Last week’s “Is God Dead — Hell, No” cover generated some intriguing comments. First came a letter from a Franklin Park resident and small business owner:
The “Between The Lines” page of the recent U.S. 1 asked readers to comment on whether the cover choice, a replica of a Time cover with the title “Is God Dead?” did justice to the reporter’s story.
Respectfully, the cover in no way represented what was written. After reading the paper’s cover, I expected to hear about how God was moving in the lives of those in the local community. And how they were being affected by God’s involvement and how that in turn caused them to affect others. Is not this, at least in part, what the original Time article and later the Newsweek article addressed? Even if their conclusion was that God was no longer a priority in many people’s lives.
What I got instead was an article about local real estate projects.
Then we got the following letter, from a retired minister who, intrigued by the cover, picked up the paper.
My wife and I were in New Brunswick with our seven-year-old granddaughter when I read the April 4 U.S. 1. The TIME covers — 1. “Is God Dead?” and 2. “Hell No!” — evoked these responses:
1. The humorous response to the question, “How do you get holy water?” You boil the hell out of it.” One of the most memorable depictions I have seen of Jesus is “The Laughing Jesus” that I first saw while visiting the Philippines. We have not appreciated the gift of humor nearly enough in our spiritual journeys. Your “Hell No!” TIME cover is refreshing.
2. It was good to see among the listings of religious/faith/spiritual groups the Princeton Meditation Group. I know nothing about the group, but as a retired United Methodist clergyman after 45 years in the active ministry, I believe the 21st century compels us to pay greater attention to groups that are outside our traditional religious groupings. Often they comprehend aspects of our respective traditions that we have forgotten or overlooked.
The story that prompted this response and your cover were both creative and provocative. I particularly would like to get to know Rev. Ken Smith of Princeton Presbyterian Church. His commitment to diversity is of particular interest. If you would, let him know of my interest. Thank you.
Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell
Asbury Park, NJ
Finally, we got an E-mail from Sue Parris, a reader in West Windsor, who alerted us to a recent obituary in the New York Times, recounting the life of William Hamilton, the previously obscure theology professor who was at the center of the 1966 Time magazine “Is God Dead?” cover story.
These collective spirits have moved our editor to pontificate on the subject. See page 42.