tornadoes

Friday Five: Tornadoes, Tim Conway's faith, weekend reading list, parents' grief, GOT spoilers

Friday Five: Tornadoes, Tim Conway's faith, weekend reading list, parents' grief, GOT spoilers

Hey folks, it’s been one of those weeks.

Between severe weather warnings here in Oklahoma (aka Tornado Alley) and working on press week deadline at my regular job (The Christian Chronicle), I’ve missed as much religion news as I’ve caught. But I do have a holiday weekend reading list that I’ll share with you.

Speaking of tornadoes, a truck driver caught in the big one in Jefferson City, Mo., credited God with saving him, according to CNN. (There might be a holy ghost or two there.)

Anyway, let’s dive into the preoccupied edition of Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: See earlier caveat, but no single major religion headline really stood out to me this week.

That said, my colleagues here at GetReligion covered a whole lot of interesting territory, as always. That includes — just to cite a few examples:

Richard Ostling exploring the idea of an evangelical crisis.

Julia Duin pointing out another case of the Los Angeles Times suffering from a lack of religion reporting expertise.

And Clemente Lisi highlighting the collision between nationalism and Catholicism in the run-up to European elections.

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God in the rubble: Look for strong faith angle in aftermath of killer Alabama tornado

God in the rubble: Look for strong faith angle in aftermath of killer Alabama tornado

When a disaster strikes a Bible Belt location, it’s no surprise when faith reveals itself in the aftermath.

We saw it after major hurricanes last fall.

Already, we’re seeing it again in the spot-news coverage of the tornado that devastated a rural Alabama community on Sunday.

The Associated Press’ main report on the tornado that killed at least 23 people in Beauregard, Ala., contains three strong references to religion.

The first:

“I’m still thanking God I’m among the living,” said John Jones, who has lived most of his life in Beauregard, an unincorporated community of roughly 10,000 people about 60 miles east of Montgomery near the Georgia state line.

The second:

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Talking Dallas, twisters, theodicy and the Book of Job -- from one theological perspective

Talking Dallas, twisters, theodicy and the Book of Job -- from one theological perspective

Spring is approaching in the Sunbelt, which means one thing to people in places like North Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Western Tennessee.

Here come the tornadoes.

As someone who was a child in Wichita Falls on April 3, 1964 (and several other relevant dates), I know quite a bit about the astonishing, random, mysterious power of twisters. If you were looking for a natural phenomenon that can jump start a debate about "theodicy" -- the technical term for "God in the dock" arguments about good and evil -- a tornado will do the trick.

What does it mean when a twister destroys a neighborhood and leaves a church standing? What does it mean when the church is destroyed, as well? No, I don't think this is a denominational thing.

To cut to the chase, I was glad when The Dallas Morning News did something interesting the other day, offering a question-and-answer piece that ran with this headline: "Texas Faith: How a loving God can permit killer tornadoes." It's well worth the time and raises some interesting questions and hints at ONE TAKE on some answers. Hold that thought.

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