I have just come from my TV.
A few weeks ago I discovered Christian programmes running on four different channels all at the same time. I lingered with each one for awhile. I moved on to the next one. But each time my response was the same - sad, to the point of grief.
My own growing conviction (happy to be proven wrong by any who can convince me!) is that while testimonies can be uncovered of the good that is being done through this approach, I bet no one is collecting anecdotes of the harm being done. On balance I ask aloud if more harm than good is being done to the cause of Christ through this medium at this time?
My grief had one of three causes (not always at one time, thankfully):
One is the enormous financial costs being expended on this programming. Is this the best use of God's resources - particularly when it is possible to choose from one among four? So much is so slick and so glitzy.
Two is the lack of faithfulness to the biblical gospel in all its fullness and balance and challenge. So much is so shoddy theologically. Sometimes I shudder to think that a random channel-surfer might pause to watch just what it is that I am watching.
Three is the cultural irrelevance of so much of what is viewed. Like the guy whose pulpit looked like a castle the other day. What?! He certainly isn't guilty of #2 - but gee, is he relevant to NZ society?! The Pacific Ocean is far wider than people realise.
[I am writing all this because there is a very big BUT coming ... here it comes]
BUT I have just watched the end of Shore Community Church's production at 8:30am on PRIME on Sundays. www.connectionresources.org.nz [the new site for www.shore.org.nz]
It is not the first time I have watched. And yet again I was impressed by the simplicity of the production, the biblical faithfulness of the message from Reuben Munn (I caught the last few minutes of a series on Hebrews), and the sheer cultural relevance of watching something that is authentically Kiwi. I was stirred deeply in my following of Jesus.
I hope that all those for whom Christian TV is a lifeline to God's Word each week will be tuning-in next week. The rest of you should be connecting with a local community of God's people :) - which is what I am rushing out the door to do right now.