God’s timing is always perfect. I’ve always believed that in the abstract, I believe it now in experience. For the last couple years, my life has gone in directions that I wouldn’t have anticipated – doors have opened that I didn’t think would open and doors have slammed shut that I was completely convinced were in the process of being thrown wide open. And through all of that, I have felt a continual pull at my heart to redirect some of what I’m doing.
I can sum up what I mean with an example. After the election of 2012, I received the expected taunting emails from folks who disagree with my politics. One of them stood out at me. It was the one that basically said, “You dedicated the last four years of your life to defeating Barack Obama by telling everyone how evil he was, and you lost.” I wrote back to that individual and said “I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I have so poorly communicated to you for four years what drives me, what motivates me, and where I find fulfillment. It wasn’t Obama. It’s never just been Obama. It’s been the ideals and worldview that he embraces that I reject. It’s that worldview that I oppose and seek to teach others why. But I find fulfillment in being faithful to God to stand for truth regardless of earthly circumstances. Meaning, if “my guy” never wins another election, it won’t have any impact on whether I feel “successful” or not. Success is predicated upon how obedient I was to God’s truth in the various environments He placed me in.
That exchange kept nagging at me. Then about a month ago I had a debate with gay activist Zack Ford of Think Progress. Multiple times in our polite exchange I made the point to him that given the fact that we were starting from two different starting points (belief in God vs. non-belief in God), it was very unlikely that we would end up agreeing when it came to politics. If our trees are planted in two different areas, it’s unlikely our branches are going to cross unless something freakish occurs. In other words, politics is an outworking of something much deeper in all of us. It’s the fruit or branches of our tree. I went home that night and said to Jenny, “I feel convicted by my own words.”
If I know this to be true, why am I not spending more time focusing on those foundations and foundational conversations than I am arguing with people in the branches about politics? Other than bracing up and giving workable argumentative defenses to my fellow conservatives (something I think is important), I think the odds of changing the minds – or certainly the hearts – of those I disagree with on the radio show is very unlikely. It can be entertaining, but is it productive? Is it productive in a way that makes an eternal difference?
This isn’t to downgrade anyone else who has a program on the radio that talks about politics. I enjoy those shows. I will always appreciate the voice that so many conservative talkers are in the midst of a hostile media. But I’m wired differently. I can’t find fulfillment in that alone. I have to feel like what I’m doing is making a difference. I want to be that “faithful servant” that Scripture talks about – and I’ve been wondering for months and months now whether blasting the silliness of man-made global warming, socialist tax policies, single-payer healthcare, gun collection, and internet regulation is something that will gain the admiration of Christ as a life well spent. Some of you have probably noticed – in fact I know some have because I’ve exchanged some emails with them about it – that my radio show was drifting to almost exclusively cover faith issues and the political issues like homosexuality and abortion that are directly linked to matters of faith. I have had to make a conscience and concerted effort for months to temper that and force myself to cover other stories that I find less consequential. I do that for the sake of entertainment and variety. I don’t do it out of a sense of purpose.
There’s another side to this too. I believe we are heading towards some dark days. And as odd as it may seem, I think that is going to be an amazing opportunity for the church in America to experience an awakening. I think for the first time Christians are going to be faced with the necessity of rejecting the pattern of this world and embracing the cross – and suffer in some way for doing so. It’s going to separate those who are serious about their faith from those who have joined a social club on Sundays. I feel a real strong pull to help train and equip and prepare those who wear the name of Christ to understand and live true Biblical Christianity. Yes, that will obviously intersect with politics and I have no desire to walk away from involvement in the political or social realm at all. Much the opposite, actually. I want to concentrate on it like a laser – not spending valuable time and energy focusing on other things for the sake of filling time. Besides, with as many doors as the radio show has opened for me, I think there comes a point when it can be an obstacle or a challenge. When you carve out a reputation – fairly or unfairly – as the local or regional Rush Limbaugh wannabe who believes every Republican will go to heaven and every Democrat will go to Hell (something I have never said and firmly reject), it puts a damper on your ability to spread the real message you believe in. Churches feel a natural hesitancy – even if they completely agree and desire a strong message on thinking Biblically – to bringing in a figure that is politically polarizing. Sure, there are some churches that have a problem with messages of truth. But there are plenty of others that don’t mind the divisive nature of truth, but they prefer it be shared by someone who doesn’t have the Republicans all good/Democrats all bad persona (again, something I've never suggested, but that doesn't prevent the perception).
Now with all that being said, those of you who know me know that I am not a huge risk taker. And in all likelihood I would have let these feelings sit there and fester for months and months, if not years and years before doing anything about it. But God did not allow that to happen.
I met with the station manager at WIOU to talk about this direction I was being pulled in, and with a great deal of respect and appreciation he informed me that WIOU would be transitioning to a new format this summer anyway. In other words, God was preparing me for the end of the show before I even knew the end of the show was on the near horizon. Pretty cool. Though the station change will not officially occur until July, I requested to end the current run of The Peter Heck Radio Show on May 30.
It’s been a pretty amazing nine year ride for me. I think back to July of 2004 and am blown away at everything that happened because of this little program on this little station. I met people I never thought I’d meet, was interviewed by folks who I never thought would care about what I thought, dealt with individuals I was used to simply watching on TV, shared the stage with some people I never thought I’d be near, and most of all...I met my wife and mother of my precious children in that little radio studio. That alone has made my experience there at WIOU well worth it.
So where from here? In actuality, I’m excited to announce that as The Peter Heck Radio Show ends, a brand new venture of Attaboy Productions, called The 414 Project begins. It starts as a radio feature that will air on multiple stations throughout the state, and will continue to host my commentary on the culture. These commentaries will also appear in video format and written transcript, all posted to the coming website. And maybe most exciting of all, we are currently in talks with a 50,000 watt radio station powerhouse to air the 414 Project in a weekly hour long format starting hopefully in the coming months. Who knows how God may bless this new venture, but this much I do know – it will be squarely focused on using the fleeting moments of my life to spread the truth of God in an increasingly crooked and depraved generation. I take it as an extraordinary honor that God has entrusted me (and you) to stand at such a time as this. I plan to make the most of it.
I will certainly miss things about this daily radio program – the wonderful people of the audience most of all. But I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t far more excited about this new venture, and about the opportunity to free up time spent on more of the trivial side of politics to focus on things that matter eternally.
While the show will continue through May 30, there will be some coming changes. Our speaking site has been recently revamped and will soon become the official PeterHeck.com website. The 414Project.com website will be released sometime after June 1 – and we will have links provided to it, as well as plenty of information about it posted on our Facebook page (like us if you haven’t already) and Twitter account (follow us if you don’t already), as well as our mailing list (sign up for it if you haven’t already).
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the way you’ve listened to and supported me for the last nine years. I never thought I would be a radio host. You have patiently endured the process of me slowly morphing into one. Thanks to Steve LaMar and Lora Lacy for taking a chance on this show nine years ago. Thanks to all my great guest hosts who were good...but not too good so that I was replaced. Thanks to my family for the unbelievable sacrifices they have made as they’ve supported this endeavor – all the hours of daily preparation, website work, late nights of driving back to the radio station to pre-record a segment or a promo…the list goes on and on. I’m so looking forward to seeing them a little more often than I have. Thanks most of all to God for the open door I had never anticipated. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
All the best,