Thursday, April 13, 2006

In Nod-to-God Season, What Gets Covered, Or Here's a Game to Play This Season

In the previous Nod-to-God season, we recalled an article from the Christian Century on topoi (i.e. established, recurring story forms) in the reporting of religion in the press. Gentle reader and commando reference librarian Scott promptly sent us a link to the article in full-text format for those with access to the ATLA full-text service (CCU faculty, staff and students, that's you, but please consult with library staff for technical help on accessing the article from the link; others may not be so lucky unless they have library access at a subscribing library). The article was entitled "How religion Makes the News: Conventions of Reporting" by Mark Silk of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It's worth a read.

So as the Gospel of Judas and other issues are heating up just before Easter, we supply to all of our gentle readers the list, cited by Silk from an earlier article on the coverage of religion, as a way of contemplating what you read.

Here are, per Peter Steinfels, senior religion writer for the NY Times in 1993, the list of Basic Religion Stories (quoting from Silk):

  • Religious leader reveals feet of clay (or turns out to be a scoundrel).
  • Ancient faith struggles to adjust to modern times.
  • Scholars challenge longstanding beliefs.
  • Interfaith harmony overcomes inherited enmity.
  • New translation of sacred scripture sounds funny.
  • Devoted members of a zealous religious group turn out to be warm, ordinary folk.

There's the definitive list. Now here's the game.

This Easter season, count the stories about Christianity that you read or hear. Categories each by topos. Keep score. Post your totals as a comment to this article. We'll calculate the grand total and declare a winning category sometime next week. The winning category will receive eternal glory through posting on this blog.


Kevin K said...

I guess I'm first.

I read an online article about Epsicopal churches across the country using the songs of U2 to increase attendance. Closest catagory I could find was Ancient faith struggles to adjust to modern times.

Not a "story" on Christianity, but I am curious to know what you think about the billboards promoting a local talk show host that were put up recently. You should have seen one on your way home from church.

Shouldn't that be categorize each by topos? :-)

Happy Ressurection Day to the SWNID family.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't that be "Resurrection" not "Ressurection"?

Now for that colloquialism about pots and kettles...

Rustypants said...

there's this article in the washington post today about the literal view of the resurrection. this could fall under scholars challenging longheld beliefs. maybe ancient faith...?

regarding the billboards kevin mentioned: i saw the "GOD LISTENS" portion last week (before the added line at the bottom) and said to my wife, "it's WEBN - wanna bet $5?" needless to say, she took her $5 in crisp singles.

sadly, i have no opinion about the use of God to promote 700 WLW. he's been used to promote worse things. and frankly, taken simply as a statement, they're right.

Kevin K said...

Indeed it should.

There were several spelling errors I as was typing this post. I missed that one when I was making corrections.

Rustypants said...

how about this one? ancient faith category.