The religion beat is just so, so, so complicated. There are all those historical facts and picky doctrines and stuff. You know?
Thus, the following correction in The New York Times was probably amusing to readers who had, at some point in their past, survived a church-history course (or maybe a young-adult Sunday school class in a half dozen or more Protestant denominations).
An earlier version of this article misstated when John Wesley started the religious movement that became the United Methodist Church. It was the 18th century, not the early 19th century.
Well, actually, the Rev. John Wesley was an Anglican priest until the day he died and he started a renewal movement within that body that, after his death, turned into a denomination. The birth of the United Methodist Church was many twists and turns down the road. Oh well, whatever, nevermind.
Actually, I just kind of shook my head when I read that correction. But I laughed out loud when I hit one HILARIOUS word in the lede on the early Times piece on the latest sex-wars win for the United Methodist establishment.
Experienced Godbeat scribes and consumers, and activists on both sides of the oldline Protestant sex wars, will have no trouble spotting the howler. Here goes.
A onetime Methodist pastor who was stripped of his clerical credentials because he presided at the wedding of his gay son is being reinstated, a startling reversal for a large Protestant denomination that, like many, is riven by divisions over same-sex relationships.
So where was the laugh? It’s the word “startling.”
Why is that so funny? Let’s read on.