Earlier this week, I had a great conversation at my meetup. The general message we were discussing was this: you can’t pick and choose what bits of Christianity you believe – take it all, or leave it all.
With that in mind, two headlines caught my eye. Both are attention-grabbing, and both are cinema-related:
New Emma Watson film makes £47 at UK box office
Audience members ejected from cinema for laughing at Absolutely Fabulous
Both of them look like ridiculous, out-of-the-ordinary stories…but in fact both are non-stories, for different reasons.
The Emma Watson film was never intended to make money through cinema screenings, aiming for the home streaming market instead. So the headline should really have read:
New Emma Watson film basically makes exactly what it hoped to through cinema screenings
Not quite as catchy, I’ll grant you.
How about the Ab Fab story? Well, four people were kicked out of a screening – rare, but not unheard of. Why were they kicked out? The four people say they were told to ‘laugh on the inside’, and the cinema says it was because they were annoying other cinema-goers by talking loudly. So the headline should really have read:
Audience members ejected from cinema, most likely for valid reasons.
So neither story is really news, is it.
Let’s agree on one thing. In a perfect world, there would be no need to make up news, but that’s not how the news business works.
Think about it. Newspapers, news websites, news TV channels and radio slots – all of them produce frequent news updates. They don’t publish news when there’s news, they publish news when there’s a publication deadline.
The net result of that is journalists tasked with filling space rather than finding the best news story – and so stories are written based on the angle rather than the truth.
And that’s much more fun, isn’t it? Take a tiny detail, one piece of the puzzle, and make up an interesting whole-picture story that fits that one detail.
Could we really build a new hospital every week if we left the EU? Of course not, but saying ‘an insignificant sum goes to the EU in exchange for tangible and intangible benefits’, while a fairer reflection of the truth, isn’t a good enough angle.
So how about Christianity?
The same is true. We are all tempted to embrace angles on Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, church life…
I invite you to regularly lose every misconception and filter that’s built up over time, and come back to the purity of Christianity.
And you can do that this coming Tuesday evening, in Ealing Broadway. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get a free meal and an opportunity to properly explore Christianity!