After a couple or news headlines which I read today, one word stood out very strongly: “association”. This word is used in very different contexts and forms but in this case, it makes reference to tying one thing to another by use of a connection which is intended to garner greater attention.
As an example, if one of the many Cardinals in the Vatican, perhaps unpopular in the media, was to comment on a specific matter, a headline such as ‘Cardinal makes important comment‘ is not catchy enough. How about ‘Catholic clergy, in charge of Pope’s personal itinerary, makes important comment’. Although the above scenario was entirely made up, I bet the latter headline grabbed your attention and deepened your interest in the story, whatever it was.
By using well known establishments: the Catholic Church, the pope and the Vatican, attention can be drawn to less conspicuous people and issues. That is the power of association. It has its upsides with the advantage of drawing attention to matters that would have otherwise slipped under the carpet with no associations. However, the flip side is this: it can very easily lead to the categorisation of a group of people under the same umbrella- often wrongly.
Many people often take one association and extrapolate it infinitely to apply to all. Hence, ‘one bad nut, actually does spoil the whole soup’. The name Christian became associated with a group of people by virtue of the way they lived, likewise many other associations. The question then to us who believe, us who are associated with Jesus is this “can others clearly recognise this association or are we just linked to become focal points of wrong attention?