Friday, January 8, 2010

Interviews with cool people!

One of the best things about my "job" is getting to meet and chat with interesting folk around the Brandon area. I write "community profiles", featuring people who live and/or work here and who contribute to the identity of the region; people who - by their presence - make the community tick.

Yesterday I spent both the morning and the afternoon in fascinating conversation. My morning interview - Althea - works with the emergency relief program at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon - she's taking a call in the picture. I scheduled the interview to talk about the "St. Jude the Apostle Medal" award she received, but of course we ended up talking about her entire life - the story behind the story.

How do you write a 650 word "profile" of someone who moved to New York from Trinidad at 14, marched with MLK, married an ambassador, attended finishing school in France, lived 13 years in Africa, worked with the United Nations, served on dozens of high-profile boards, is an accomplished journalist, and now dedicates her considerable talents to helping those who live on the edge somehow keep their balance and make it to next week without falling into the precipice of destitution...?

So she made me a cup of tea, decided to trust me, and let me look into her soul so that I could try to learn enough to distill the essence of her huge story into a feature - a story the newspaper may or may not remember to print right away after I pass it on to my editor...

After a good lunch and another cup of tea with Rebekah, I met with Mike and Sherry Moore. Mike and Sherry host a radio program called Community In Touch. You can check out their website at

Community in Touch is - essentially - a radio version of my newspaper column! The show features people whose faith stories impact the community they live in. The hosts interview in a conversational style that is both informal and entertaining.

But I can't write a column about why Mike and Sherry are doing this without getting the deep background. So we chatted for almost two hours. They both have extensive backgrounds in the television industry; they both have profound stories to share about how God radically re-ordered their lives; they both feel called to ministry; they both understand that their gifts in media are the best way they can respond to that call...

How am I going to condense a conversation like that into 650 words? Well, I will, and I'm confident that I'll communicate enough of their story that readers will be informed, entertained, and inspired.

This is one of the ways that God feeds me. I am privileged to get to know - on a deep level - so many folk who live at the cutting edge of possibility. It gives me hope as well as inspiration. Because I know that so many amazing people are living committed lives as faithful disciples and that the world will never be the same because they have the courage to live their faith out loud.

Once in a while, you might want to pick up the newspaper you swore you'd never read again and give it another try!

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