Philippians

Friday Five: Top religion journalists, Christian rock, rainbow-cross flag burning, Sarah Sanders doctrine

Friday Five: Top religion journalists, Christian rock, rainbow-cross flag burning, Sarah Sanders doctrine

We’ve mentioned a few of the winners in the Religion News Association’s annual Awards for Religion Reporting Excellence — including Ann Rodgers, Kimberly Winston and Rachel Zoll.

But be sure to check out the entire #RNA2018 contest list for more familiar, deserving names. Some names I recognized: Peter Smith, Peggy Fletcher Stack, Tim Funk, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Emma Green, Elizabeth Dias, Bob Smietana, Jeremy Weber and Ted Olsen.

Congratulations to all of those honored for their work on the Godbeat!

Now, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

(1) Religion story of the week: Seriously, a story on Christian rock music is the story of the week!?

Hey, when GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly refers to a New Yorker piece on the Christian rock wars as “stunningly good,” pay attention. And as his post urged, read it all.

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Two divers, two faith-driven stories: Did the Washington Post just miss all the God talk?

Two divers, two faith-driven stories: Did the Washington Post just miss all the God talk?

David Boudia and Steele Johnson won a silver at the 2016 Olympics in 10-meter platform synchronized diving, finishing right behind a duo from the always powerful Chinese team.

If you saw this in The Washington Post this morning, you read about an amazing story of human strength and courage -- period -- with Johnson winning a medal while performing a dive that almost killed him when he was a boy.

If you read about this duo from Hamilton County Indiana in The Indianapolis Star (or followed the URLs I received this morning from various Christian news lists), you read a very different story. In this version, it's clear that religious faith played a major role as Johnson and Boudia managed to conquer their personal demons and win silver.

Which story is true? They both are, in terms of the basic facts. Which is more complete? It would certainly appear that -- when Johnson (see the video with this post) and Boudia are allowed to tell their own stories -- the religion element is absolutely crucial.

So we face a familiar question: Did the Post team fail to see the religion ghost in this story or was the faith element actually edited out of this dramatic narrative?

This is what the key material looked like in the faith-free version of the Johnson story, published by the Post:

Johnson was just 12 years old and going through a routine diving practice at Indiana University in Jan. 2009 when he attempted a difficult 3 and 1/2 somersault dive. It would later become his favorite move, but that day it was too far advanced and nearly cost him dearly. As he began to spin in the air on the dive, Johnson’s head collided with the concrete platform. He fell unconscious and plunged 33-feet into the pool, hitting the water head first and sinking.

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How would Stephen Curry answer this: What does The Stephen Curry Moment mean?

How would Stephen Curry answer this: What does The Stephen Curry Moment mean?

If you are a sports fan and you are currently paying any attention to events on Planet Earth, then you know that we are in the middle of The Stephen Curry Moment.

How long will this last? What is the meaning of this drama, with the elite priests of the sports-journalism world trying to figure out What It All Means? Why is his excellence causing a national debate involving some of the legends of the game? What does it mean when The New York Times runs a long feature under this headline:

It’s Stephen Curry’s Game Now
The Warriors’ butterfly with a jump shot, Curry is changing how we understand basketball

The Times concludes that Curry is transcending his sport and represents an evolutionary breakthrough along the lines of a Babe Ruth or a Wayne Gretzky. The giant photo with the piece captures Curry at the release point of his perfect jumper, with his eyes focused on the target and the most deadly right wrist in sports -- complete with its large tattoo in Hebrew -- in perfect position.

What Hebrew tattoo? Ah, there is the part of the mystery that the Times team has no interest in pursuing. The tattoo (his wife has the same one, and has been studying Hebrew for several years) is an excerpt of 1 Corinthians 13:8 that translates to “love never fails.” It's a statement about their faith, their marriage and their family. Here is the wider context in that New Testament passage:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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