The Door

The Wittenburg DoorI’m a former contributing editor for The
Wittenburg Door
, a bi-monthly of religious satire and commentary.

Here’s a list of my articles and features for The Wittenburg Door:

"Pinto and Maudlin," April/May 1987. This was my first piece in the magazine. It was a parody of a semi-regular feature of the magazine at the time, "Pietro and Madeleine," which I thought was a little pompous.

"In God We Antitrust," Jan./Feb. 1990.

"Holy Bible II," Jan./Feb. 1991

"The Case of the Contentious Carillon," Mar./Apr. 1991. This was a strongly-satirical news report about a real incident — a case in Nashville where neighbors of a church were suing it because its carillon was supposedly too loud.

"Genetic Shake ‘N’ Bake," Sept./Oct. 1991. (The version they now have online, which was posted in early 2005, is slightly edited and updated from what was in the magazine.)

"Sorry, Right Number," Nov./Dec. 1992.

"The Door Interview: Dr. Jim Young," Mar./Apr. 1993. My first interview to see publication in the magazine, after a failed first attempt with novelist Elizabeth Dewberry. The Door‘s Q-and-A format is quite different from what I do each day for the Times-Gazette, and it took some getting used to. Dr. Young was a drama professor at a Christian college, and I talked to him about the attitude of Christians towards the arts.

"The Door Interview: Dave Barry," Sept./Oct. 1993. I am not proud of this one. I was, and still am, a huge fan of Dave’s, and as a result I was self-conscious and didn’t do a very good interview. I also didn’t push hard enough for him to talk about some family situations which might have shed light on the supposed topic of the interview.

My favorite Dave Barry book is Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort Of History of the United States.

"Stories We’ve Heard Enough Of," Jan./Feb. 1995.

"Can You Sell This?" (co-author with Peter Smith), Sept./Oct. 1997.

"How Literal Are You?" May/June 1998.

"The Door Interview: Don Lattin," Sept./Oct. 1999.Don Lattin was the co-author with Richard P. Cimino of Shopping For Faith: American Religion In The New Millennium.

"The Door Interview: Nick Page," Sept./Oct. 1999. Page is the author of The Tabloid Bible, a wonderful book which pokes fun at tabloids while giving you a new outlook on how some well-known Bible stories might have been reported (or mis-reported) by cheesy British newspapers.

"The Door Interview: Chris Harper," Sept./Oct. 2000. Harper is the creator of the Landover Baptist Church web site, a parody of a super-fundamentalist, ultra-right-wing megachurch. Harper’s site sometimes makes The Door look like Guideposts, but I found him to be thoughtful and concerned.

"The Door Interview: Dr. Christine Pohl," Nov./Dec. 2001. Dr. Pohl is the author of Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, which examines how hospitality — once a cornerstone of the faith — has
changed over the years, and what we might do to re-capture it given the realities of modern life.

"Little-noted moments in Religious History," Jan./Feb. 2002.

"The Door Interview: Dr. Sara Dunne," Sept./Oct. 2002. Dr. Dunne teaches at Middle Tennessee State University and has taught and written about the role of humor in popular culture.

"The Door Interview: S. Brent Plate," Jan./Feb. 2003. Plate is the author of Religion, Art & Visual Culture: A Cross-Cultural Reader. He spoke with me about the way that religious imagery has drawn the wrath of religious leaders throughout history.

"The Door Interview: ‘The Reverend’ Brendan Smith," July/Aug. 2003. Smith isn’t really a clergyman, but he is the creator of The Brick Testament, which depicts Bible scenes using Lego blocks — sometimes in disturbing or provocative fashion. UPDATE: The Brick Testament is now available in book form!

"The Door Interview: Michael Graham," Sept. / Oct. 2003. Graham, a standup comedian-turned-Republican talk show host, is a favorite guest of Bill Maher’s and was a contemporary of mine at Oral Roberts University. He discusses his book Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War.

"The Door Interview: Rev. Larry Rice," July / August 2004. Rev. Rice runs various ministries in and around St. Louis, Mo., including a string of not-for-profit TV stations. Troubled by some of the "prosperity gospel" televangelists, he decided to drop them from his stations, in spite of the loss of revenue to benefit his other ministries.

"A Man And A Door: Remembering Mike Yaconelli," January / February 2005. To celebrate the magazine’s name change back to "The Wittenburg Door," I was asked to write a tribute to the magazine’s founder, the late Mike Yaconelli. I interviewed Mike’s widow Karla and two of his collaborators from the early days of the magazine, C. McNair Wilson and Ben Patterson.

"It’s All in the Retails," March / April 2005.

"The Door Interview: Brad Abare and Kevin Hendricks," Online Extra, April 2005. Brad and Kevin are the creators of the web site Church Marketing Sucks.

"Zoning Laws Illegal in Church Display," Nov. / Dec. 2005.

"New Trends In Church Design," Jan. / Feb. 2006.