I scan a lot of newspapers from Denver to points west and there are a quite a few that seem to avoid religion like the plague.
One is the Eugene (Ore.) Register Guard. Another is the Arizona Republic which has yet to cover the fact that the former (and disgraced) Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll has relocated from Seattle to Phoenix and started a church there on Easter. A third is the Albuquerque (NM) Journal, where the religion coverage gives new meaning to the word “minimalist.” I’ve been watching this publication for more than 20 years and it never fails to disappoint.
Now, please understand that I’ve lived in Oregon and New Mexico, and I know there are vibrant faith communities in each state -- but you wouldn’t know it from reading these newspapers. Then this past weekend, the Journal ran an article on a University of New Mexico graduate, her family’s move from Pakistan and her decision to give up a more prestigious college to care for her dying mother.
Is there a religion ghost that is hidden, or at least buried, in this story?
A tensile strength burns through Yalda Barlas in a combustion of grief and loss.
Now 22 and about to enter the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Yalda somehow plowed through a double major in biology and chemistry, worked as a tutor and nursed her mother at home until her 2013 death from colon cancer.
Her mother Shasiqa told her she got her “smart genes” from her dad.
The father she resembles was killed by the Taliban 19 years ago.