The New York Post–and a constant retelling and regaling of the city’s plentiful scandals make the Sun-Times an interesting read if not a guilty pleasure.

Today’s headline? SOX DOLL BLOW UP. In case you hadn’t heard, the White Sox had a couple of blow up dolls of nude women in their locker room in an attempt to fire up the otherwise flaccid Sox’s season. So today the town and the paper are giving the Sox and its unrepentant manager the strapping they deserve–story and commentary have spilled way out of Sports, seeping into nearly every section.

But also today begins an inspirational storyline that will continue through the paper for a few days and on the Sun-Time’s blog for weeks to come. Entitled, “Conquering cancer and heart failure…with Jesus, doctors and common sense,” the blog will chronicle the “the story of the healing process” that Lacy J. Banks–a Sun-Times sportswriter of 35 years–is experiencing and expecting.

Banks, who has also been a Baptist preacher for the past 35 years, has brain cancer, conjestive heart failure, and prostate cancer. But his blog is completely full of hope and the expectation of the miraculous. I’m sure he’ll write of pain at times, but it’s clear that–unlike many of the soul-despairing scripts of our time–Jesus is in the center of Mr. Banks’ soul…and that will make for refreshing reading. As debilitating as his diseases are, his attitude is far more infectious:

In other words, I have promoted myself to being CEO, as best I can, of my medical dream team, where, first and foremost, God is my primary-care physician.

The “comments” themselves can cure you of what ails you.

What a gem among the pyrite. To speak of God as lovingly and blatantly as Mr. Banks does seems, at least at first blush, to be the total antithesis of the Sun-Times’ mission. But then newspapers should be about truth–and Mr. Banks definitely has a handle on Truth that matters.

The Sun-Times is to be applauded for employing a man of Mr. Banks’ character, for keeping him writing during hard times, and for finding a way to bring words of true importance to its “pages.” Mr. Banks’ blog really classes up the joint.

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