God in the gaps

Congress Debates Everglades Restoration In Face Of Bush Veto Threat

I was reading this CBS/Associated Press story about a missing 11-year-old girl from central Florida being found alive, four days after she disappeared in swamplands near her home. And there was religion all over the place. People were talking about miracles. The guy who found her went to the same church as her parents. But we never learn what church it is. It's just weird. Call me parochial if you want but the first thing I look for in stories about church members doing something . . . is a name of the church to which the members belong. It's not in the story.

But this Orlando Sentinel story has all the goods on the rescue of Nadia Bloom, who has Asperger's.

Police did not know that James King, 44, of Orlando, was searching the wet and wooded area until he called 911. He is a former member of Metro Church, where the Blooms worship.

"I didn't all of a sudden see her," King said. "I was yelling, 'Nadia! Nadia!' and she said, 'What?'"

See, not that hard! And the reporters do a good job of letting the key players speak as religious people do. Here, for instance, is Jeff Bloom:

When asked how he felt, Nadia's father said: "I can't even describe it. Let's give the glory to God."

The rescue effort was getting to the point where it was about to be called off. The girl told rescuers she couldn't believe they'd found her.

King told reporters that God led him to her and the story says that investigators aren't suspicious about the rescue. The community is regarding the rescue as miraculous and the church members are particularly elated, according to the story. We don't get a description of what type of church Metro Church is, but the story does do a good job of getting some intriguing details in there:

At one point, about three dozen church members broke into song in the driveway in front of the church, singing "Shout Halleluiah."

"James said he was praying. He said he was praying in tongues, he was praying in spirits and he went right to her," Sandra Green said. Green's husband, Randy Green, is another pastor at the church.

Patricia Guobadia, a spokeswoman for the Blooms, said "our prayers have been answered. . . . it's just celebration today."

For a story that's ostensibly about Nadia's medical condition and the circumstances of her rescue, this story is a great example of how to weave religious components in.

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