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Pilot's Evangelistic Efforts Freak Out Passengers, Country

Plus: Far too many stories on Passion, along with some on crime (but none on crimes of passion).

Guess who scored the interview with the Christian airline pilot?
On his first flight after a short-term missions trip to Costa Rica, American Airlines captain Roger Findiesen flipped on the Public Address system in the cabin and explained that flight 34 was second in line for takeoff. Then he continued on a personal note.

"I just got back from a mission," he said. "You know, they say about half of Americans are Christians. I'd just like the Christians on board to raise their hands." After a pause, he went on.

"I want everyone else on board to look around at how crazy these people are," he said jokingly. "Make good use of [the flight], or you can read your paper and watch the movie."

This caused some passengers to think they were going to die.

"Just given the history of what's happened on planes in this country, anything can happen at this point," Karla Austin told CNN yesterday. "So we weren't sure if something was going to happen at takeoff, if he was going to wait until [John F. Kennedy Airport] to do something. But there was definitely implication there that we felt that something was going to happen."

Austin said that several passengers grabbed their mobile phones or the on-plane phones after the announcement. She also claimed that it wasn't the Christians that Findiesen called crazy, but the non-Christians. Once the plane landed, Austin said, she told the pilot that "he ought to be ashamed of himself."

Apparently she wasn't the only angry passenger. About 45 minutes into the flight, Findiesen came on the PA system again. "I want to apologize for my comments earlier," he said, according to passenger Jen Dorsey. "I think I really threw the flight crew off a little bit, and they are getting a lot of flack for the things I said. ...

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Weblog
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 managing editor for news and online journalism. 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.
Previous Weblog Columns:
July/August
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