The Revealer welcomes some competition in the religion-press-critique business from GetReligion.org, a new blog edited by Doug LeBlanc and written, for the most part, byTerry Mattingly. The two bring an impressive range of experience to the task — LeBlanc, self-described as “a lifelong Episcopalian but also, by choice, an evangelical Protestant,” has edited religion coverage for secular dailies and explicitly Christian publications (including the great evangelical flagship, Christianity Today); Mattingly, a member of the St. Mary Orthodox Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, has worked the Godbeat for any number of major papers, teaches media and religion at Palm Beach Atlantic U., and writes a column called “On Religion” for Scripps Howard.

That’s who they are; to find out what they do, start with the “About Us” link on their page, which is actually an entry titled “What We’re Doing Here” (we’d link you directly to it, but theirs is one of those frustrating sites where all links lead to home). Like The Revealer, they see the “ghost” of religion in any number of news stories that leave it unstated or misunderstood.

“A lot of these ghosts,” they write, “are, well, holy ghosts. They are facts and stories and faces linked to the power of religious faith. Now you see them. Now you don’t. In fact, a whole lot of the time you don’t get to see them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”

Their mission is both a little bit and enormously different than The Revealer‘s. They’re tracking the mainstream media and its Christian counterparts; The Revealer was reminded yesterday of its responsibility to the smaller stories and its interest in finding new ways to write about religion. But that’s tomatoes and tomatoes compared to the main distinction, as hinted byGetReligion.org‘s title — they want you to get God. Their God, to be exact, although they’re smart enough to know that there’s a huge range of understandings within evangelical Protestant theology.

Take their February 9 post on the recent flap over an airline pilot who advised “Christian” passengers to evangelize “non-Christians” (we’ll let you follow GetReligion.org‘s excellent collection of links). They write from a position of mild annoyance with a press that finds this an example of religious bully behavior. It’s tacky, they suggest, but the problem is merely one of timing. “Ultimately,” they write, “we know that if the Holy Spirit has led us to a moment for sharing the gospel, like Saint Philip speaking with an Ethiopian eunuch, then God will open the doors of circumstance for us.”

The Revealer has been given the gospel on airplanes too often to believe such a moment exists, but we’re grateful, at least, that the doors of circumstance have opened for this bright new blog.