Inspired by David Gibson on his Pontifications blog, I will float these predictions for the Godbeat in 2009. I lack the courage to commit myself to any one answer, or the insight to write every item with serious intent.
ONE: In his invocation at the Presidential Inaugural, Pastor Rick Warren will shock the nation by:
a) Pronouncing Jesus as an old-school televangelist would.
b) Offering the blandest civil-religion prayer ever and still freaking out the religious left.
c) Making a joke so transgressive that even most GLBTQ activists won't understand it.
THREE: New atheist Richard Dawkins will try a new approach by:
a) Becoming the first person in history to be booted from an Alpha course for talking too much.
b) Challenging Ted Haggard to join him in recreating the spectacle of the Bob Harrington vs. Madalyn Murray O'Hair debates.
c) Daring God, in a pay-per-view event, to prevent a piece of falling chalk from shattering. God says, "Meh."
FOUR: Within three months of taking office, President Barack Obama will, without fanfare, join:
a) Cedar Ridge Community Church (Brian McClaren, founder)
b) Opus Dei (through the omnipresent influence of the Rev. C. John McCloskey III)
c) The Family
FIVE: President Obama's new director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives will be:
a) Jim Wallis
b) Bishop Gene Robinson
c) Richard Cizik
SIX: Jon Meacham will take Newsweek in an even bolder direction by:
a) Renaming it On Faith On Paper.
b) Taking a cue from Lewis Lapham and transforming it into Meacham's Quarterly.
c) Inviting tmatt to a "reconciliation dinner" at an Italian restaurant. Warning to tmatt: If Meacham says he must "tap a kidney," let him leave the table, but then run for your life (YouTube).
SEVEN: After deciding whether to rename their organization, members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors will:
a) Blame religion writers for newspapers' financial struggles.
b) Admit that they've always considered the Godbeat a bit jejune.
c) Approach the National Council of Churches about turning religion sections into advertorials.
NINE: Terry will amaze the readers of GetReligion by:
a) Invoking the tmatt trio three times within as many hours.
b) Creating an insider's shorthand for invoking the tmatt trio (one possibility: tmatt3).
c) Expanding his Anglican bonus question (New wording: "Should churches of any denomination ban the worship, by name, of other gods?"), making it a standing question and thus creating the tmatt quadrilateral.
TEN: I will flummox the readers of GetReligion by:
a) Announcing that, in the interest of retracing Terry's spiritual path, I will become a Southern Baptist (which I hope will force Terry to change my GetReligion nickname to Brother LeBlanc).
b) Approaching Bravo about developing my own reality show (think My Life on the D List meets an Evangelical Press Association panel discussion on "The Proper Care and Feeding of Neurotic Freelancers").
c) Openly campaigning to become the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan.