Parish Magazine Article - July 2021

 

“It may be that over this time of COVID disputes have festered electronically.  As we can more freely meet face to face, it will be good to get back into the habit of these private conversations.”


As you read this the Wimbledon tennis tournament will be well underway, albeit with reduced seating capacity.  A recent development in coverage has been the thrusting of a microphone into the players' faces immediately after the final. It usually starts with the question, “how are you feeling now you have won/ lost?”  with the cameras poised to zoom in at the first sign of moisture around the eyes.  Gone are the delightful days of Ile Nastasi, who when asked by a reporter how he felt after losing, replied, “absolutely fantastic, next stupid question!”

A few weeks ago, the Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka was forced to withdraw from a tournament because she refused to participate in post-match publicity. Quite rightly, she suggested that to put losing players under that sort of pressure in public wasn’t good for their mental health. Some would say, that being in the public eye makes you fair game. But this isn’t the same as the press offering proper scrutiny.  It's using the pain of others as a form of entertainment. You see it all the time in certain news programmes.  The same zooming in as the tears flow; the same probing questions to elicit an emotional response.

I think Jesus is mercifully more respectful of our privacy than that. Even if Christians have a dispute with one another, he suggests trying to deal with it in private first, not sharing our grievances through blind copied emails. It may be that over this time of COVID disputes have festered electronically.  As we can more freely meet face to face, it will be good to get back into the habit of these private conversations.

 

+Richard