I posted here about the sequence of revival followed by social engagement leading to numerical growth in the church.
One of the fruits of effective engagement with society is that Christianity becomes aspirational; people look to the Christian faith lived out and communicated and are drawn to find out more – they ‘want it’. I believe there is some evidence that this may be happening in society and particularly in the media in that Christian themes and stories are being much more favourably presented than previously.
An article in Saturday’s The Times titled Putting the drama back into believing looks at a resurgence of interest at the BBC in programme making that addresses religious themes.
Adam Kemp, is responsible for commissioning programmes across BBC One, Two, Three and Four. Religion, he says, is now a subject that broadcasters cannot ignore.
“Religion and faith are right at the forefront of our agenda. And not just for people involved in religious programmes, but also those involved in current affairs. Religion was once seen as a little bit of a backwater in television, not one of the hottest genres, like science and history. But not any more.”
BBC’s The Monastery (2005) and The Manchester Passion (2006) both made a huge impact and got people talking about Christianity in public. Now the Beeb is working on a £4 million mini-series about the Passion of Christ, due to be screened in 2008.
Programme makers are not daft – they know that these programmes are touching on the aspirations of many people;
It’s not about being a believer or even being sympathetic to religion, it’s about cutting through lazy prejudice about the subject, opening your eyes and seeing that, quite simply, it makes good TV that people want to watch.
To have the story of Christianity told compellingly and creatively in the public space in this way is an absolute gift. The encouraging thing about this approach is that the story of Christ and his people is being told for it’s own sake, rather than being a constant object of deconstruction by those who believe in the demise of religious faith.
I sense a turning of the tide.