Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
A while ago, in the UK, a row broke out about the seating position of two presenters in a BBC breakfast programme. Unknown to most people except those concerned with such matters, it appears that the one who sits on the left (as viewed on television) is the more senior of the two presenters. A new male presenter replaced the exiting gentleman and was placed on the left with the existing female presenter, continuing on screen, on the right.
A BBC spokesman said: “There is no seniority in terms of who sits where on the BBC Breakfast sofa. It’s all about judging which is the best camera angle for the presenters.”
A large sexism row broke out and the outcry, particularly from the female lobby, bordered on the ridiculous. One blamed “deep-rooted misogyny in newsrooms” for the way male presenters are nearly always seated in the position considered more senior on the left.
This got me to thinking about man’s (and woman’s) need for position, power, seniority and the need to feel and be important. It would appear that the seating arrangements were far more important than the content of the programme. Whether this was a breakfast programme or a serious news programme, the same rules applied.
On news programmes, no doubt some of the reports would have been about such serious issues as the migrant crisis, wars in different parts of the world, serious accidents and political issues which may well have impacted on the whole of the population. In addition, serious concerns with human suffering, population displacement and death and destruction tend to be a staple diet of news programmes but the main concern of the presenter and those supporting her position seemed to be about where she sat to report such news and what it said about her position as the senior (or otherwise) presenter of the programme.
Talk about getting priorities wrong! This was a classic example of the “me first” society that we live in today. Such an approach seemed to be that the need to be important, seen as important and anything that impacts adversely on those two requirements was to be challenged.
But what about true Christians – we’re different, aren’t we? We certainly should be, but how do we do in such circumstances?
The Bible gives a number of bad examples of where position was so very important to some. We read in Matthew 20:20-28 about the ambition of James and John. What was the motivation—to serve or be served? It was obviously to be served and therefore the fruits were those of selfishness as they wanted power, position and influence. In Acts 8:18-20, Simon Magus offered the disciples money in order to receive the Holy Spirit which he perceived to be power which would give him position and standing. And a third example is in Isaiah 14:12-14 where we read about Satan’s ambition being thwarted. It was all about himself, and he lusted about having the very highest position in the universe.
Do we have any of these failings? If so, then the example given by Jesus in Matthew 18:1-4 should be a clear reminder of the humility we need in order to make it into the Kingdom of God.
Of course, those who were fretting about where a presenter should sit were getting their priorities all wrong. It was an unhealthy concentration on minutiae, almost navel-gazing in personal self-interest. It was an ego trip and an example of coveting which God says we must simply not be involved with. Of course, such petty and self-serving examples reveal quite clearly that God is not involved in their lives, and that hardly comes as a surprise in today’s secular society.
We can smile at such nonsense but we had better be careful that we never fall into any such similar attitudes or it could spell disaster for us, because God does not accept behaviour of this sort from His people.
We had better remember to always do the right thing because right matters!