4: Kairos News & Views


"Moving from sinful chaos to godly shalom through Christ"




Kairos in the Media: News and Commentary

The Caribbean's media reflect the ongoing fact that our shores are being hard-hit by heavy, trip-hammer waves of crisis -- as Jesus suggested would happen as the age draws to a close; and, as a strategic nexus forms between rising dangers and opportunities to preach the gospel in all the world and make disciples of all nations. [Cf. Matt. 24:1 - 14.]

As a result, kairos is now not just a theological concept; it is in our daily news and commentary. We therefore need to understand how to interpret, discuss and act into our times in light of the biblical kairos concept, especially as it comes out in news, arts/entertainment, policy and education contexts. (In so doing, we must be able to assess the degree of soundness of the media we encounter.)

Understanding Kairos

Acts 17:24 - 31 lays out the biblical framework for why God permits crisis in the lives of the nations:

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times [kairous] set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek for him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us . . . . now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day in which he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.

However, in a world where many are blind to God's self-revelation in Christ and seek to undermine his proof that he is our Lord, Saviour and Judge -- through raising Jesus from the dead -- secularised and cynical news and commentary will reflect more of blind groping than of the hope that is in Jesus. As a result, we would do well to heed Paul's observations on the need for intellectual honesty:

[W]e have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our Good News [euaggelion, i.e. the gospel] is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2 Cor. 4:2 - 4.]

So, as the age draws on to the Day of the Lord, crisis, confusion and deception will contend with the good news of the gospel in a contest for the attention, hearts and minds of men. Thus, the Caribbean's media, political and educational spheres are increasingly becoming arenas of spiritual conflict over the truth, the right and the wise.

News, Views and the Good News in a Democratic age

As we look at the Caribbean's many interacting challenges and perspectives, it is clear from the above that we have to build a sound godly consensus if we are to consistently make and carry out the just and wise decisions that will help us build communities worth living in.

However, whether we are concerned over our long-standing economic and social woes, or over political or religious issues, or world affairs, much of our news and public debate brims over with shrill anger and ill-informed shallowness. As a result, it is power, bias, half-truth, outright lies and hidden agendas (rather than wisdom, truth and fairness) that tend to drive our discussion, opinions and policy or even personal decisions. Could this be why it too often seems that we "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity"?

But also, in today's cynical post-modern age, the relativist's retort is all-too-ready: whose truth, fairness, and wisdom?

The best answer is nearly twenty-four hundred years old. For, the early Greek Philosophers had seen how Athens' democracy had collapsed: brilliant and clever (but ever so unsound and corrupt) leaders -- i.e. demagogues such as Alcibiades -- manipulated the citizens to make rash decisions that in the end cost them dear.

So, in his The Rhetoric, Aristotle pointed out how popular arguments usually appeal first of all to our emotions, then to our trust in "credible" authorities, and only in the last resort, to actual logical proof.

Sadly, while our emotions may rest on accurate perceptions, they often blind us to the truth. Worse, no authority is better than his or her facts and reasoning. In short, it is only when "facts" give a balanced view of the truth and are tied to correct reasoning that our conclusions are to be trusted. (Cf. the Apologetics Primer.)

In short, Democracy -- the ever-unfinished experiment in self-government by a free people -- comes with great responsibility under God. And, in light of Acts 17:24 - 31 and 2 Cor. 4:2 - 4, our duty to God includes submission to his Christ. To that, we may add a note of hope: "[Christ] redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the nations [ethne] through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit." [Gal 3:14.] For, as Jesus pointed out in Jn 7:37 - 39, it is through the Spirit within that living waters of blessing may flow out from us to our region's dry and thirsty lands.

Indeed, it is by the Spirit of Truth that we have access to the mind of Christ [1 Cor 2:6 - 16], "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."[Col. 2:3] Thus, it is through Christ's poured out Spirit -- who opens to us the treasures of God's word of wisdom that gives to us "everything we need for life and godliness" [2 Pet 1:3 - 4, cf. 2 Tim 3:14 - 17] -- that we will be able to find the "wisdom from above" [James 3:17] to address the region's many complex, interacting crises.

Therefore, the Gospel carries within it the hope for the blessing and godly transformation of the Caribbean's nations, through the power of the Spirit of Love, Truth, and Purity. Then, through this transforming, reforming and renewing blessing, we can:

put off falsehood and speak truthfully . . . work, doing something useful with [our] hands, that [we] may have something to share with those in need . . . . [speaking] what is helpful for building up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen . . . Get[ting] rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice . . . forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave [us] . . . . liv[ing] a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us . . . .

For [we] were once darkness, but now [we] are light in the Lord . . . . [we must] be very careful, then, how [we] live -- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil . . . understand[ing] what the Lord's will is . . . be[ing] filled with the Spirit . . . always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Eph 4:25 - 5:20; cf. vv. 5:21 - 6:9 and 4:9 - 24; also Philemon vv. 8 - 21 on slavery.]

Clearly, receiving God's Good News would lead to a dramatically different focus for news and views, public policy and community life in our region!

Renewing News and Commentary in the Caribbean

This is obviously a daunting task, but I believe it is possible -- providing, we become a fountain of hope for a region that has long supped at the bitter wells of despair. That is, let us build on the principle that good (but realistic) news beats the bad in the long run.

How can it be done? I believe some practical steps include:

In short, it can be done, if only we are willing. Let's roll!


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