“PM”, the ABC’s regular weeknight current affairs radio program has just turned 40, and so host Mark Colvin posted some thoughts on the “Off Air” blog I linked to the other day. Couldn’t help but laugh a little to myself at the parallels in this quote:

“We no longer have authority automatically, by right of being the only game in town.”

After 40 years of the ABC’s PM, does radio current affairs have a future?

The issue of authority is central to the struggle of church and Christianity to adapt to the shifts in western culture in the last couple of decades (wow, what a pretentious sentence). But it’s an interesting correlation: as radio has moved from being the only game in town, to something of a relic of an earlier age; the only way that it can maintain authority is to be reliable and consistent.

Do have a read of the post – I’ll leave you to make any conclusions about what the implications might be for church.

One Reply to “Authority”

  1. I think you’re spot-on, Geoff. As Mark Colvin says, “authority must be earned, not conferred”. We rely on the authority of scripture (quite rightly) but we assume that that authority is thereby conferred on us; and we assume that our audience knows or respects that authority and its source. Scripture is broadly unknown, and the church is broadly untrusted… so we’re fairly well screwed on the authority front.

    I’m not sure “reliable and consistent” will work for us, though. Firstly, we suck at it. Secondly, it’s not what people value in personal journey. Transparency in our flakiness and inconsistency – exhibiting our own desperate need for grace – is possibly the greatest source of credibility or authority we have. That, and our willingness to be exposed, first hand if need be, to human suffering.

    Now, if you can only stop being squeamish about your own pretension…

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