Get Religion may get a lot about religion and they may get a lot about the media, but only at a level of consciousness which numbs the mind of an Integral journalist such as myself. I’ve been reading the Terry Mattingly-helmed publication on and off since its very debut, mostly off in recent years to speak the truth. But that’s about to change if my latest experiment in the blogosphere, World Spirituality Post, becomes the blog that it could be.
After one season in which I could hardly find a Get Religion post to praise, Terry himself once called me a “heckler.” So now I heckle again, though I prefer to call it harmless criticism and praise. The reason I praise is simple: when I want to learn who is saying what about an important occasion in world spirituality — say, Rick Warren returning to preaching for the first time after the death of his 27-year-old son from suicide — I turn to them.
Get Religion has a schtick, and I use the term lovingly because it’s appropriate. I said so in my 2007 blog post on Ken-Wilber.com on religious journalism. They analyze news media to find the religious ghosts. And by “ghosts” they don’t mean Holy Ghost, they mean the ways in which religion isn’t being portrayed quite the way religious conservatives would like to see it portrayed: as a system of meaning with doctrinal truths which because they are believed have real life consequences and therefore the doctrines must be faithfully represented and explained theologically order to ascertain the real significance of the news event. “The media just doesn’t get religion!” they say; it’s their signature.
There will be much more time to comment on Get Religion. It’s just disappointing to me to come back to their site and see that their schtick hasn’t changed in a decade. “Results vary as media follows Rick Warren’s return” by Bobby Ross Jr. is rote for them, and judging from their links to other coverage it’s also rote for the rest of the media covering Rick Warren. For one thing, nobody asks the parent of a suicide victim “why?”, even if they are a world famous preacher with fire in the belly, especially not the mainstream media or Get Religion. No ghosts there.
About Rick Warren, the story about his son’s suicide moves me more deeply than I can say at this time. My heart goes out to him and his family at this time of unbelievable heartache. I pray that Pastor Warren’s teaching is moved in transformational ways.
Photo Credit: RickWarren.com