So some may be wondering – what’s the fuss over the article? Is Bryan making a mountain out of a molehill? Does anyone even read the Record-Eagle? Is he always this whiny?
All good questions.
So let me explain just a bit… (indulge me – I have to get this off my chest. For therapy.)
I wrote an article entitled: “Is God Dead?” for Holy Saturday. The day Jesus is in the tomb, the day between Good Friday and Easter. A day of sadness. Of wondering. Of hoping. A day when such a question is appropriate to be asked.
I was really excited that our local newspaper was going to print this – on Holy Saturday. Perfect. The editor seemed genuinely excited as well. My excitement in large part was over the title I had chosen – a legitimate question, not only on this day, but in these days, when more and more people are questioning the religious faith that they grew up with. When more and more people are coming out as genuine atheists who don’t believe in God, and would answer the question in the affirmative.
In short, it was an article meant to draw in people from a number of perspectives, all with the opening provocative and serious question: “Is God Dead?”
My wife went and picked up a copy of the paper, and I ran to look at it when she walked in the door. I opened it up, and instead of my title, saw this:
“My God is Bigger and Better than our current view of Him.”
I was instantly deflated. Angry. Cheated.
I didn’t write that. I didn’t say that. I don’t like people who talk like that.
It might as well have said this:
If someone showed up to a Pub Theology gathering and began a sentence, “My God is bigger and better than yours…” I’m not even sure we would let them finish talking. I detest when people talk that way. But here is me, in print, looking to all the world to talk this way. Misrepresented to our entire community.
I am a member of the Area Council On Religious Diversity (ACORD). I can imagine my colleagues cringing when they saw the article. I can imagine area clergy seeing that headline and saying, “What a presumptuous little…” I can imagine others eating their Saturday breakfast opening up the paper and thinking, “Wow. Another fundamentalist. Great.”
In other words, the supplied headline gave exactly the opposite impression I was trying to make.
So you’ll have to forgive me for getting upset about this. I’m not trying to make it a bigger deal than it is. I really am not. It’s just that I feel like I’ve been insulted in front of our whole community, by me! It feels like slander, or worse.
OK, deep breath.
I do appreciate having a local newspaper where I can express my views. The Record-Eagle is a great source for local perspectives provided by local contributors. That’s where it’s value is, in my opinion, and I am honored that they allow me to contribute from time to time.
I just wish they had asked me first if they were going to change something – especially the most visible part of the article!
The article assumes the title. It is a different article without it. (But thanks to all who persevered to read it anyway!)
If they had asked, I would have been happy to suggest:
- Is God Dead? Grave Reflections for Holy Saturday
- Is God Dead? Exploring a legitimate question
- Is God Dead? Deconstructing our notions of the Divine
If they had only asked…
Words matter, and I guess next time I’ll consider just keeping them to myself.
There. That wasn’t so bad. I just needed to get this out of my system, so as one friend put it this morning, I can “let it go.”
I’ll do my best (or is it too late for that?) 🙂
(Clearly I am a broken, failing follower of Jesus. He surely would have just shrugged and moved on… though if they had titled his “Sermon on the Mount”, “Long-winded Blatherings that are Hard to Follow and Won’t End”, perhaps he would have struggled to turn the other cheek as well!)