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Journalist’s books offer insights for these times


Gordon Jackson, a retired Whitworth University professor of journalism, recently published two books, one in print and one online.

Gordon Jackson

One book, titled Be Thou My Vision: Light, Sight and the Christian Faith, examines the many references to light and sight in the Bible. It offers 32 explorations of ideas of light and sight, and related concepts of darkness and blindness, drawing from scientific, theological and popular sources. Published by Crosslink Publishing, it is due for release in late February.

“The Bible begins with God creating light in Genesis, and ends with light in Revelation,” he said.  “Light and sight are frequently referred to throughout the Old and New Testaments.”

One factor leading Gordon to write the book is his own experience with glaucoma, making him especially sensitive to vision and sight issues.

“Because the physiology of how our eyes work, when we look at an image, what we each see may be different,” he said.

“We also need to learn to see.  Only when we are teens does our sight develop fully,” he said.  “Likewise, spiritually we often do not see as well as we think we do.  It takes time for our vision to mature.

“We see badly if we just see things but don’t really notice them.  That has obvious spiritual implications,” Gordon said.  “There is so much God is doing that we do not see.”

While this book is for an individual’s journey, there are broader applications about seeing.

From growing up in South Africa and from living many years in the United States, Gordon knows that when he goes abroad for volunteer work—to the Middle East, Nigeria and recently to Mexico and Kenya—and “when I experience a setting outside my normal path, I find that people in different cultures see in different ways—not better or worse, just differently.”

So when he goes to a new place, he is attentive to tread carefully to respect the norms and expectations in those settings.

His online book is written in response to a young African-American woman who was outside the U.S. during the recent election.  She is so traumatized she doesn’t want to come back. 

The book is Assuring Alexis: 306 Quotes of Encouragement and Hope for Withstanding the Trump Era. The number 306 refers to the number of electoral college votes Trump received.

“I say don’t panic or despair, there is work to be done,” he said.

The quotes range from the classical era to Barack Obama’s farewell, and includes verses from the Bible, Koran and Talmud.

Gordon sees parallels today between the United States and South Africa under apartheid when the government was hostile to and tried to marginalize the press, sought to control information and had a farcical relationship with truth.

South Africa’s current president is beleaguered by criticism, even from his own party, because of his incompetence and the rampant corruption he has allowed, Gordon said, adding that a South African friend found Assuring Alexis applicable to that situation.

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