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Comments: Week of December 14, 2009

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1. Joseph Hooper’s profile of Pastor Tim Keller and the growing Redeemer Presbyterian Church he preaches to in Manhattan ( “Tim Keller Wants to Save Your Yuppie Soul,” December 7) generated a passionate and strikingly wide-ranging discussion. “It’s amazing to me that the Gospel can be preached in New York and New Yorkers are responding to it,” wrote Michele McGinty on her blog at beliefnet.com . “They may not like everything they hear (as the journalist notes), but they are at least giving the message a fair hearing. If jaded New Yorkers haven’t rejected the message, then there must be something of value in it.” Not everyone was so credulous. “New York Magazine ran this piece reporting on what is actually a fringe phenomenon in the city. Of course there are people here lost, confused, weak-minded, etc., who will grasp at metaphysical nonsense,” groused one commenter at nymag.com. “Others go running naked in the Poconos. The only proper reaction to this article from a self-respecting New Yorker is a slap to one’s forehead followed by fingers down the throat.” Members of Redeemer also posted about their experiences with the church. “Tim Keller is an intellectual giant. He speaks to educated, intellectual New Yorkers because, frankly, upon hearing him, you know he’s smarter than you are,” wrote one parishioner who has attended for ten years. “Frustrated New Yorkers seize the issues in a weak attempt to somehow discredit Keller. They fail. Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding, and Redeemer is growing by leaps and bounds.” Another spoke less glowingly about a period spent within the church: “Tim Keller is a very gifted pastor. I went to Redeemer for a few years, and ultimately learned that their hard-line conservative views were not aligned with my beliefs about what Jesus is about: love. I witnessed serious judgments against loved ones and beyond by people I had come to see as my friends. I believe that Keller’s heart is in the right place, and I think Redeemer does good things for a lot of people in this city. I just hope people aren’t closing their minds because of its conservative slant.”


2. “This is definitely one of the most honest articles that covers abortion I have read,” wrote one nymag.com commenter about Jennifer Senior’s examination of America’s ambivalent feelings about abortion ( “The Abortion Distortion,” December 7). A handful of readers wrote in to agree, although it should be noted that the vast majority of commenters descended into familiar talking points and accusations of misunderstanding. To wit: “The reason people seem to be surprised that pro-lifers have such a strong presence is because of the fact that we’re not all the uneducated Southerners people seem to think we are.” And: “The anti-abortion camp almost always characterizes anyone who supports the right to choose as someone who is somehow ‘pro-abortion.’ ” Some commenters wanted to engage with aspects of the abortion debate they believed weren’t adequately addressed, either in the article or the discussion. “I wondered why adoption was not mentioned at all,” said one. “Why do people gloss over the women who discover terrible fetal anomalies?” asked another. One commenter, who identified herself as an abortion counselor, wrote, “The writer did manage to present the subtleties of the issue quite well. The principal case presented does not want to have another child with ‘no dad,’ yet she does not want an abortion either. And that’s the crux of it! No woman wants an abortion, yet a million have them, every year.

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