In our society it is becoming increasingly difficult to bring a distinct Christian voice to the media, with the name of Jesus causing particular issues.
When a short children’s documentary was made of my life I requested it followed me for my confirmation and campaign, and relevant footage was gathered. However, when the final film and script came through, my confirmation, and any reference to my faith had been erased from the final cut. Long hours of work later I had re-edited the script and managed to convince the editor of 15 seconds on my faith which included the name of Jesus, although they still tried to change this when my friend was in the recording studio reading my words for me.
Including my faith in the documentary was not optional. Jesus is central to my life and if He hadn’t been mentioned it wouldn’t have been about my life. I felt betrayed and said if my faith wasn’t covered I would withdraw my consent for the programme. It shouldn’t be such a battle.
Ironically, it was the resulting 15 seconds which secured the producers a religious broadcasting award.
Naively, I thought that when it came to writing my memoir I would not encounter the same issues. After all, this was to be my story in my words, but again at the final manuscript stage the editor not only erased Jesus and at best replaced his name with a ‘higher spiritual being’. For apparent ease of reading, she also sent the changes as a clean manuscript so I couldn’t track the alterations. In a very short deadline I compared the two, and with some difficult conversations with the editor Jesus made it back in.
Keeping faith and Jesus in the media and in writing is important to the group, The Association of Christian Writers (ACW) of which I am honoured to be their youngest member. ACW is 50 years old this year and has released a book called ‘Write Well, A Handbook for Christian Writers’ which I was privileged to be asked to write a chapter in.
As ACW celebrates 50 years, this is a golden opportunity for the organisation to not only look back, but also forward to encouraging, equipping and releasing Christian writers and their distinct voices in an increasingly censored society.