This last Friday of August 2009 marks the final post of my third stint with GetReligion. I am grateful for each of my excursions with GetReligion since February 2003, and I thank my longtime friend Terry Mattingly for making each one possible. I have made new friends among this blog's readers. GetReligion has helped me adapt my style, shaped by roughly 20 years in print journalism, to the rowdier medium of the blogosphere. I will miss my colleagues, but I am eager to return to full-time work on the Godbeat. A reporter who is not reporting tends to be fidgety and neurotic, and I am already neurotic enough about plenty of other things.
My new work will be with The Living Church, a magazine that has covered the Episcopal Church since 1878. I am thankful for this opportunity to join TLC in promoting and supporting Catholic Anglicanism within the Episcopal Church. I have written freelance articles for TLC for more than 15 years. Some years, especially those involving the Episcopal Church's trienniel General Convention, have kept me busier than others. TLC is based in Milwaukee, but I will remain in Virginia. Thus my new job title, which I requested: editor at large. It reflects my geographical distance, and it is lighthearted.
I have engaged in a lover's quarrel with the Episcopal Church since the late 1980s, when I began feeling tensions between my understanding of the gospel and my church's public image of finding a middle way in all things, including ethics and theology. Through much of the 1990s, this quarrel kept me in a place of anger.
Since then, I have found a deeper affection for the church that formed me from my earliest days as an acolyte. I have a renewed love for interviewing other Episcopalians, across the church's theological spectrum, about what they believe and how they live in light of those beliefs.
My work now seems less like reporting a war and more like chronicling an impassioned, protracted family argument. (Yes, this thought occurred to me before I read Lisa Miller's similar comparison in Newsweek.) My church family reminds me, in its lighter moments, of the Castorinis in Moonstruck: One minute we're yelling at each other operatically, and the next we're eating together.
In these days of shrinking news pages, widespread layoffs in newsrooms and imperiled metropolitan dailies, it's a remarkable gift to be paid to write about something I love so deeply. I had better get on with it.