christian people have much to celebrate and should be among the happiest people on earth. Radio programs can be used to express that joy through celebration, fun and laughter — and by being of a generous spirit. What will our listeners think if, while looking to their radios for entertainment and relaxation, they only find only a heavy mix of serious, issue-oriented topics and presentations? Isn't today's news bad enough already...! Sadly we often talk about being joyful but we struggle to express it.
One role of Christian programming is to demonstrate what we have to celebrate and how we celebrate it. Music, poetry and other art forms are ideal ways of expressing this. But do we do enough of it? Singing has always been one of the characteristics of the Christian community. Although often it is used to express sadness and other moods singing is also a sign of joy and happiness — attributes that communicate powerfully with the human spirit.
Of course, we need to consider what is appropriate in different programming contexts, so that we don't give the wrong impression to our audience and create misunderstanding. True expressions of happiness and joy, praise and worship must be found for each culture so that they will be recognised, have meaning and be understood. Radio can do much to propagate and popularise these expressions of praise and worship.
How can this be done in practice? Interviews may be a good way of bringing this out. The show host could interview Christians about their life experiences and get them to choose their favourite music. Choir festivals may work well in some cultures — or congregational singing for the radio — with good accompaniment. Or it could be a program that features Christian music artists who talk about their faith, and the music and songs that it has prompted or which they enjoy singing. Any of these could provide platforms for expressing meaningful joy to those who listen.
Of course, it need not involve music, but could feature poetry. A popular radio program could be a way of stimulating listeners to write their own poems for different moods and occasions. But this is a very cultural thing, and while it may work in some cultures it won't work in others.
The biggest challenge will be to maintain genuine and spontaneous expressions of joy. We are in danger of appearing trite or shallow, and out of touch with reality. Joy in the midst of difficulty, pain and hardship is much more meaningful and closer to the realities of life and the experiences of most. And that is often where the deepest joy is found.
The popular Christian festivals may be among the best opportunities many have for sharing this joy. Opportunities for broadcasting special programs at this time may provide the perfect opportunity.
Last updated 1 Oct 2010
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