It's Respect an Evangelical Day!
Later today, Weblog will comb through the weekend's religion stories, discovering what's been happening the last few days in the religion world. Already, there's indications that it was a relatively busy weekend—at least 18 people are dead in fresh Christian-Muslim violence in Indonesia's Maluku islands, and there was lots of religion talk over at the D.C. abortion demonstrations.
But this weekend was also significant for something that we evangelicals—like everyone else—love to do: hearing what others are saying about us. Tony Campolo and other evangelicals have talked about a kind of inferiority complex in the movement. Christian leaders have often been driven by a quest for cultural respectability and acceptance. A few years ago, it was common to hear parachurch and advocacy organizations pushing for "a seat at the table."
Two major articles in the mainstream media this weekend touch on precisely those issues of cultural respect—but evangelicals may not like the conclusions.
The first item is noteworthy not just for its content, but for its authorship. "Nearer My God To Thee," in the new issue of U.S. News & World Report, marks the return of Jeff Sheler's byline to that magazine's pages (he was laid off about a year ago, and Jay Tolson has been writing most of the publication's few religion stories since then). Since Sheler is also a contributor to PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, which collaborated with U.S. News on this major survey of evangelicals, it's not too surprising to see him as the magazine's author for the piece. One hopes to see his byline on more articles.
"Despite the booming popularity of evangelical artists and authors, evangelicals themselves remain an enigma to many outside ...1
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