Today's BUGB e news-sweep points us to this article in the Guardian, bemoaning the inclusion of 'pause for thought' or 'thought for the day' slots in radio broadcasting. It asserts that people of no faith don't want them and presumes that people of faith will be irritated by them. Is that true? I'm not so sure.
From time to time I do catch the 'God slot' on the Chris Evans breakfast show and am often deeply impressed by the respectful and insightful way he engages with his 'pause for thought' guests. I have, from time to time, found for myself a moment that speaks into my needs, as well as the occasional ones that make me cringe. They are, in the words of Douglas Adams, as befits the inhabitants of earth, 'mostly harmless'.
A vicar friend occasionally acts as speaker when the Radio 4 service is broadcast from Manchester, and I recall her showing me the list of speakers and allocated themes... P 4 T is not about someone picking a twee hobby horse, often it is the BBC who decide the theme.
Should we, as the Guardian writer suggests, have dedicated, multi-faith broadcasting? Or should we have good quality religious broadcasting in the mainstream? Should we settle for naff, stereotypical portrayals of religious people in drama (effeminate vicars, fundamentalist Christian nutcases or radicalised Imams to name but three) or should we be reflecting the rich diversity of Christianity (and other faiths) in this multi-cultural nation of ours?
If people really don't want to listen to P 4 T or its equivalents then they can (a) turn off their radio (b) go and make a cup of tea (c) take a shower...
All of which gives me a good opportunity to give another plug to Audiopot which hosts output from a whole range of independent Christain radio producers including (shameless plug here) GRF here in Glasgow.