Christianity,  News

A Christian at the New York Times shares his story

Michael Luo is an editor at the New York Times. He’s also a Christian and a member of Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. King’s College recently hosted an address by Luo in which he describes his faith and how it informs his work at the nation’s paper of record.


  • Adam Gupton

    Hey Denny, just in case you didn’t know, “evangelical” and “fundamentalist” are not the same…and sanctification is PROGRESSIVE too.

    Is Keller’s church PC(USA)?

      • Adam Gupton

        buddyglass…thanks for sharing.
        Did you watch the video? If you did, you’d know that this is a point that the speaker (liberal NY times editor) stresses repeatedly, lest we confuse him with those hateful “fundamentalists”(read: conservative) down in the Bible belt.

  • andrew alladin

    Michael Luo wants us all to know that he is, unlike the Religious Right types, a safe, non-threatening, non-judgmental Christian. He is no Culture Warrior, no sir. This is the type of timid faith that the New Moralists would like all Christians to have. Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, Linda Greenhouse, Bill Keller, Tom Friedman, and David Brooks are bolder and more confident about proclaiming their destructive ideas than Luo could ever be in publicly proclaiming eternal truths. The same holds for any reporter there as well. This is the flip side of “cultural engagement” that certain Young, Restless, and Reformed types have chosen as the alternative to Republican Conservative activism. The engagement becomes a long and winding road that ends with frightened Christians afraid of losing their “cultural influence.”

  • Esther O'Reilly

    I haven’t watched the video, so I can’t give my own opinion yet, but I’m wearied and saddened if Luo’s number one priority in his testimony is indeed to distance himself from “those embarrassing conservative fundamentalists.” I wonder if there’s a danger that he might be the next Kirsten Powers, and not in a good way. But again, I’ll have to see the video for myself.

    • Ian Shaw

      Which is odd to me because in Keller’s Reason for God book and his DVD study, I found him to be a well measured apologetic spoken person. Granted, the subject of study didn’t end with a call to response, but people’s minds were definitely changed and they had more questions. Keller himself even was asked about homosexuality in the study and after a loving response did state that it’s wrong.

      Haven’t watched the video, but based on the comments here, I too wonder what the context of “embarassing conservative fundamentalists” means. After all, if you’re a faithful believer, shouldn’t you be a sold-out fool for Christ?

      • James Stanton

        “After all, if you’re a faithful believer, shouldn’t you be a sold-out fool for Christ?”

        This is debateable and it depends on the specific policy. It seems obvious enough to be a “sold-out fool” for standing against abortion or preventing gays from marrying. It’s less obvious to stand against arbitrary food stamp cuts that would pay for tax cuts for the rich or delivering death and destruction to people in far-off lands. The good thing is, that this conflation with voting for Christ by voting for the Republican party will become a much harder choice once the GOP commits itself to the prevailing societal trends. My point in bringing up parties is that conservative fundamentalists (embrace that label) are conservative political activists and foot-soldiers in a movement which has goals that are separate from a wholly Biblical agenda.

        • Ian Shaw

          One should also mention that giving (politically) people the means to give them over to their own desires over and over again, is seperate from a wholly Biblical agenda as well. There are also foot soldiers on the other political spectrum that seeks an agenda conflicting with the Bible as well.

          The “embarassing-fundamentalist” shoe can fit on both feet, if you get what I’m saying. Just saying.

        • Esther O'Reilly

          They absolutely are political activists and foot soldiers, and God bless them. Signed, proud conservative fundamentalist + occasional libertarian tweaks.

  • Adam Gupton

    I agree on the general conservativeness of Tim Keller. My worry is that some prominent people would be more accomodating to folks like this guy just because he attends Keller’s church.

  • Suzanne Evans

    Wait a minute. Those of you who confess to not watching the video, why are you even commenting here? Watch it first, aren’t those the rules? But since you didn’t, go back and watch it now. You may get a different perspective (unless of course your modus operandi is to take a stand before you look at the evidence. After all, what good thing can come out of Galilee?).

    Michael explains the challenge of balancing his desire to make a difference for the kingdom with his journalistic obligation to the NYT’s credo of fair, balanced, unbiased reporting. He hadn’t been there long before he identified himself to upper management as a Christian, offering to help with their initiative to better cover diversity in religion. Michael did not use the phrase “embarrassing conservative fundamentalists” — commenters came up with that inaccurate and biased attribution. But he did explain to his colleagues the differences they need to understand between the oft interchangeably used terms fundamentalist, evangelical and conservative. This is the “meet my world” task he undertook. And yes, it is clear that he identifies as evangelical but not fundamentalist (e.g., literal 6 day creation), and not conservative in every iteration (e.g., not pro gun lobby). But those things are not necessary distinctives of evangelicalism nor of Christianity in general.

    So what’s your problem? When a brilliant young man comes to Christ at Harvard, seeks the Lord for how he can make a difference for the Kingdom via his career, then thoughtfully attempts for more than a decade to do so while still maintaining journalistic integrity, you should be praising God. He is God’s man at the NYT, fulfilling his assignment to the best of his ability.

    He admits to “holding back” and tells what he has done and is doing to overcome that. But because of the respect he has gained there, he is now in a managerial position over the Metro section and was asked to cover religion on Sundays. He will continue to do his best to help the other side understand who we are, but without bias. He will cover other religions and help us understand who they are too. Without bias. That’s how journalism works best.

    I was impressed. We should pray for him, for both boldness and balance — not take pot shots. Goodness. I’m embarrassed by some of these reactions.

    Thank you, Michael Luo. Congratulations on your new little one, and here’s to a full night’s sleep, soon.

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