Our mantra here at GetReligion is that the mainstream news media should take religion seriously.
But way too often, newspapers such as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune — today's example — offer faith coverage that is about as meaty as pink cotton candy.
The Star-Tribune this week published a skeleton of a story exploring a subject that — if approached more thoughtfully — could be extremely timely and insightful concerning modern worship trends.
Instead, readers are treated to a religious puff piece:
The story subject: churches turning to Wednesday night as an alternative to Sunday worship.
Each Wednesday, the Latzke family heads to their Bloomington church for an evening of religious education and a worship service. Sunday is too packed to squeeze in church, so now Wednesday is their day — as it is for thousands of busy Minnesotans.
“Wednesday is the new Sunday,” is what some clergy call this trend reflecting the scheduling quirks of modern families.
“This works really nice for us because we’re so busy on weekends,” said Robyn Latzke shortly before the service at Transfiguration Lutheran Church. “She dances, and she plays volleyball,” Latzke said, pointing to her daughters.
“And I farm on weekends with my brother,” added her husband, Jeff Latzke.
As churches across Minnesota try new ways to accommodate the hectic lives of the faithful, Wednesday night services have emerged as a popular option.
For churches that already offered religious education on Wednesdays, adding a worship service was a logical fit. For others, a Wednesday service helps folks who travel on weekends, hold down jobs, or schlep children to hockey, soccer and other events.
Alrighty. Let's all work hard to fit God into our schedules. As opposed to, you know, the other way around. But I digress.
Here's what I want to know: Does making the Lord's Day just another day of the week for youth sports, shopping, trips to the lake and anything else deemed more pressing than the Almighty have any theological implications? Are there any biblical or historical reasons — any reasons at all — for the church gathering on Sunday? Might a news story consider such questions?
This is the full extent of the Star-Tribune's deeper exploration:
Some folks question whether the Sabbath — which the Bible says is “the seventh day of the week” — can even be celebrated on a Wednesday. Clergy insist it can be. Said North: “Worshiping God can happen any day of the week.”
OK, I guess it's settled then.
But just for the fun of it, do you have any suggestions, dear GetReligion reader, for how that paragraph might be unpacked by an enterprising journalist? By all means, please comment below or tweet us at @GetReligion.