Creating the First Issue
There is an old saying about never sharing how the sausage is made. Some things should stay a mystery
and the particulars about hog innards do not inspire. But giving birth to an idea is something to behold
– especially if you believe in destiny.
The Mustard Messenger was actually conceived nearly a decade ago. It just had a longer gestation
period than normal. A 20-year-career as a newspaper journalist ended without even a retirement party.
So surgical was the separation that by the time the wound was really felt, years had slipped away. No
requiem for someone who loved to write; no captive readership and no clue how to reinvent One’s self
at middle age.
The last assignment was covering religion, a topic that was fascinating and frightening. If people got
heated over political stories, surely the burn was going to come on God, faith, and belief. Being a
member of the award-winning religion team of The Dallas Morning News renewed the passion for
research, an appetite for controversy and debate.
As a traditional journalist was being reborn in a digital communications age, a layoff occurred, and
religion coverage was no longer given its own section.
An Answer to a Spiritual Crisis
A talented staff disbanded. Some left the newspaper, others were transferred to different sections. My
struggle with middle age, a career crisis and a debilitating illness dropped to a depth no human being
could reach to rescue. I was losing my eyesight to diabetes and had lost the will to write.
One morning I awoke with a religion story in my head; reciting the entire article in my mind. In that
moment, I realized who was writing those religion stories. I had merely been the messenger and He
told me: “You write with your spirit and not your eyes. You will see your words again.”
I recalled a promise made, almost a decade ago, that I would continue to write about religion but not as
doctrine or an organized activity; but as a search for spiritual healing and a reaffirmation of belief.
The Mustard Messenger is the vehicle to accomplish that. With specialized software that magnifies
text and reads my stories, I write as effortlessly as I did before. Now I am driven to bring people closer
to God’s Word in a way that engages their spirit.
Looking Through the Lens of Pop Culture
The context will always be contemporary; 21st relevant today. An army of former colleagues
will be contributors; my amazing husband and family helped launch the first issue and web site.
In this issue, we explore Christian movies and whether they can have a spiritual effect on the viewer.
We focus on Jesus, a cinematic super star and a complex figure to try and capture on film. Hollywood
never seems to tire of putting his life on the silver screen.
Now Christians are using marketing methods to evangelize, to drive box office records for what
they like and sink projects they believe take too much license with The Bible. Movie producers often
find themselves in a box: stick to tradition and The Gospels but avoid being labeled ant-Ssemitic or take
some dramatic liberty with a powerful story and risk revenue. There is artistic temptation.
The article wades knee deep into the worlds of theology and popular culture and hopefully emerges
with something you will find illuminating and worthy of your time.
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