Evidence of Jesus' existence now has crack through it
The limestone box that once held the bones of "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," survived in Israel for 1,939 years. But only two weeks after its existence was made known to the world, the limestone box sustained what is being called "very serious damage."

Somewhere between Israel and Canada—the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is displaying the ossuary from next week through the end of the year—cracks formed and widened on the box. One even runs through the box's inscription (photo), which is being called the earliest extra-textual evidence for Jesus' existence.

"In transit there must have been further impact to the piece, or some kind of damage … we can't really tell, but incipient cracks grew and other cracks appeared," Dan Rahimi, the Royal Ontario Museum's director of collections management, told a news conference. "The box was badly damaged, but still intact. It has not broken. … It's very serious damage, but not unusual for a limestone box of this age."

The museum has pitched two repair ideas to the ossuary's owner. "Both proposals involve injecting adhesive into the cracks with pigment that will fill in parts of the cracks and consolidate the piece," Rahimi said.

One item of trivia that has come out of this report is the estimated value of the ossuary: $2 million. The owner bought it in the 1970s for a few hundred bucks.

The Sunday school teacher who helped to stop the snipers
"Dominant-media-culture journalism has explored the role of prayer in health care—but the role of prayer in capturing criminals?" writes Timothy Lamer in this week's issue of World magazine. The subject, of course, is trucker Ron Lantz's role in the capture of sniper suspects John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo.

Actually, there are several media reports of Lantz's actions—both on his knees and at the rest stop where the sniper suspects were captured. One of the more notable ones is Brendan Miniter's column in today's Wall Street Journal.

"Mr. Lantz offers us a simple but powerful story, one that reveals an underlying strength in American society that the media often neglect: Religious character matters," Miniter writes. He notes that Lantz, who teaches Sunday school, feeds the hungry, and directs the men's ministry at Central Church of the Nazarene in Fort Wright, Kentucky, shares similar characteristics with Flight 93 hero Todd Beamer, who prayed the Lord's Prayer before stopping the plane's hijackers. "Perhaps there's a reason that again and again it is the Sunday school teachers who are helping deliver us from evil," Miniter says.

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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