When I wrote a post about Lost Christianities yesterday, a funny anecdote occurred to me and I wondered if I had ever written a post on it.  Yup, in 2012!  It’s worth repeating.  It has to do with Time Magazine (though it starts with Newsweek).  This was back when people used to actually get these things in the mail, in the Pleistocene Age, and they were therefore a bit of a bigger deal.

Here’s the post, from nine years ago.


Yesterday I learned that a story I wrote for Newsweek on the birth of Jesus was made the cover story this week. It’s kind of a goofy cover, but hey, I had nothing to do with that! The issue is now available. Get ‘em while they’re hot.

I want to reflect for a second on the cover story of a news magazine. I never realized it before getting involved with that (very strange) world, although it makes good sense once you think about it, but they really can’t decide on what goes on the cover until the very last second, in case something really BIG happens. As I found out in a very amusing way nine years ago at this time.

In December of 2003 I had been working with the religion editor at Time magazine, David Van Biema, who really liked my book Lost Christianities, and wrote a long story about it, focusing on the Lost Gospels.   This was a crazy period for news — the second Iraq war had been going on for a while, Saddam Hussein was on the run, and as usual there were lots of important news stories just on American soil  Still, for a couple of weeks van Biema had been telling me that he was hoping that they would make it the cover story.  Closer to the date

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