Expect the unexpected

This week's blog is not what many people might think I would write about.

After a week in which the Archbishop, Bishop Forsyth and one of our young married couples, Andy and Stephanie Judd, have been unexpectedly thrust into the media spotlight over the use of one word in the draft marriage service (an alternative x 2), you might expect a lengthy diatribe against the Sydney Morning Herald.

After all, you don't get the impression reading the papers that the service is 

1. Just a refining of the draft presented almost one year ago which the paper wasn't interested in at the time

2. One of two options in a book that is in itself just an alternative to what is being used now

3. A biblical concept which has always been present in our prayer books

You also didn't get to read the statement we gave to the paper on Tuesday to respond to suggestions it made marriages somehow invalid. The Herald apologised for that and blamed the sub-editors (were they the ones outsourced to New Zealand?)

I expect all that. I've worked in the media for more than 30 years and I have no doubt during that time I misrepresented some stories (not knowingly I hope) and I know I reported on some stories that I didn't understand fully at the time. That's why we should pray for journalists (and sub editors!). That's why there is a media ministry.

The key thing is not to kick the media but to see the opportunities in this for talking about our faith. Whether the starting point for the discussion is marriage or people's view of Christians or the Judds or the Archbishop or whoever, my prayer is that we will engage people in conversations about Jesus. (That includes letters to the newspapers and talk on talkback)

If you haven't caught up with this story yet, here's a quick timeline. Saturday SMH, Wednesday SMH and ABC 7.30 report.

Remember, its not where you start the conversation but where you finish that matters.

 

 

Russell Powell has more than 30 years experience across all forms of media, with a long career as one of Australian radio's most prominent journalists and presenters. He was one of the pioneers of the ABC's NewsRadio network. As well as his on-air work, he has taught at the Australian Film, TV and Radio School. He is now the CEO of Anglican Media Sydney and the Archbishop of Sydney's Media Adviser.

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