“Good News, Bad News. Positive News”
by Rev. Malcolm Allsop
“Oh, there is so much bad news in the world everyday! Wherever you look – where will it all end?”
The cry is familiar, the examples hardly need repeating, let alone that we dwell on them here. They are as familiar to us as the above response. What a relief when we hear of something good, that even finds its way into the media pages – be it a distant royal wedding, a good-mood “Walk the Talk” event, a medal at the Olympics. Some good news is simply good. A lot of good news is particularly so because it stands in direct or indirect relationship to something else, a prior event, which weighed more heavily on the people concerned. A highlight in the year of many Irish villages is the annual amateur dramatics festival. Some of these have been running for sixty years now, initiated as an antidote to the post-war gloom of loss and unemployment, still lifting the communities today from their cares and concerns. The excellent work of countless charities is another example, as they respond to need and suffering, be it locally or internationally.
Bad news. Good news. And positive news? A subtle difference seems to be implied. An expression which has been receiving attention and support in recent years is “Constructive Journalism”, which provides us with a clue. One definition from that quarter is:
We can apply this approach to the recent Gospel Reading, Mark 8, where Christ foretells for the first time what lies ahead – His suffering, death and overcoming of death. These events are intimately connected and challenge one to see them, not as bad followed by good, but as being intricately woven with each other, interdependent. Together they build the necessary turning point in human development.
To that comes something further; the pronouncement of Christ’s is initiated by someone’s recognition: Peter’s indication that he, and the Disciples, are almost ready to grasp this greater reality. That will become the paving stones to take them through the ‘bad and good’ of the Golgotha events. Peter illustrates here how central the inner involvement is, which we can bring towards an understanding of so-called outer events, which in turn impacts greatly on their subsequent unfolding. The spiritual component is therewith also visible, in a truly constructive relationship with the so-called bad and good in our lives.
An interesting footnote: The “constructive journalism” world declared five years ago that 24th June be their day in the year on which such projects from around the world confer and concertedly further this approach. Coincidence that it is also the declared festival day of John the Baptist?
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