This morning I had a piece on the Religion and Values page of the City By the Sea Press Herald. Because it refers to a current and touchy issue in our community, the editorial department of the paper asked for more drafts than I usually write for them. The fourth finally met their need to have the piece be sufficiently religious and not wobbling over to the op-ed category instead. I wanted to argue, and in fact did, that the page is also about Values, but the editor (one step up from anyone with whom I usually work) made it clear that if I did not make the essay more, as my children would say, "Jesus-y," they simply would not run it.
It occurs to me that I am a bit spoiled by having freedom of the pulpit. I resisted and still do, but it felt more important to weigh in while the question is still in the front of people’s minds than to have my way.
The result? I have no idea whether it’s a good piece of writing. Oh, I know it says what I wanted to say about the issue. But in abandoning my style, I lost a sense of the quality of my writing.
My style for most of my newspaper columns has been to tell a real-life story and slip my friend Jesus, or more usually, God, in toward the end.
The editor said, "It’s too subtle."
Now, I would take that as a compliment, but in this case it would have meant having no voice on this matter.
So, I worked the material over for a fourth time yesterday afternoon.
Since the issue is controversial, I expected to get email about the column. But guess what happened in the editorial process? They listed only part of the address. Wish they could go back for another draft.