A couple of recent instances:
- a letter to the Times by various senior clergy calling for the church's understanding of marriage to change to include same-sex couples.
- a front page in our local paper a few weeks ago, which then was picked up by several national papers, on a dispute in the local church.
- is the media, local or national, the place to have our debates within the Church of England?
In the local case, I don't get the sense that there was an attempt to stimulate debate, and the way it was reported was very adversarial. All the piece did was made any possibility of resolution impossible, whilst inflicting a large amount of strain and anguish on the parish concerned. In the national case, given that the House of Bishops is having another look at its position on sexuality, where do these debates happen - on the floor of Synod, via the letter pages of secular newspapers, or face to face?
I'm aware of the irony of asking this question on a blog which, at times, has tried to engage in debates about the CofE via the blogosphere rather than via the institutions the church has for discussions and governance.
My strongest thought is this: the media should be neither the first port of call, nor the last. It shouldn't be the first place we go with an opinion, we should be able to talk to each other first. And it shouldn't be the last place we go, because we've lost the argument and we want to go down with as much noise and collateral damage as possible.