Citing two recent examples of unusually attentive and nuanced reporting on religion, Nick Street ponders the future of the field and what the absence of Peter Steinfels might mean for it:

Steinfels’ bittersweet reflection on his two decades as “Beliefs” columnist at the New York Times is better at begging questions than evoking nostalgia. Does the nation’s paper of record have plans to replace the cerebral, institutionally oriented Steinfels with someone who can see religiosity in less conventional ways and in less conventional places? Or will the Times bank the money it saves and thereby succumb to one of the most dismaying trends in our unmoored profession? At a time when religious movements are more deeply connected to urgent social developments and less closely identified with traditional institutions, the very news organizations that should be helping us untangle these knots are doing a poorer job of covering religion.

Two recent stories stand out because they highlight the close connection between religiosity and issues like globalization and the struggles of economically marginalized communities. And because stories about religion so rarely make these connections (or rarely make them so well), both are worth noting.

Continue reading at USC’s Trans/Missions.