Some time during my second year in college, I started writing in a journal to express my thoughts and emotions. Most mornings, now 45 years later, I still write in my journal. One day during my sophomore year in college I began subscribing to the daily newspaper in Manhattan, Kansas — The Manhattan Mercury. I began reading the opinion page every day — reading some of the famous columnists of the day such as William Safire, Mike Royko, Jack Anderson and Russell Baker. If I really connected with the writer’s style, I read the columns out loud in my tiny third-floor apartment in Manhattan, Kansas.
Not much has changed over the years. Reading the editorial page in the paper — The New York Times, The Washington Post — is part of my day. For 45 years I’ve read the well-written obituaries in the Times.
Back in college, I loved to look up vocabulary words I didn’t know, and I still enjoy doing that.
As a young campus minister back in the 1980s I wrote essays in a newsletter to the friends and donors of my ministry. Sometime in the late 1990s, I had a chance to start writing a religion column for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, where I have now lived for 43 years, before moving to Phoenix, Arizona in August of 2021. More than 750 columns later, I’m still writing them.
In my column I tell stories of faith, write about the tensions of faith and open up about doubts with which I struggle.