Talking about The God Factor

mobycathiSigh. Another late night with rowdy football fans at the pub outside my window here at St. Edmund Hall in downtown Oxford. Nevertheless, let me jump in for a second to share a link to an interview with an interesting religion writer -- Cathleen Falsani, a Wheaton College graduate who works the Godbeat for the Chicago Sun-Times. Actually she does much more than that, which leads to her book, The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People. She also has a blog called The Dude Abides.

The wonderful faith and pop culture site called Thunderstruck -- the much overlooked scribe Steve Beard is the head of it -- has a solid interview with Falsani (shown with Moby) conducted by freelance writer Angela Pancella, who may be best known for her work with @U2.

Most of the interview focuses on faith and entertainment, but there is this section that addresses one of the nagging questions that faces religious believers (or nonbelievers, now that I think about it) who work on the religion beat.

Here goes:

In regard to being a religion reporter, how have you chosen how much to reveal about your faith background?

I was never shy about it; it was just a matter of journalistic integrity, and trying to not appear to be biased and all that stuff. There's a big debate within the religion journalism community about what you should and shouldn't reveal about your religious predilections. I used to be very, very hard and fast about not revealing anything about myself because I didn't want to tell people what "team" I was on. I think now it's a judgment call. I think if you use it as leverage in one direction or another, it's not right. But when I became a columnist and I was writing about these personal things -- when you're writing in your own voice -- you get a very different kind of response from readers, and they were sharing things with me that were very intimate. And then when I started to have more of these conversations with public people, and they were telling me these things, I thought, I really should be talking about this myself. So when it feels appropriate, I let it come out instead of stifling it.

What do you think? Right call?

P.S. Click here for a post I did on this topic long ago -- in cyberyears -- on this blog.

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