From print to pulpit

2ndCareerCOVER1You've heard of religion reporters becoming atheists. And you've heard of religion reporters becoming agnostic. But have you heard of religion reporters becoming pastors? Associated Press reporter Patrick Condon files from Wisconsin with a lede readers of this blog will love:

On the first Sunday morning of October, pastor Steve Scott looked far beyond the surroundings of his western Wisconsin congregation to find worthy subjects for their prayers: recent natural disaster victims in Indonesia and the Philippines.

There's nothing unusual about clergy taking inspiration from headlines, but for Scott it's instinctive. He spent 23 years as a journalist at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, most of the last five as religion reporter for Minnesota's second-biggest newspaper.

The story, as you might expect, gets into the sad fortunes of the newspaper business and the religion beat in particular. When Scott was reassigned to cover the suburbs of St. Paul, he described himself as "petulant ... pouting ... not very professional," and took a buyout.

Scott was always interested in religion even if he stopped worshiping regularly. He was a Methodist pastor's kid and his mother was an organist. He minored in religious studies and took a seminary course the year before he got the religion beat. We learn a bit about some of Scott's theological views:

Scott likes to talk about the notion of a calling. Though the term is most often applied to clergy, he believes it's pertinent to anyone trying to figure out how they can best use their abilities to make the world a better place.

"I absolutely believe, as corny as it might sound, that I was called to be a journalist when I was 14," he said.

After his buyout, he thought he might become a religion professor. But his coursework led to a consultancy at a parish. And his wife since 2007 is a Methodist pastor. Somehow he's ended up serving two small congregations in Wisconsin. He'll soon become a full-fledged pastor with his own congregation.

And here's the nice ending to the piece:

"Cynically, some of my friends have asked me: 'What are you thinking? You left the newspaper business, and you're going into the church business?' They sort of share a demographic of a certain age, and they're both wondering why young people don't seem that interested.

"Perhaps there's a point. But I believe in newspapers, and I believe in the church, and despite their flaws, if we didn't have either one ..."

Scott trailed off, not completing the thought.

Lutherans, too, view journalism as an important vocation. Getting the news out to our neighbors is an important job with important repercussions. It's sort of nice to see a discussion of this in a major article.

Either way, this story seems like it was just written for the GetReligion reader.

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