elephantTV is a series of panel discussions that present a range of perspectives on contentious issues in the Church, so that Christians can come to informed and thoughtful conclusions, and respect each other despite our differences of opinion.
the history of elephantTV
elephantTV began its life in May 2008 when a story about a paratrooper in the U.S Army who had an ‘awakening’ while fighting in Iraq, was published in the American media. He came to the conclusion that “Serving Jesus is doing the opposite of participating in war, it is loving your enemy, avoiding conflict, being humble and living peacefully. I am unable to serve the Lord and support war.” This soldier came to the conclusion that he could no longer shoot and kill.
It was then that we began to think about the different perspectives within the church, and how we sit next to others “in the pew” who quite likely hold very different opinions to one another. We all personally know people who as part of their faith support armed conflict, and yet here was a soldier who because of his faith had decided he could no longer fight. We started to think about and talk about how people can understand, respect and get on with each other as Christians, despite differences. From this grew the idea of elephantTV. The idea of creating a platform for the discussion of the “tricky issues” that we aren’t always so keen to talk about.
We could see that there were plenty of ‘Church versus non-Church debates, but not so many where the church could openly talk amongst herself about the issues that Christians find contentious. The questions that can’t always be agree on. Can a Christian fight in armed conflict? Can a Christian be an evolutionist? Can a Christian be gay?
elephantTV aims to explore some of those difficult questions.
why ‘elephant’ TV?
The “elephant in the room” is an english expression for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed, or an obvious problem that no one wants to discuss. It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there, have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue. We aim to confront the “elephants” in the room.
guidelines for conversations
These are not ‘debates’ but a series of conversations.
Debates aim to create conflict and we are not seeking to create a resource that could potentially harm the church. Whilst the panelists will be firm in their beliefs and open to giving their ‘answer’, elephantTV will in no way aim to endorse a winner. We do not aim to convert, we aim to inform and to encourage respectful conversation. We will treat all contributors and the views they are espousing with equal respect. This will be true whether their opinion is dominant in the church or not.
Four episode have been made of elephantTV thus far. We hope to do more, but at this stage please enjoy and use as a place to begin a conversation our episodes on War, Women in Leadership, Same Sex Marriage and Evolution
If you want a cheeky look at some highlights from our pilot, which was on War, please click here to see a short highlight reel