Chilean Miners and Christian Preachers – a plea

The story of the rescue of the miners is easily the story of the year. You just know it’s going to spawn tv mini-series, maybe even a movie or two and why not? There hasn’t been such an unalloyed good news story in an age. I watched the news coverage, read the papers, listened on radio, viewed the internet, particularly BBC’s brilliant coverage.

There remains loads of stuff I’d love to know about it all, but no doubt that will come.

But as a human story it’s incredible. I mean, why would NASA be interested in 33 Chilean miners? Think about that for a minute. Think about all the global expertise brought to bear, in mining, clothing, nutrition, health, micro-technology, everything. Think of primadonna footballers being moved. Apparently David Villa of Barcelona sent a signed shirt (!), and Real Madrid and Man Uniturd invited them to a game. OK, so Schramm who made the drilling machine, and even Oakley who ‘donated’ the sunglasses will make money, and the ratings of billionaire recently-elected President Pinera won’t suffer, but that’s being churlish. Why were millions the world over, at least those with access to media, glued to the coverage? Why?

Is it because something in this story reminded us of the best in ourselves? Heroic endurance and fortitude, creativity, inventiveness patience and faith. Is it because it reminded us of the bonds that unite us – even rocket scientists and belly-of-the-earth miners? I think of that verse in Ephesians,

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named

You see this story, in and of itself, has merit and value. It is an incredible story of the brilliance of human beings.

So please, Christian preachers, stop, just STOP, using it as an illustration of salvation in Jesus – raising us from the slimy pit, out of the depths of hell etc. etc. You started this when only one of the miners had emerged. I heard you. I know you see it as manna – a fresh, contemporary illustration for Sunday. But please, resist the temptation. Value the story for what it is first. These real people are not worms for your sermon hooks. Think about the people involved in Chile, and those who watched all over the world. If you can’t resist it, how about telling it to inspire us about what human beings are capable of at our best? Rather than reminding us of the mess we got ourselves in over sin.

Don’t devalue the story. Don’t disrespect the people. Don’t bore me!


image from here


4 thoughts on “Chilean Miners and Christian Preachers – a plea

  1. Was just about to make a similar comment in my piece for Downtown on Sunday morning… on top of my frustration at the spiritual competitiveness exhibited by some of the different denominations pastoring/praying for the miners and their families…

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