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And God Said: “Start a Newspaper!”
Do Christians really want to get their news from a Christian newspaper?
A couple of years ago I met Dave Nicol, and heard a remarkable story. This quiet, self-effacing man told me that he believed God had given him a special task – to start a weekly newspaper for the Christians of my city, Melbourne. He explained in detail his plans. It was an inspiring vision.
Our paths separated, and when no newspaper appeared I assumed the dream had been just that – a dream.
But then I started hearing from friends about Dave. They told me of the amazing people he was meeting, of all the organisations that he was lining up in support of his venture. And then on Sunday in church we all received, free, the first pilot edition of the new paper, the Melbourne Courier, and it’s a beaut.
It’s a 48-page tabloid, crammed full of news and features. Sure enough, Dave has done a marvellous job of garnering support. He has the official backing of the leaders of numerous church denominations, from Anglican and Catholic to Assemblies of God and Salvation Army.
He has also managed to find an impressive line-up of writing talent, with big names that include former Victorian assistant police commissioner Bob Boucher, Melbourne University biomedical ethics lecturer Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, former New York Post and Chicago Sun Times editor Frank Devine, Fortune magazine contributing writer Anthony Paul, former Australian Special Forces commander Brigadier Jim Wallace and leading financial planner Kevin Bailey.
But now comes the hard part. Will Melbourne Christians support the venture?
Newspaper publishing in Australia is dominated by just two giant corporations, John Fairfax Holdings and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. It is sadly ironic that both these companies have Christian roots. Sir Keith Murdoch, who started the News Corporation newspapers, was the son of a Presbyterian minister. John Fairfax was a passionate preacher of Jesus Christ (a fact I learned from the Melbourne Courier).
Today, our newspapers are resolutely secular, often delighting in a knee-jerk hostility towards Christians and Christianity, particularly in their opinion pages.
Unfortunately, some of what passes locally for Christian commentary on the world is also knee-jerk – anti-American, anti-Islam, anti-something. Or it does little more than link current events to biblical prophecy.
We need a new voice, one that shows us what God is doing in our city, and, in a post-Christian culture, guides us to live as Jesus would have us live.
The spirit of God is at work in our city. The Melbourne Courier is here. I urge local Christians to support it.
November 8th, 2002