Sometimes, a single picture really does tell the story in a way that a thousand words — or a million words — cannot.
Such was the case with Associated Press photographer Joel Auerbach's image of one woman consoling another after this week's mass shooting at a Florida high school.
First, though, let's dive right into this week's Friday Five:
1. Religion story of the week: Most weeks, we've already introduced you to the story featured here. This week is an exception.
The religion story of the week is an interview that NPR did with photographer Greg Miller, who has spent 20 years documenting "the smudge on people's foreheads" on Ash Wednesday. The piece on "The Penitent Pause for a Portrait" contains a number of the images.
It really is worth a click.
2. Most popular GetReligion post: Editor Terry Mattingly's post on that AP school shooting photo mentioned above occupies the No. 1 spot this week — and it wasn't even close.
It would be hard to imagine a more powerful image -- in terms of ancient traditions clashing with Life. Right. Now. -- than ashes in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of people caught up in yet another mass shooting of students and teachers.
But did news reports allow the image to be haunted by a holy ghost? The viral post explores that question. You can expect the upcoming "Crossroads" podcast to focus on the same topic, plus thoughts on how "prayer" has, once again, turned into a controversial term.
3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): So ABC News' "The View" likened Vice President Mike Pence talking to Jesus to "mental illness."
Think that got any mainstream news coverage?
Not unless you count Fox News, as far as I could tell. (By all means, please correct me and share a link if I missed such coverage.)
In an open letter to ABC News' president, the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell complained:
Bigotry against any group is hateful and ugly. Unfortunately, anti-Christian bigotry seems to be the last acceptable bigotry.
4. Shameless plug: I covered "Night to Shine," a prom experience for special-needs teens and adults sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, for Religion News Service.
More than 500 churches in all 50 states and 16 countries welcomed a total of 90,000 newly crowned kings and queens to the simultaneous proms "centered on God's love."
So what were the odds that Tebow would show up at the Oklahoma City event where I was interviewing volunteers and participants? Please don't ask me to do the math. But Tebow's surprise appearance certainly didn't hurt my story.
5. Final thought: This is one of those weeks when we all probably could use a dose of humor.
Thank you, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, for providing it, via a copy-editing snafu on a church's Ash Wednesday program.
"Remember that you are butt dust and into dust you shall return."
P.S. If you don't get it, feel free to ask your English teacher.
Happy Friday, everybody! Enjoy the weekend.