Today’s Epistle reading is from the New York Times

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Last week, tmatt reflected on how the above reading at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral was being portrayed by some in the media. It seems some had a rather narrow and inaccurate interpretation of the text.

But I wanted to mention a couple of funny corrections affiliated with that text. People kept sending us emails about this and they finally added up. So here’s Foreign Policy:

After being carried through the streets of London in a flag-draped coffin aboard a gun carriage, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest this morning in St. Paul’s Cathedral. But the big story of the day wasn’t Maggie. No, it was a 19-year-old Texan who stole the show from the deceased Iron Lady.

With a poise reminiscent of the elder Thatcher, Amanda Thatcher, Margaret’s granddaughter, delivered a reading from Ephesians that has the British media agog. Amanda, who lives with her mother in Texas, chose a rather militant passage that calls on believers to “put on the whole armour of God.” But the reading was a good one, delivered with remarkable grace by a young woman suddenly thrust into the international spotlight. In a tweet that nicely summarized the breathless British media reaction, Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland couldn’t help but speculate “whether somewhere a Texas Republican operative is watching Amanda Thatcher thinking ‘Wonder if she has political ambitions…’ ”

… Poised, eloquent, the descendant of conservative royalty, evangelical Christian, and Texas-bred: It all seems to add up to a promising political future. She certainly hit it out of the park in her introduction to the world, and isn’t it pretty easy to picture a clip of Amanda’s speech at her grandmother’s funeral playing a role in a future campaign commercial?

And (wait for the punchline) here’s the correction:

An earlier version of this post referred to the Biblical passage from which Amanda Thatcher read as the Epistles. She read from Ephesians, which is one of the Epistles.

(Cue: Audible sigh.)

And yet that might be a less odd correction than what ran in the New York Times on the same matter:

Correction: April 19, 2013

Because of an editing error, an article on Thursday about the funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain referred incorrectly to the biblical passage read  by Amanda Thatcher as the first lesson at her grandmother’s funeral. It was Ephesians 6:10-18 — not VI Ephesians 10:18.

Or as one professor of religious studies put it prior to the correction:

Check out the report on Thatcher’s funeral. I’m aware of the regular rumors that Anglicans know nothing about scripture, and I’m fully aware of how ignorant most journalists are about religion — all religion.

But the idea that two NYTimes reporters could confidently state that a granddaughter of Thatcher, at her funeral, read the biblical passage of “VI Ephesians 10:18″ — well, that is even today a bit shocking.

This passage is apparently so confounding that it renders journalists helpless upon encountering it! The meaning, the citation, it’s all so confusing!

So better luck next time, teams.

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  • Paul

    As well as she read it, I think she had it memorized, and just referred to the printed text in front of her to make sure she didn’t mess it up. She’s a very poised young woman, and this world needs more like her.
    As for the media fouling up the Bible reference, their ignorance of religion is exposed for all the world to see, but I doubt they feel any embarrassment. They are too proud to feel embarrassed.

  • http://www.post-gazette.com Ann Rodgers

    My paper today carried a Washington Post story about the memorial service for explosion victims in West, Texas, that said President Obama alluded to the “Books of Psalms.”

  • http://www.princetonlutherans.com Jerry Gernander

    Mollie, her mother Diane attended Bethany Lutheran College (ELS) in Mankato, Minnesota. She is fondly recalled by her Bethany classmates (one of whom is my wife). It has been breathtaking to read some articles online recently, in which Amanda’s mother Diane expresses her efforts to remain married, her Christian worldview of marriage, and her second marriage in which she placed great importance on her husband’s Christian faith. It is exasperating that all the press can make of this is: “It all seems to add up to a promising political future.” As if it isn’t an important life unless it affects politics.

  • http://friarsfires.blogspot.com Brett

    Ann — What’s in our Bibles as the Psalms has been considered to be made up of five “books” or sections, each ending with a doxology or a benediction. The sections are Pss. 1-41; Pss. 42-72; Pss. 73-89; Pss. 90-106 and Pss. 107-150. Some Bibles will have headings like “Book 1″ or “Book 4″ to mark the groupings.

    That being said, the division is not common knowledge and although it’s possible President Obama meant his construction in that way, I’d imagine it’s just one of those slips of the tongue that happen sometimes.

  • http://friarsfires.blogspot.com Brett

    Whoops, just reread Ann’s comment and realized she may have been talking about what the WaPo writer said and not the President. If it was the writer, then I’m agreeing with her that it’s the kind of omission from ignorance that also brings us “the Book of Revelations.”

  • northcoast

    I wonder if the reporter really thought that the lector would have chosen the passage to be read at Dame Thatcher’s funeral service.

  • helen

    A family member might well have been allowed to choose what she would read.

    [It's one of the reasons Lutheran Pastors discourage "eulogies" and family contributions to funeral services.]

  • bob

    So your Bible has only ONE Ephesians?

  • John M.

    This is really getting embarrassing for the Times.

    -John

  • Pingback: Revelations, Books of Psalms and other scriptures


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