I call myself “a mission theologian.” That basically means that I reflect theologically on the Church’s mission in the world. This being so, it is very important for me to be up to date, not only with the latest theological thinking but also what is going on in the world.
For that reason, I follow news events quite closely. And this brings the thorny issue of how do we get an accurate picture of world events? If we rely on one or two sources of news then we will get a distorted view. For instance if you only looked at the BBC news site you would be ignorant of the death of Egypt’s state prosecutor in a car bomb; the delay of Burundi’s elections because of attacks on polling stations; the thousands of displaced people around the town of Hasakah; or the shooting by South African police of unarmed miners protesting low pay and bad working conditions. By the time this blog is published the BBC may have picked up on some of these stories but I bet they will be buried in the website pretty deeply.
Now, you may feel you don’t need that sort of information but this does affect our perception of what is important in the world. If we only know about our own news then we are in danger of becoming parochial. The Egyptian church is carrying out its mission in a context of violent political protest by insurgents and equally violent state reaction; the Burundian church is trying to create unity while the country pulls itself apart; agencies and churches in the Middle East are considering how they can best aid the refugees and the South African church has to reflect on how to react to state violence.
The previous paragraph is, of course, very generalised and probably inaccurate but the fact remains that as Christians we are linked by a blood bond (the blood of Christ) to our sisters and brothers across the world.
A good alternative source of information can be found on the Al Jazeera’s English website. I’m not saying it’s more accurate simply that you will find stories there where you wont find them elsewhere.