Almost as repetitive is finding that one news hook that every news outlet hangs their coverage on. This year it was the calendrical coincidence that Western and Eastern churches celebrated Easter on the same day (usually, because Orthodox use the Julian calendar and Western churches use the Gregorian calendar, they are weeks apart). The anomaly ran on the front page of the Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, and many other papers (The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and others also ran the story.) The articles were interesting and well-reported, but it's not like East and West celebrating Easter on the same date is some kind of miracle. It happens about every four years. Granted, it hasn't happened since 1990, but it will swing around again in 2005. If you want to freak out the ecumenists, point out that after A.D. 2700, the Gregorian and Julian calendars will be so off from each other that East and West will never celebrate on the same date. But obviously we've got some time before that happens. In the meantime, it's not like Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants are really celebrating together anyway.
There are a few interesting commentaries out there. At The Times, Evangelical Alliance UK theological adviser David Hilborn laments, "This Easter, more churchgoers will believe in reincarnation than ever before. … Surveys in Britain and the US suggest that up to one fifth of those who declare 'Jesus is Risen' tomorrow will expect to overcome death not so much through God's raising of bodies to eternal glory, as by the transmigration of souls from one body to another." Australia is still filling its papers with articles about the ban—and revocation of the ban—on showing TheExorcist on Good Friday.
There are a few uninteresting commentaries, too. Some seem to think the point of Easter isn't God's reconciliation with us through the death and resurrection of his Son, but the reconciliation of us with each other—at any cost. The Washington Post's Colbert I. King calls Hylton Memorial Chapel's decision to not allow an interfaith baccalaureate service "an un-Easter moment." The chapel didn't want Jewish and Muslim prayers coming from its pulpit, which King calls "a decision made by people too small to see that members of other faiths can be on religious journeys of their own; too self-absorbed to recognize that those rejected may be in search of peace and grace themselves." Whatever. Meanwhile, Andrew M Greeley writes yet another article on reconciliation between the Roman Catholic Church and Jews, this time with a tangential Easter theme.
If there was big Easter news over the weekend, it was the controversy over Johnny Hart's B.C. comic strip. After the Jewish Defense League complained that the strip's Easter installment was anti-Jewish (it used a menorah to discussed Christ's last words), several papers pulled the strip. Others ran lengthy disclaimers. Several papers commented on the hubbub, because the media loves to report on itself. There's no better Easter story than one that hits close to home.
And, for all the Easter-related news mentioned above, the ones that will probably continue to trickle into Weblog this week, and the ones we'll never get to, the really big story is that Jesus Christ, the very son of God, died for our sins and conquered sin and death through his resurrection. That is a story that truly hits close to home.
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