Bishop John Shelby Spong

Believe it or not: The New York Times has quietly returned to its 'Jesus is dead' theme

Believe it or not: The New York Times has quietly returned to its 'Jesus is dead' theme

Let's start with a flashback.

Perhaps you remember a 2014 piece at The Federalist by one M.Z. "GetReligion emerita" Hemingway that ran with the headline, "Will Someone Explain Christianity To The New York Times?"

It focused on a travel piece that, once corrected, included the following material about tourism in the tense city of Jerusalem. The crucial passage stated:

On a recent afternoon in the Old City of Jerusalem, while fighting raged in Gaza, Bilal Abu Khalaf hosted a group of Israeli tourists at his textile store in the Christian Quarter -- one of Jerusalem’s tourist gems.
Dressed in a striped galabiyya and tasseled red tarbouche, Mr. Abu Khalaf showed his visitors exotic hand-loomed silks and golden-threaded garments from Syria, Morocco and Kashmir that adorn Israel’s most luxurious hotels and ambassadors’ homes. ...
Nearby, the vast Church of the Holy Sepulcher marking the site where many Christians believe that Jesus was buried, usually packed with pilgrims, was echoing and empty.

Yes, that was what the Times piece said after it was corrected. What did it say before that? Believe it or not, it said, "Nearby, the vast Church of the Holy Sepulcher marking the site where many Christians believe that Jesus is buried, usually packed with pilgrims, was echoing and empty."

In this case, it's easy to discern what the meaning of the word "is" is.

Hold that thought.

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Rumors of the death of the Anglican Communion are premature, but relevant?

Rumors of the death of the Anglican Communion are premature, but relevant?

Once again we return to the media myth that the doctrinal wars in the Anglican Communion were caused by the 2003 election of the first openly gay and noncelibate bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church, the tiny Diocese of New Hampshire, to be specific.

Yes, it would make religion writers' lives much easier if that were true. 

However, sometimes professionals who write about complicated news events have to wrestle with complicated information that may require -- brace yourselves -- the addition of an entire sentence or two of background in a news story. It may even require talking about doctrinal issues other than those directly linked to sexuality.

So, once again, let us return to what your GetReligionistas have long called "Anglican timeline disease." The latest episode is linked to the announcement by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby that he is inviting 37 archbishops -- note the specific number -- to a January meeting that he will host to "discuss key issues face to face, including a review of the structures of the Anglican Communion."

This news led to waves of speculation, followed by a truly fascinating tweet from the Lambeth Palace press office. The following was not taken from The Onion:

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