Radio Waves Goodbye

tran-si-tion (tranˈziSHən,-ˈsiSHən) — noun — movement, passage, or change from one position to another.

I’ve been pretty blessed in my life. Despite my lack of traditional book learning, I’ve always had a knack for networking, and it’s been the relationships I’ve forged that have carried me—I dare say further than a rolled up piece of paper ever could.

It was actually a relationship that led me to my career in radio.

I met Mark Davis in an elevator in 1998. I was newly married and about halfway through my pregnancy with my first child. Who on earth was this gregarious man sporting a Tom Selleck stache? He wouldn’t shut up, but everything he said sounded so … perfect. My exposure to talk radio had been limited, (though my appetite for politics was hearty). He told me about his show, I tuned in the next day … and I was hooked.

Fast-forward to 2010 when Mark called to inform me of Producer Jeff Williams’ imminent departure. I was working as Director of Marketing for a mid-sized company in Dallas, but I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I somehow convinced Tyler Cox—who continues to have the biggest brain and most integrity in the business—to give me a chance. I filled out the paper work, signed my name, jumped in the booth …

… and, that’s what I’ve done for the past 3 and 1/2 years.

The ride has been incredible. The lessons, invaluable. The relationships, lasting. The experiences, unmatched. I’ve enjoyed frequent interactions with people whom I’d greatly admired from afar. Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, Senator Rick Santorum, Dr. Russell Moore, Michelle Malkin, Governor Perry—these are people who now know me by name, and, I think … even kind of like me. Then there are those I’ve discovered along the way. Young, thoughtful columnists like Matt Lewis, and pundits from across the aisle like Sally Kohn—there’s no way I could list all the folks I’ve been so delighted to engage week in and week out. They have challenged my thinking and broadened my perspective. They have given me an education I could have never found at a university, and with Professor Mark Davis at the helm—well, it’s just been an incredible ride.

I came into this position two years after President Obama was elected. I enjoyed the GOP successes of 2010, and I had a front-row seat for the 2012 primary. We did some pretty incredible things, and to be at the right hand of a personality like Mark … well, it’s a politico’s dream come true.

But, like all things, life has evolved. My children (15, 9, and 4) demand more of my time with each passing day, which makes my long commute all the more frustrating. My desire to be involved in my community has deepened. My appreciation for my faith community where I serve as worship leader has grown. And I miss my husband (radio hours are hardly family friendly).

But, my desire to “change the world” via the political world? Well, that fire has dwindled.

As I’ve watched Mark eloquently defend conservatism, deal tactfully and lovingly with callers of opposing views, and pen columns of Pulitzer quality … I’ve also witnessed a lot of ugliness. This is prevalent on both sides of the aisle, and, in my estimation, is done in the name of winning, not progress.

I’ve been frequently told that I’m not a “real conservative” because I don’t walk in lock-step with Ted Cruz. I’ve been called a right-wing nut for standing against Wendy Davis. I’ve been called a RINO for my appreciation of folks like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush. I’ve been called an idiot by Ron Paul supporters. Just so much ugliness from all directions.

I know what it looks like; I used to be just like them.

But, when you receive grace, you learn to give grace. As each day passes, I’m more amazed at the visible hand of God and the life-changing love of Jesus Christ. And, as important as I know our elected officials are—they’re hardly the ones who hold the keys to our future.

The debt ceiling and global temperature may rise or not. The health care system could crumble or thrive. Gay folks might marry or be restricted to civil unions. But if we refuse to love each other and show grace—even in the midst of disagreement—there’s no real progress. There’s just a series of checks in the win or loss columns, but the tally reads the same way: conflict.

We’ll, I’ve had my fill of conflict, so I’ll leave it to folks like Mark to continue skillfully articulating positions and speaking reason to the unreasonable. I truly mean it when I say that he’s the best communicator I’ve ever known. As I write this, I struggle with how to put into words how special he has been to me, and how masterful I believe he is at his craft. I’m sure there’s a perfect word to sum it up; I guess I’ll have to ask Mark tomorrow what it is.

So … my ride stops here. My last day as Producer of the Mark Davis Show will be April 25.

Next stop? Go Flight Media—a company I’ve launched alongside a fellow Burlesonite, Jody Ridlehoover, with a focus on web design, video production, social media promotion, email marketing, and a buffet of other handy tools designed to increase the visibility and reach of small to mid-sized companies, non-profits, and, yes … political campaigns.

I hope you’ll join me in this next chapter, and that you’ll keep Go Flight Media in mind as you encounter folks with the aforementioned needs.

We’re excited about the future. Click HERE to learn more.

In closing, I just want to say thanks to all my managers, co-workers, show callers, Twitter followers—and especially my precious, and forever friend Mark Davis—who have made this journey in radio an enjoyable one. My return to the industry is unlikely … but I’ll be around.

Signing off.


Joel Osteen: Taking the Christ Out of Christianity

Full disclosure: I have strong feelings about Joel Osteen. For years, I’ve kept pretty quiet, as I don’t want to discourage the countless people I know for whom the Osteen empire is their only source of spiritual food. It’s milk, not meat … but at least it’s something—or, that has been my thinking.

The other side of me, however—also known as “Susan, you’re turning into your mother”—feels the need to expose a recent trend I’ve noticed that should trouble anyone who calls themselves a “Christ follower” (a distinction that I’ve grown to love, as I care less and less these days about the various branches and denominations of Christianity).

Before I continue, and lest you call me a legalist … here’s my three-point Christ follower litmus test:

* Do you love Jesus and acknowledge you are nothing apart from His amazing grace? — Great.

* Do you desire to follow Him according to His word? — Awesome.

* Do you share Him with others? — Perfect.

… that’s really all I need. It’s just about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve seldom heard Osteen really discuss Jesus. I know he has, but I (for my own amusement and occasional pep talk) follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and couldn’t recall ever seeing a Christ-centric post.

I had to investigate. I went back through every post for 12 months on both Facebook and Twitter—I know, ugh—and sure enough … no Jesus.

Now, in the interest of fairness, I searched the sites of other Christian leaders I follow. Perhaps this was just a fluke? Maybe I’m conjuring up a controversy where there should be none. Clearly I’m not objective on this matter, so I did my homework.

My findings? Pretty telling.

Below is a list of Facebook accounts, along with how far back I had to go in these folks’ timelines to find the name “Jesus.”

Tony Evans: 8 hours
Joyce Meyer: 11 hours
Alistair Begg: 1 day
Chuck Swindoll: 4 days
Kay Arthur: 4 days
Timothy Keller: 6 days
Rick Warren: 30 days
Joel Osteen: 369 days (*There is, however, a recent post about the Son of God movie.)
Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 9.57.20 PM

I must say Osteen’s timeline wasn’t void of references to God. There are plenty. There is also an alarming abundance of the word “you” (or variations such as “you’re, and “you’ll)—32 on his Twitter timeline in the past week. And, despite the suspicious absence of our Lord and Savior … my experience wasn’t completely for naught. I can honestly say that, having strolled through 369 days of Osteen posts, I feel happier, prettier, more successful—heck, I might just Breakout!

Do what you will with this, folks. I’m just reporting what I found. And, honestly? I would appreciate your feedback. Does this bother you like it does me? Am I splitting hairs?

Talk to me.

(Please don’t hold your breath for the Holy Spirit post; there aren’t enough hours in the day.)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” — Acts 4:12