upper room daily devotions

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

abc has lost its freakin' mind! kirk cameron, really???

A peeve of mine is that mainstream media refuse to cover religion in a meaningful and informed way. My prejudice against mainstream media grows when things like ABC's recent Nightline sinks the conversation to yet a new low. Nightline squared two atheists up against Kirk Cameron (yes, Left Behind - Growing Pains - Kirk Cameron) and Ray Comfort. This show did nothing more than give exposure to a particular kind of conservatism and belittle Christianity as a whole.

It's clear that Kirk Cameron has found some kind of meaning and purpose in his life since his conversion as a teenager. It was his conversion to evangelical Christianity that was a major part in the dissolution of his television show. However, the media continue to turn to voices like his as representative ones for the entire Christian community, leaving out the millions upon millions of voices of people of faith who can hold science and religion together, faith and reason together. Why don't media turn to the bishops of our great Protestant faiths or the pastors and the laity of congregations that have been engaged in ministry for hundreds of years to represent Christian ideals? Where is Bishop Janice Huie of my denomination when national media want a religious comment on a situation, theological concept, or crisis? Why don't the media invite Walter Brueggemann onto their television shows? Where are the great professors of our theological institutions? Where are the voices of preachers like Barbara Brown Taylor or James Forbes?

Mainline denominations in general and progressive Christians in particular are silenced by the media who turn to the most salacious voices in our communities for the exploitation of ratings. I've been heartened of late with the Human Resource Coalition's addition of faith-based resources on their website along with Step It Up's inclusion of faith communities in its work. Additionally, Jim Wallis has given some attention to progressive voices in his efforts as well. Even so, there is a lot of work that we need to do to make our voices heard.

There are many mainline and progressive churches and individuals of faith who are touched by the Holy Spirit. We believe earnestly in a God of love and justice. We worship this God with our whole hearts and with the entirety of our lives. We offer God all that we have and all that we are. But we have become too quiet and too passive. The gospel of the Christ we know and follow is worth sharing. It is worth us getting upset over the hi-jacking of our faith and the media that promote this theft.

ABC has lost its freakin' mind with this latest step into "religious conversation." I hope it finds sanity someday and invites the leaders and voices from mainline and progressive Churches. What a great day that would be!

Update: Just FYI, the articles on the ABC website that round out this issue for them include: "Searching for a Manly Jesus," "Rick Warren: Purpose Driven Strife," "Speaking in Tongues: Word of the Lord," "The Porn Pastors: XXXChurch.com," "I Don't Want My MTv," "Joel Osteen: Pastor of Prosperity," "Jerry Falwell: Fire and Brimstone" and much more. Gross.


RevErikaG said...

Love the new look to your blog!
I totally agree and "Amen-ed" what you say here...it is about ratings rather than reason. It's better television if they talk to the star of "growing pains" or the guy from "Charles in Charge" who now is known as "Bibleman." The question I struggle with is, why don't we speak louder or at all?
I was in Baltimore post-VT shootings. The young clergy told me their Bishop was a part of the prayer vigil. I did not see or hear their Bishop. We need a PR firm or something!
Thanks for struggling with this!

Bill Reichart said...

I will definitely be watching tonight. Although I think it is going to be a trainwreck, couldn't ABC find someone better than Comfort or "Mike Seaver" to represent our faith. I am so disappointed.
Although I will watch, I do have an issue though that their approach is to argue without using the Bible. To argue simply with reason as the foundation is to concede that reason is the sole arbiter of what is true or false. I think that this approach is a critical mistake. Bill from ProvocativeChurch

Miss Eagle said...

Don't know what religion coverage by the media is like in the US in general but in Australia the gold standard is set by Radio National on ABC Radio. ABC is our public broadcaster. Does Radio and TV. RN is the radio network which does the most talk and commentary. For keeping up to date with the latest news and ideas in religion it is the one. There is a religion and ethics webpage at http://www.abc.net.au/religion/. The topic of religion on the ABC becomes a feast for the spirit and the mind. For sheer laughs, though, our best contribution is the double act of John Safran and Father Bob Maguire. (Google them is the best way to track them, get their sites and get a handle on them.) John Safran is Jewish and has a crack at everything. Father Bob Maguire is a stereotypical old-fashioned Irish Catholic parish priest. They are an indomitable double act. Safran and Fr Bob are well known identities here in Melbourne but have now achieved national status. Not all our top theologians and thinkers get to air. But I think that most of them do sooner or later - but only a very few make it to commercial television and become household names.

Mrs. M said...

I'm over here, gagging at the memory of the Kirk Cameron movie on purity I had to watch as a teen in an evangelical private school. Ugh.

Right with you. Where's a guest spot by Brueggemann when we need it?

DearestDragonfly said...

I add my 'AMEN'. The lumping together of Christians into the conservative mold/spokespeople is part of the 'salacious' nature of the press.

Just stumbled across this e-article, as an example of something so much more real:

DearestDragonfly said...

Oops -- I see the URL won't fit. USA.com -- article 'Three were called to reporting on religion'.

rev katie m ladd said...

Thanks for your feedback. It is true that mainstream media go for the most salacious, isn't it? Although it seems as though more mainstream media are reporting issues related to faith lately. Maybe I'm just paying attention more.

DearestDragonfly said...

Oh, I do think that creation (and all that is in it) groans for more...and more... of the inner life of faith.

You're right. We just have to find a way to may the gospel more real.

rev katie m ladd said...

Indeed creation does groan, doesn't it?

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