Shaping Global Perspectives About Religion

By their presence on cable systems, manyfreelance evangelical broadcasters are shaping perspectives of Christian religionaround the globe.

Traveling in East Africa, I have seen freelance religious broadcasters from the United States on television systems from Uganda to Zimbabwe to South Africa.

Much of their content is from the context of life in the United States. What I find interesting, however, is that these broadcasters are framing faith from their own unique perspectives for a world audience. This is interesting because for some viewers it leaves an impression that they are representative of Christian groups in the U.S., when, in reality, they represent a small part of the Christian community.I can’t estimate their influence without research. Because they are on cable systems that serve hotel visitors and an elite which can afford a cable subscription. Therefore, it’s possible their influence is limited.However, even allowing for this possibility, the absence of other voices from the Christian community in major media is still important. The freelance religionists are not the only representatives of the Christian community.I’m interested in how the voices from mainstream Africa Christian communities frame Christian faith from the context in which they live and operate. This is a more functional and vital expression of faith appropriate to African life.How the faith is framed is an important matter that should not be left to independent freelancers alone. Most mainline denominations embody a connected community that shares accountability and resources in a way that creates a whole expression of Christian faith. That voice should be at least as visible and audible as religious entrepreneurs.Therefore, assisting these voices to develop the capacity to communicate should be a priority of the whole Christian community, especially mainstream Christians in the U.S. and Europe.

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