The Jesus News Room
Categories: Heathers Blog
I’ve now made two News Room references in church in the past month: partly because it’s such a good show, partly because I want to be MacKenzie McHale , partly because I already feel a lot like MacKenzie McHale, and partly because, there are so many parallels between the show and church life today.
In some ways, many of us who are actively involved in the church today, leading various ministries, might be on a kind of ‘mission to civilise’, like MacKenzie and Wil in the News Room. Or if not exactly to civilize, we are on a mission to do God’s mission, and we want to get it right. We naturally want to see the church be effective at what it’s called to do.
If you are under 50, you have no living memory of a time when the church was the hub of society and had a high credibility rating … but there are people in the pew next to you who do have such memories … and you feel sad for them … because they watched it disintegrate rapidly, and you wish you could turn back time and make everything ok like the way it was in 1920, but you can’t … and if you’re honest, part of you is glad you can’t … because you don’t really want things to go back to the way they were in 1920 either …
Anyway, the point is … we’re a bit like the News Room: a fabulous team of people with a vision to get it right. But of course, there will never be a perfect church that gets everything right, and that’s what the less green, older clergy know too well: that God is faithful, even when we aren’t always, and that you can’t make radical change happen just by sheer youthful determination and hard work, because you’re not God. God is God, and God has a habit of letting his people make mistakes, even big ones.
Season 2 of the News Room is all about what happens when the team make a massive mistake: one that has the capacity to undo the entire operation. It’s a mistake that was mostly the fault of one bad guy, plus a couple of other bad guys, as well as there being contributory negligence on the part of the whole team … sounds familiar to me. A lot of the mistakes the church has made, could be pinned on some ‘bad guys’, but there’s a corporate share of responsibility too. There were things we overlooked, corners we cut, blind-eyes we turned and also, from time to time, we forgot what we were on about. We sold out. We became lukewarm.
We lost the trust of the public.
There’s a fabulous scene in Season 2 of the News Room, when Charlie suddenly and loudly cries out: “Leona, we don’t have the trust of the public anymore!” That’s a heartache that every evangelist knows too well. The heart that knows the saving love of Jesus the Anointed One, the Messiah, is always wanting to share good news … but the Jesus News Room doesn’t have the ratings it once did. We are painfully aware that we don’t have the trust of the public anymore.
And yet God knows what he’s doing.
And he doesn’t need a lawyer.
All he needs, all he has ever asked for, is our repentance and faith. He does the rest. His message: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1.15) God has declared, that he has waited it out long enough, waiting for the world to get bad enough and ready enough to come back to him. Now he has come to put everything right. If we will acknowledge that he is God and we are not, then he can give us back the life we were created for.
Some refuse to repent. Some reject God by their irreligion and anti-church antics: ‘I’m not a sinner, I don’t believe in sin and I don’t need a God to save me.’
Some go to church, but don’t trust God so much. They do the church thing in order to earn their own righteousness, or even to earn some credibility back for God and his church, as though he needed defending. Big mistake. This is the sin of religion.
As Tim Keller writes, you can reject church, you can worship church … or you can repent and believe the good news, because “there are not just two ways to respond to God but three: irreligion, religion and the gospel.” (Tim Keller, Center Church, p63).
So I’m choosing to work for the Jesus News Room, despite our failings, because we’re still the best news program in town … not because I worship the news room itself, or because I think I can be its saviour, but because the news is still good, the message is still true, the world still needs it … and because God asked me to be part of the team. And because I still believe, that if we follow him, he will lead us to safety and victory.
Oh and by the way, we are sorry, for everything we’ve done wrong. We’re deeply sorry for the things we missed and the things we refused to see. We retract everything we said that wasn’t true.
And we’ll be back with the news, after this short break …