Friday Five: Paradise lost, Pittsburgh rabbi, Vatican shock, Jim Acosta, porn and politics

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“We knew where we were all the time,” quipped Joe Glenn, a preacher who ended up on the missing persons list after a wildfire wiped out the California town of Paradise.

Glenn and his wife, Pat, escaped the blaze “with the clothes on our back,” he told me in an interview for The Christian Chronicle.

After learning they were “missing,” the couple alerted authorities to their whereabouts — a Motel 6 about 65 miles southwest of their charred home.

“It is good to have a sense of humor ... when your world has literally burned up around you!" the minister told friends on Facebook.

Amen!

Now, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: Often, this space reflects the week’s biggest or most important religion news. This week, I want to highlight an excellent piece of Godbeat journalism that you probably missed.

Specifically, check out Pittsburgh Post-Gazette religion writer Peter Smith’s in-depth profile on “Jeffrey Myers: A face of tragedy, a voice for peace.”

Among the behind-the-scenes insights shared by Smith: Myers’ experience welcoming President Donald Trump to Pittsburgh when others wanted him to stay away after the Oct. 27 synagogue massacre.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: Once again, the most-clicked post of the week involves the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal.

Editor Terry Mattingly’s commentary titled “Vatican shocks U.S. bishops, while some journalists keep tight focus on child abuse — alone” occupies the top spot.

Bonus material related to the same subject matter: A Catholic journalist wrote a column in USA Today about why the scandal has driven her from the church. The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher delves into “The Church: Why She Left, Why Others Stay.”

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): I’ll admit that I’ve only scanned this long magazine piece, but I hope to read it more fully.

What I’ve glimpsed so far is intriguing: Politico Magazine explores “How the GOP Gave Up on Porn.”

The piece’s basic gist:

Once, the fight against pornography was the beating heart of the American culture war. Now porn is a ballooning industry — and maybe a harmful one —with no real opponents. What happened?

Spoiler alert: Jimmy Carter and Jerry Falwell, Donald Trump and Jerry Falwell Jr. figure in the narrative.

4. Shameless plug: One of the things I love about my friend Mollie Hemingway, a former GetReligionista, is that she’s willing to say when she thinks everybody is behaving like an idiot.

That’s her assessment of the clash between CNN’s Jim Acosta and the White House. Check out Hemingway’s column for The Federalist on why “Everyone Is Wrong About The Jim Acosta, White House Battle.”

5. Final thought: A network TV reporter who’s clueless about what’s going to happen and admits it?

Yes, more of that please. Sign me up.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Enjoy the weekend!

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