Category: Media


This year the Australian Cricket Board took a gamble. They broke tradition and decided to telecast cricket games in the same city as the game was being played–even if all the seats weren’t sold.

The result was stunning. As was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, the first day of the Sydney Test was a record highest attendance.

But why? Why didn’t people stay at home in air conditioned comfort and enjoy the stunning technology of a modern telecast, complete with Snicko, Hawkeye, and Slo-mo?

The answer is that there is something more to being at an event than just the content. You can see that on TV at home. But being in the crowd–getting sunburnt, participating in passive drinking (getting splashed with beer), and paying-out the Members as they refuse to rise for the Mexican Wave–you just can’t get that on a telecast. And when those cricket milestones happen–Ponting’s double tonnes in his 100th match, for example–it’s worth its weight in gold to say “I was there!”

The same is true of church or Christian conferences. In this age of free MP3 sermon downloads/podcasts, there must be a reason that people still pay the admission fee to attend a conference (plus the travel and accommodation fees). The reason is that there is something ‘more’ to the event than just the Bible talks.

When people are asked why they enjoyed a conference, many say that their highlight was “the teaching”. I disagree. I think it is the experience of hearing the teaching with this gathering of people. People go to experience the gatherning as it taught, not just to ‘download’ the talks. It’s what one of my former Doctrine lecturers, Robert Doyle, used to call “propinquity” (from the Latin ‘near’). It’s the nearness of time and space that we enjoy when we are face-to-face. And it’s the reason why people will continue to pay to hear great teaching live and in the company of others–even if it’s offered elsewhere as a free download.

This should come as no surprise. Heaven is all about relationships: with God and with others. All those who are ‘in Christ’ are already gathered in heaven now (Heb 12:22 – you HAVE come to Mount Zion). When Christians gather on Earth it’s for more than just teaching. It’s to do what we are already doing in heaven–being gathered around God and enjoying the fruit of our unity with other believers.

Sermon podcasting is great… but there’s no substitute for community!

Behind the microphone at FM103.2

Listen to Sydney FM103.2 this Sunday the 4th of September at 10pm and you can spend half an hour listening to a recent chat I had with Phil Lamb. It was a nice time to talk through my life and my ministry… and the only strange thing was that it was being recorded for broadcast!

We talked about TWIST, Year 13 and my youth ministry training. We also spent a lot of time talking about the place of music in church.

If you’re not in the Sydney Metropolitan area, visit www.fm1032.com.au on Sunday night and listen to the interview in real time streaming.

Here is my letter to the editor in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“So sex is about mutual pleasure, unselfishness, desire, intimacy, consent and even romance (“Porn everywhere, what’s a child to think?”, Herald, May 21-22). If only our sexperts started promoting marriage as the proper place for sex, then our children might have a true chance to experience the intimacy so undermined by pornography.

Reverend Jodie McNeill Anglican Youthworks, Sydney”

Read it online at http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/05/22/1116700591106.html

Read the original article at http://www.smh.com.au/news/Opinion/Porn-everywhere/2005/05/20/1116533538023.html

Here’s a letter I submitted to the SMH for today’s paper but was not published, concerning the meaning behind the Tsunami tragedy:

“When a falling building killed eighteen people in the first century, Jesus denied that it occurred because the victims were worse sinners than the general public. Yet, he offered this important warning: “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:5) When Philip Jensen says of God that “disasters are part of His warning that judgement is coming” (‘God’s will comments horrible, says dean’, January 3), he is only repeating Jesus’ sentiments. If The Reverend Tim Delaney believes this teaching is “insensitive, inhumane and ungodly” (SMH Letters, January 4) then his problem is with Jesus as much as Jensen.”

You can read the original article here: http://www.smh.com.au/news/Asia-Tsunami/Gods-will-comments-horrible-says-dean/2005/01/02/1104601246571.html and the page that contains the letter I disagreed with here: http://www.smh.com.au/news/Letters/Religious-theories-fail-to-explain-this-natural-disaster/2005/01/03/1104601295769.html

Many of you would be aware of the recent media coverage of Philip Jensen’s talks in the UK. It started with a report in The Guardian, with the headline “Evangelicals call Williams a prostitute” (13 Oct), which formed the basis for a spate of media reports throughout the world, for example this article in the SMH.

Since his return from the UK, Philip has given his own perspective on the events during a speech at the Sydney Anglican Synod.

Last night this story was featured on ABC TV’s Media Watch program. However, it seems that even this self-appointed media watchdog is not without its own bias.

It was perhaps reasonable for David Marr to say to Philip that he “hasn’t produced a shred of evidence that you were misreported by the Guardian”, since transcripts of the talk have not been published. Yet, viewers were left with the impression that this absence of evidence damned Philip and exonerated the journalist. Indeed, David Marr ended his piece by saying to Philip: “to get yourself out of a pickle, you defamed the journalist, denounced the Australian media and set out to bamboozle synod.”

Clearly, the Media Watch was biased against Philip and towards the journalist. The fair and balanced way to end the piece would have been to acknowledge that the lack of a transcript leaves the truth inconclusive. Yet, unfortunately, the journalist was treated as innocent until proven guilty, whilst the priest was considered guilty until proven innocent.

For further reading, view the discussion on sydneyanglicans.net here

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