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"I NEVER THOUGHT I'D BE WRITING COLUMNS like this: stories about faith. ... I'm a sportswriter, not trained to do this—as a few of you have pointed out. ... I began writing for the faith page at the urging of then-Akron Beacon Journal [Ohio] editor Jan Leach. The idea came from a breakfast where my wife and I discussed our weekly jail ministry with Leach. Then the subject of the faith page came up. I told Leach that ... some of the nationally syndicated columns 'stunk.' Too much was written about denominational spitball fights, about church politics, and other hot-button issues. God seemed ignored in all the screaming and finger-pointing. ...

"Before I started, several respected people in the media business advised me to skip it. 'Writing about religion can kill your career,' one friend said, and he is a person of faith. But I don't write about religion. I write that church is important, but God is bigger than any place of worship. I write from the perspective that there is an all-powerful God who created the universe, that the Holy Scriptures have value, and that God often speaks to us through them. ... I don't care if you are a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, or a skeptic, there is a spiritual thirst in most of us. Churches should teach us about God. They should bring us together with other believers who can help support us and challenge us. ... But no religious institution can replace God. Rather, it should point us to God. So I don't write about individual churches, mosques, or temples. I don't write about individual religious leaders, although I quote them so they can bring some light on various topics. I try to write about God and us and what that means for our lives, and I appreciate your encouragement. Some of you say you're blessed by these stories, but believe me, it's the other way around. For that, I'll always be grateful."

Terry Pluto
"Writing column is blessing;
Focus is God and us, impact of relationship"
Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio)

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Setting another place at the table
November 24, 2003

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