Very few articles linger in my memory for longer than a few days. Valerie Tarico’s article on religion and the Internet is one of them. I’ve rarely read anything about which I feel more ambivalent.

For an article of lesser caliber, it would be easy to dismiss her glib tone and half-correct understanding of religion today. But her observations are far too important to take lightly. She may well have put her finger on the essential—and overlooked—reasons why many faith traditions are losing adherents.

An old friend of mine used a great metaphor for articles like this: it’s a bony fish. You have to dig through, and discard, a certain number of bones to get to the meat. But the meat is rich and absolutely worth the effort.

Bony fish challenge us. They challenge us to approach them in the spirit of dialogue, not reacting instinctively to buzzwords and sweeping statements but rather exploring piece by piece in a search for what might be true. They also challenge us to the practice of dialogue, as by talking with one another we can bring more perspectives to the effort and thus gain a better picture of what is there.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the article and whether it sparks your interest in dialogue to engage with it. Please share your thoughts here.