Today's Top Five

1. What can Brown do for your faith?
The most interesting press release Weblog has seen on The Da Vinci Code comes from Carlton Pearson, the Pentecostal preacher whose megachurch went bust after he started preaching universalism. "The panic of the religious right is obvious in their knee-jerk reaction to The Da Vinci Code or to anything else that challenges their often idolatrous traditions," Pearson says. "What is the difference between the Christian response to The Da Vinci Code and the Islamic world's response to Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses?"

Well, for one thing, "religious right" leaders seem to be telling Christians to "engage the culture" by watching the movie. Oh, and then there's the whole not calling for the death of Dan Brown thing.

Incidentally, it's in the Islamic world, not the area formerly known as Christendom, where the film is actually being banned. That doesn't stop Movieguide's Ted Baehr from telling readers that the movie is a Muslim scheme: "If Christians pay to go see Ron Howard's movie based on the book, they will be paying Mohammed to attack Jesus Christ and His Church."

What Weblog doesn't quite understand is the use of the term boycott in talking about one particular movie. Is saying "don't see this movie" or "this movie stinks" the same as calling for a boycott? If so, then why are critics described as "panning" the film but pastors and bishops are "calling for a boycott"? And is choosing not to see a film the same as taking part in a boycott? Because I'm not reading a lot about the big R.V. and Just My Luck boycotts. And if it's a boycott to refuse to see a film, what do you call Sony's refusal to let people who want to see the film (namely film critics who aren't in Cannes) do ...

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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 editorial director. 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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