Last Sunday's Meet the Press featured a panel of prominent Christian spokesmen discussing religion in America. It was a bit surprising that the panel included Al Sharpton, and it was a bit disappointing that Jerry Falwell was more overbearing and combative than he needed to be. The others on Tim Russert's panel, Jim Wallis of Sojourners and Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, comported themselves well, but Falwell and Sharpton were, each in his own way, less than what one would have hoped. I wondered why, given all of the outstanding evangelical thinkers out there, the networks always seem to draw on the same cast of characters when they want someone to speak on behalf of Christianity.
Apparently, David Brooks of the New York Times thought the same thing. He has a remarkable piece on the evangelical he would most like to see on television instead of the usual lineup of Falwellians and Robertsonians, and various clergy who are in one way or another controversial or disaffected. You'll probably think his column (free subscription required) is the more remarkable because Brooks himself is Jewish.
Since our readers may not have the time to fill out the subscription form we offer the Brooks column to you here:
It may be years before we again get to see such a positive piece about an evangelical Christian theologian in the pages of the New York Times. Indeed, we wonder how many Times readers will be canceling their subscriptions because such an overtly sympathetic essay about such a manifestly fine Christian was allowed to grace its op/ed page.