In the incarnation, life,
death and resurrection of Christ we see that God is so for us and with us that
we can no longer be defined according to death, a religion-based worthiness
system or even the categories of late-stage capitalism.
Occasionally the Century editors sit down to talk with experts in magazine
marketing. They sometimes tells us that we need to do more with
celebrities--feature a celebrity on the cover of the magazine, for example.
No, they're not pressing us to feature Brad Pitt
or Lindsay Lohan. What they have in mind is featuring the celebrities of our world, that is, the celebrities of
the mainline Protestant world.
We usually respond: "But mainline Protestants
don't really have celebrities." When the experts look doubtful, the editors
look at one another. "Well, we might come up with a few living semi-celebrities--but that would take
care of only two months worth of covers."
weekend, ESPN fired an editor who posted
a racially offensive
headline about NBA player Jeremy Lin; the
network also suspended an anchor who used the same term. And taking the Lin
coverage as a starting point, SNL produced a parody mocking a media double standard: stereotypes about Asian
Americans are acceptable, but stereotypes about African Americans are
Lin media storm exposes the myth of a colorblind society. As much as we want to
believe in meritocracy, equality and individuality, we rely on racial
assumptions to make sense of the world and those around us. In many cases, the
assumptions carry real consequences.
About 15 years
ago I was a guest at the annual meeting of theAssociation of Christians Teaching Sociology. In one session a professor reported on a
student's project. Taking the Century as a barometer of mainline Protestantism and Christianity Today as a barometer of evangelicalism, his student
compared the respective responses to the civil rights movement. The student
found that the Century was very hospitable toward the movement and that CT was critical of
it. (Full disclosure: At the time of this ACTS meeting, I was working for
Since ACTS is comprised
largely of evangelical scholars, there was some hanging of heads in the room.
Evangelicals, they agreed, had been on the wrong side of history, not to speak
of the wrong side of justice.