Colleagues on the Godbeat beat

Readers will have noted several references in our work to another site on the Godbeat beat -- The Revealer -- which is based over in the J-school at New York University. (I say over at NYU because I live in Palm Beach County, the virtual Sixth Borough). The editor is veteran newspaper and magazine scribe Jeff Sharlet, cofounder of Killing the Buddha and coauthor of Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible.

Jeff just welcomed us to the fray with a piece called "Get It? Got it. Good" and we thank him for that.

The money quote:

Their mission is both a little bit and enormously different than The Revealer's. They're tracking the mainstream media and its Christian counterparts; The Revealer was reminded yesterday of its responsibility to the smaller stories and its interest in finding new ways to write about religion. But that's tomatoes and tomatoes compared to the main distinction, as hinted by's title -- they want you to get God. Their God, to be exact, although they're smart enough to know that there's a huge range of understandings within evangelical Protestant theology.

Take their February 9 post on the recent flap over an airline pilot who advised "Christian" passengers to evangelize "non-Christians" (we'll let you follow's excellent collection of links). They write from a position of mild annoyance with a press that finds this an example of religious bully behavior. It's tacky, they suggest, but the problem is merely one of timing. "Ultimately," they write, "we know that if the Holy Spirit has led us to a moment for sharing the gospel, like Saint Philip speaking with an Ethiopian eunuch, then God will open the doors of circumstance for us."

The Revealer has been given the gospel on airplanes too often to believe such a moment exists, but we're grateful, at least, that the doors of circumstance have opened for this bright new blog.

This is a very important issue, so let me try to clarify things a bit.

Our main goal here is to raises questions about the religion coverage in mainstream journalism. If we deal with religious media, it will only be to the degree that those media folks make comment on the content of the so-called secular press.

Also, Doug and I don't want to hide where we're coming from in terms of our own faith. But we are both committed to working in the mainstream and we know that, well, turning GetReligion into an evangelism site would be a little like, well, a pilot preaching to the captive audience on an airplane. And I think Doug already addressed that question.

So we have no plans to add a "Just As I Am, Without One Plea" soundtrack to the site.

But if you really want one, click here.

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