Brainstorming for Newsweek

Rob Moll of Christianity Today Online's Weblog has pointed out the imbalance of Newsweek's cover story on the Nativity, and GetReligion has previously identified Jon Meacham's frequent practice of warning against the dangers of "certainty" and "literalism" in stories involving historic Christian dogma.

I'll comment on this week's issue of Newsweek from a different angle, then: The headline and deck ("The Birth of Jesus: From Mary to the manger, how the Gospels mix faith and history to tell the Christmas story and make the case for Christ") feel a tad anemic for a story that assumes the virgin birth probably is just another quaint myth, then quotes mostly those academicians who reinforce the assumption.

Here are some other story ideas, accompanied by punchier headlines and decks, on which Newsweek may wish to find the via media between historic Christianity and disbelief:

Advent
Deck the Halls, Already: For thinking Christians, fourth-quarter consumerism isn't the problem. It's where to find the best bargains and hip stocking-stuffers. [Note to sales reps: This could make for a great Special Advertising Section tie-in.]
Sidebar: Christmas or Chrismahanukwanzakah?: Culturally aware believers are torn. [Thanks to reader Bruce Geerdes for the link.]

Epiphany
Other Mansions, Other Voices: No thinking Christian believes the Three Wise Men found their way to the infant Christ. Newsweek decodes this legend's actual message that all paths -- including astrology! -- lead to God.

Lent
Ashes to Ashes: How the institutional church, with the help of Opus Dei, hoodwinked its members into 40 days of self-denial and asceticism.

Easter
He Lives in Our Memories: The Jesus Seminar has settled the myth of bodily resurrection. But that's no reason to deprive our irony-loving children of chocolate bunnies and Marshmallow Peeps.

Pentecost
Substance Abuse and Denial in the Early Church: The crowd had it right -- the first Christians were drunk at nine in the morning. An exclusive Newsweek investigative report.

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