Evangelicals corner the market on magazines, says columnist

"Why is it often so hard to find good magazines for the mainline Protestants and Catholics who constitute America's religious majority?" asks Winifred Gallagher, religion magazine "expert" for Contentville.com. "Many large newsstands carry journals for just one group of Christians: Evangelicals, in other words fervent, proselytizing, born-again believers, most of whom are political and theological conservatives." In case you haven't picked it up, she thinks that's a bad thing. ChristianityToday.com Weblog won't take the time to pick apart all of her assertion that "most churchgoers are actually moderate Catholics and so-called mainline Protestants … who feel increasingly underrepresented in the national discourse on 'religious issues'" but readers should know that Gallagher herself has pegged evangelicals at a whopping 40 percent of the U.S. population. Back to her magazine assertion: "There's no shortage of journals that reflect the kinder, gentler Christian perspective, including Weavings, Sojourners, Commonweal, Reimagining, The Christian Century, CrossCurrents, Context, and America. So why do these magazines have such a low profile? Perhaps it's time for America's spiritual 'silent majority' to confront its odd mix of complacency and diffidence—and support thoughtful religious journalism as do the readers of influential and accessible publications such as the Jewish Tikkun, the Buddhist Tricycle—and the Evangelical Christianity Today." Thanks for the compliment, but the editors of Christianity Today can rarely find our magazine on racks (though, to be honest, we don't really pursue rack sales). In fact, we find it's much more common to find the magazines Gallagher mentions than evangelical ones. (What's been your experience? Can you find the thoughtful religious journalism you want at your local magazine rack?) Finally, one last comment for this "magazine expert": CrossCurrents isn't a kinder, gentler Christian perspective and hasn't been for a while. That is unless your definition of Christian is broad enough to include articles like "Contemporary Spirituality and the Thinning of the Sacred: A Hindu Perspective," "How I Became a Jewish Postmodernist Feminist," and "How Zen Found Me." Kinder and gentler indeed.

Chinese authorities arrest 81-year-old Catholic bishop

On Thursday, police arrested Zeng Jingmu, Roman Catholic bishop of Yu Jiang, in eastern China's Jiangxi province. The U.S. State Department says it is " deeply disturbed" by the arrest.

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Protestants are taking the Olympic gold

"Since the first Games of the modern Olympiad, athletes from predominantly Protestant countries have significantly outperformed those from countries where Protestants are in a minority," writes Chris McGillion in the Sydney Morning Herald. "Between 1896 and 1956, for instance, Protestant countries were three to four times more successful in Olympic competition than Catholic countries. In the past 104 years, Protestant countries have won more than half the medals overall." The reason? The famous Protestant work ethic. "Protestantism … has been able to impress upon its adherents a need to achieve, not waste time, and to import this ethic into all aspects of their lives," writes McGillion, the paper's religion columnist. "As a result, Protestant countries strive to win and their success can't help but have a contagious effect on the nature of competition."

Pope John Paul II becomes eighth-longest to hold post

On Sunday, Pope John Paul II had served as pontiff for 21 years, 11 months, and 1 day—surpassing Pope Sylvester I (see also the Catholic Encyclopedia's Sylvester entry).

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