Sunday, April 22, 2012

On publicity

First of all, then, I urge that ... we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Tim. 2:1-2)

For quite some time, it seems that the Straits Times newspaper in Singapore has been periodically running up stories on the churches in Singapore. Singapore is a multi-religious society, and it is understandable that newspapers may decide to cover Christianity in the newspapers. Notably absent however is any coverage of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and other religious groups, a fact which I find strangely disquieting.

Regardless, the main issue that I would like to address is that of publicity. The most recent coverage featured some Reformed churches and as per the Press, the story has been spun to support their desired narrative.

Should Christians desire publicity? We should desire that the Gospel be known to all, and in that sense publicity by the world of the Gospel is fine. However, the world spins whatever we say. The power of mass media is such that reporters and editors can spin anything they are given to support their desired narrative. They are not necessarily lying or even trying to lie, but the fact that they have to synthesize a story from disparate sources means that spin is unavoidable even if the editor desired to be objective, which I am doubtful in this instance.

How should Christians deal with the issue of publicity? We should make the Gospel message public, but that does not mean we should desire publicity by others, lest of all those with an agenda. Those interviewed for this piece I have heard were disappointed, and I am not surprised.

Christians therefore should not court the media. Any publicity should be done by us for us. We are to desire to lead a peaceful and quiet life, not one that draw attention to ourselves. Draw attention to Christ and the Gospel, but not to ourselves. The last thing we want is for the media to come in and spin things for our detriment, and I wouldn't trust the media not to do that.

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