Our partners in Pakistan are restricted by the authorities over certain words they can and can’t use on FM radio. The list is predictable, and interesting, and it made me think about what life would be like in New Zealand if you and I couldn’t use certain words in our conversations with others.
In Pakistan, on FM radio, you won’t hear the name “Jesus.” Instead you’ll hear “Isa.” Also you won’t ever hear the word “Bible”, but in it’s place the programme will refer to “the Holy Book.” When our announcers want to suggest people “seek Jesus”, they must say “seek the Way.”
For some Kiwi and Western readers (and listeners) this kind of restriction is terrible and must be resisted. But I ask you – is it really that bad? Whatever you think about Islam and the Koran, the reality is “Isa” refers to the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. And as with all terms, people will give it the meaning they have been taught – rightly or wrongly.
Also, the Bible IS the Holy Book, and seeking Jesus IS seeking the Way. Being forced to use these terms, is essentially being forced to speak to Pakistanis in ways they understand. Not such a bad thing, don’t you think? The really important work for our Christian radio programmers is to build unfamiliar Christian meaning around those Muslim-familiar words.
So I’m fascinated to know what you think. What words would you use in New Zealand if you could not use these:
- Praise and Worship
I suspect that if we were restricted like this, we might find that many New Zealanders actually understand Christian communications better! I suspect.
“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law, so as to win those under the law… I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Good News, that I may share in it’s blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:20-23