Despite all the televangelist bashing, I’m not ready to give up Christian television. As the Good Book says, there’s a time and place for everything. Those power preachers can have Channel 72 at 4:30 in the morning. What I’d like to see is some good Christian programming on prime time:
A drama featuring a sharp-looking team of Christians in a tough, southeastern resort city who race around proclaiming the gospel and working for peace and justice: “Miami Virtue.”
A sitcom on the life and times of Methuselah: “seven hundred and thirtysomething.”
A futuristic science-fiction drama about two well-meaning pretrib Christians who hit the wrong button in a time machine and come out in the middle of the tribulation, having missed the Rapture: “As the World Burns.”
A documentary on being slain in the Spirit: “Happy Daze.”
A game show starring a guy named Judas Iscariot: “Let’s Make a Deal.”
A somewhat irreverent cartoon series featuring a very strong but naughty boy: “The Sampsons.”
Then again, maybe America isn’t ready for that prime-time lineup, even during sweeps week. Until it is, consult your local listings. Check the 4:30 A.M. time slot.


Of all my pleasant memories from the Middle East, few are as important to me as Makhmud the shepherd. We became friends over several summers as he brought his large, broad-tailed sheep to graze near the site where we were excavating biblical Dothan. He embodied both the role and the character of a shepherd, caring for his flock as has been done for millennia in that part of the world.

He had a teachers’ heart; he did not mind the hundreds of questions I asked about such things as how he knew the needs of each sheep, what food was best, and how he dressed their wounds.

I even convinced him to give ...

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