For the past several months I have spent several hours of most days on the web searching for news items that might be of interest to readers of The Aquila Report. While I wish there was enough news coming from our various denominations, churches, ministries and members each day (and I suspect there is more out there than I am finding!), the truth is, to maintain a web magazine we need to broaden our search.
It is my working assumption that while we love stuff about ourselves, we need to know more about other Christian communities that might not neatly fit in our family – and particularly we need to know about the interaction of religion and faith both in the U .S. and around the world.
Many of the stories I find are no-brainers: I already know our readers will enjoy them. But there are others that I might bypass except for two keys that I have discovered.
Key number one is the Google News sorting process. Once there is a major story out there, Google News will start pooling it in one big link. For instance, the Fort Hood massacre story has had more than 13,000 different articles on the web in the past month. That’s big time.
The recent focus on HIV/AIDS has brought about over 3,000 articles in the past week. The climate control scam stories are over 1,300 and the ‘science and religion’ stories have grown to over 1,000 in that same week.
By measure, the same-sex-marriage stories are well under 1,000 in that same time frame. I would have suspected they would be much higher.
But the biggest surprise to me – and the reason I am looking for a new story on the topic each day now – is the vote to ban new construction of Minarets in Switzerland. That has resulted in nearly 2,500 stories in just the past week.
So, the Google News counts are one key for where I should be looking each day.
The second key is to find some trusted sources. I won’t bore you with the list I have complied but those of you who are on the web regularly most likely have your own lists. (If you do, and you think I should know about any of them, send me a link!)
But today I discovered a new source – one I found by running a search on Tim Keller’s name. It is The Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.
Their masthead tells us that they want to promote a better understanding of the role of religion in public life. This website exists (they say):
– To promote and communicate high quality research and reflection in the field of religion and its contribution to public life
– To facilitate dialogue between religious groups of any faith and among such groups and public institutions
Additional tags explain:
– The Oxford Centre is built on 25 years of research and education by The International fellowship of Evangelical Mission Theologians
– The Oxford Centre exists to equip public intellectuals, analysts and professionals to recognize and value the contributions of religion to public life
One of their projects is a secondary website called GetReligion.org. The tag line reads: “The Press….just doesn’t get religion”. (Duh!)
Following is a link to the article on that website this morning – the one I found with the Tim Keller search. I’ll let you read it in situ: please click here.