After years of peering into the podcast pool, I’ve decided to jump into the waters of this dynamic platform, and it seems there’s no better time to announce this new venture.
I first joined The Forum as a columnist in January 2008, adding my voice to a rotating slate of writers sharing various “Parenting Perspectives.” Then, in January 2013, I switched courses, starting this “Living Faith” column, along with biweekly “Faith Conversations” features.
Around 2018, I began thinking about joining the podcasting world, but it wasn’t the right time. In Dec. 2021, Rob Port invited fellow faith columnist Devlyn Brooks and me to be guests on his “Plain Talk” podcast to discuss America’s religious decline. The wheels started turning again, but it still wasn’t the right time.
Recently, though, everything started aligning, and with the Forum’s gracious help, I’ve realized it’s finally the right time! My new podcast, “Matters of Soul Importance,” will launch on Jan. 5, and I’m excited to extend my written conversations concerning faith into another, livelier format.
My earlier podcast discussion with Devlyn made him the perfect choice as my guest for Episode 1, and he kindly accepted my request. As with this first one, subsequent episodes will begin with a question that my guests will attempt to answer, with each topic relating to—as you’d expect—matters of soul importance.
For this first episode, I ask Devlyn, “Can Jesus and journalism co-exist?” And he answers from a pastor/journalist point-of-view.
I didn’t start my career writing about faith. That came slowly, over time, as my faith deepened and my writing matured. After being hired full time by The Forum in 2011, I noticed a gap in religious content. At the same time, I discovered that whenever the topic of the soul came up in interviews, my subjects often had a lot to say, and the discussions frequently took insightful turns.
I stepped away from the newsroom in 2012 to work for a time as editor and communications director for the Fargo Diocese. During that period, it became clear that faith writing was a natural fit for me. But speaking to the choir can omit some of the more probing questions we yearn to know about God. I approached Bill Marcil Jr. about possibly writing about faith for The Forum. It was an experiment for a daily newspaper but one he was willing to try, and I’m grateful. A year ago, I celebrated a decade of this work.
With January being the month of new beginnings, I’m pleased to start the year with a brand-new offering. I’ve been collaborating with The Forum for 16 years now and appreciate the chance to challenge myself and hopefully give readers some new questions to ponder.
You’ll find my introduction episode in the “podcasts” tab on the InForum website, and Episode 1 will drop on Friday. I hope to see you over there next week, and please let me know what you think. Until then, don’t lose sight of the light!
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on Jan. 1, 2024.]
NOTE: I will be keeping a separate log of my podcasts on this blog. To hear the first episode, along with any future episodes, go here (starting on Jan. 15). You can also find them at the Forum directly here. Or by Googling, “Matters of Soul Importance,” to find a link and listen on your favorite podcast app.