Friday Five: Neo-tabloid NYT, pro-life Dems, Matt Chandler's 'interview,' Jimmy Carter's pastor, gelatos

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Greetings from the Zagreb, Croatia, airport!

I’m headed home after a Christian Chronicle reporting trip to this Central European nation.

My confession is this: I haven’t had time to pay a lot of attention to the news this week (many thanks to my colleague Julia Duin for producing several extra posts in my absence).

So, if I fail to mention something important, please help me out with details and links in the comments section. In the meantime, let’s dive into the distracted-by-international-travel edition of Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: With the caveat above, let’s just say that I was intrigued by a bunch of the topics I found scrolling through this week’s GetReligion posts.

Terry Mattingly’s piece on the New York Times going neo-tabloid over Jerry Falwell Jr., Donald Trump, South Florida real estate and a colorful array of supporting characters particularly intrigued me. Then there were pieces by tmatt (here) and Duin (here) on the haunted news coverage of pro-life Democrats. That tmatt piece followed up on a key theme in Julia’s post, pointing readers to coverage noting that journalists know where to find pro-life Democrats in the Bible Belt. Just look in church pews, especially in African-American congregations.

The Falwell-Trump story in the Times ignited liberal Twitter (look for the hashtag #Falwellpoolboy), but didn’t inspire significant mainstream coverage elsewhere. Stay tuned, and check out the GetReligion podcast on this topic — right here.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: It was a great week for Julia, who had two pieces that ran neck-and-neck this week, in terms of getting the most clicks from readers.

The first was a look at a strong religion-news angle the massive demonstrations in Hong Kong, protesting legal changes sought by the government of China. See this headline: “American media ignore 'Sing Hallelujah to the Lord,' the anthem of Hong Kong's protests.”

Want a how-to (not!) lesson on dealing with bad press? In her other highly popular post this week, Duin offered a case study on the recent Matt Chandler “interview” at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): The little church in Plains, Ga., where former President Jimmy Carter still teaches Sunday schools always makes a lot of headlines.

Count me as one who can’t stop clicking such news. The latest, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, concerns the Maranatha Baptist Church hiring its first black pastor.

4. Shameless plug: I wrote a feature for Facts & Trends magazine on how churches can bridge the marriage divide between rich and poor.

I’d be honored if you’d give it a click.

5. Final thought: How have I spent my free time in Croatia? Eating gelato. Lots and lots of gelato.

Happy Friday, everybody! Enjoy the weekend!

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