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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
Finding the sacred in everyday life
What I wish I would have said
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About this blog
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
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Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.\x34
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She said it sweetly, this comment that still gnaws at me. I was the nervous guest speaker and had just told a room full of generous women that it was an honor to write about faith, to listen as people shared what was sacred to them.

“You must be very open minded,” she said after I sat down and my heart had slowed to normal. There was chatter at the table. I mumbled something about how I think it’s more difficult to write about Christianity in the newspaper than about other faiths. Someone asked another question and the conversation shifted before I could honestly respond to her.

I’m not naive. I know the term open minded comes with its own set of political luggage, but what I wish I had said is that I don’t worry about all of that. Instead I focus on having an open heart, the kind that listens respectfully to all of God’s children. Of all faiths.

My work has taken me inside mosques and temples, through the quiet hallways of monasteries and the winding paths of labyrinths. And never have I felt my faith threatened. In fact, it has only deepened by learning how others see God.

I wish I would have told her.

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