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Pause for Thought?

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.


  • Yes, I read that article too and it really annoyed me! I heard the afore-mentioned Steve Chalke on the Chris Evans show yesterday, and thought it light but nonetheless thought-provoking.

    To quote the Guardian, quoting Steve Chalke:"I actually author the story of my own life, the life God's given me." I would have thought that atheists could still relate to the first part of that sentence, if not the second.

    Maybe I'm biased as a Christian, and a Baptist minister, but I find the God-slots on the Chris Evans show to be graciously introduced by Chris, and generally well-presented by the contributors. I could rant like the Guardian: if we cut out Pause for Thought etc, let's cut out any use of God's name on the radio (OMG etc), and let's get rid of atheistic leanings. In fact, let's get rid of thinking altogether!

  • I agree with the sentiments of the last speaker! I'd much rather we had mostly harmless, occasionally irritating, but sometimes profound religious broadcasting in the mainstream than the potential alternatives. I hear P4T when in the car reasonably regularly and always think it enriches the programme.

    This is also timely given today's controversy about the Archbishop of Coventry getting involved in politics; surely it's better to be part of mainstream debate, even at the risk of sometimes getting it wrong, than to be hived off into some special interest area most people will never access and regard as irrelevant?

    (PS I don't actually think the Archbish did get it wrong today!)

  • Hmm, is that kind of Freudian or prophetic that you've sent the archbish to Coventry?! He was in Canterbury last time I looked...

  • We'd be delighted to have him in Coventry if Canterbury ever got fed up with him!

    When an Archbishop gets in trouble with the PM, it's often a sign he was saying something worth considering.

  • It's all "down South" to me!!

The comments are closed.