Friday, November 14, 2008

Relevant Radio

I've learned a little church history, and know something of the lives of the saints, something of variations in theology, and while trying to put together some material for youth, have read goodly chunks of Luther's catechism and the Catholic catechism. But the theological theory and the way things are actually practiced sometimes have points of difference, so I tuned in WHFA to hear what the Catholic equivalent of protestant radio is like.

The Catholic church is a rather big tent, with a lot of things you aren't actually required to believe (Fatima, etc). So the content of the programming may not be representative. And I tuned in during commutes, so that also biases the sampling.

Similarities: Both protestant and the Catholic station talk a lot about Jesus, faith, grace, obedience and the Bible. Both have pledge drives :-( Both have call-in shows for people needing advice. Both include worship service broadcasts, and have lots of church community bulletins.

Differences: WHFA has ads by presumably Catholic businessmen. WHFA has substantially less music, though given the average caliber of the stuff WNWC plays that may not be a disadvantage. Sometimes the experts on the call-in shows show a little more "depth on the bench" than their protestant equivalents. Relevant Radio has talk shows in the morning and early evening, and during the lead-up to the election it was 90% about abortion. That got pretty old--I figured they were preaching to the choir but I gather from post-election statistics that most Catholics either don't care or were seriously confused by the unfortunate "seamless garment" approach that glibly mixed absolutes and prudentials.(*) WHFA apparently has an exorcist as a regular guest on the afternoon talk show. Protestant worship services that center around singing and preaching and the Bible are easy to broadcast, but services that center around the Eucharist lack a little something: like presence. And Mary is big--very big. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and talks like a duck ... and attributes effective omniscience to Mary (she hears every prayer ?!?): then we're off into very risky territory.

Call-in shows aren't a really good avenue for "spiritual direction;" that really requires one-on-one with a counselor, and time and at least a stab at self-discipline on the directee's part. It isn't done in 2 minutes. Some of the protestant call-ins have a phone bank with some sort of counselors, which is better (I hope!) than 45 seconds of advice on the air.

The local bishop isn't a good public speaker, but the clips were short. The quality and caliber of the protestant preachers is generally far better.

I learned a lot, and may tune in again from time to time--though I'll try to skip the commute hours.

Time to switch over to La Movida for a while to try to learn to hear the accents and phrases of Spanish.

(*) That's my description, not theirs. They always said it was misinterpreted; I say Bernardin was careless.

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