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From the Back Pew: The makings of In Theory

July 07, 2010|By Michael J. Arvizu

According to some of my editors, In Theory is one of the most widely read pieces each week in the La Cañada Valley Sun, Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader. This year marks half a decade that In Theory has run.

So, this week, I've decided to give you an inside look into how In Theory works.

In Theory debuted in the Glendale News-Press and now defunct Foothill Leader the weekend of Jan. 14, 2005. Its first question? "What do you think of the Glendale Unified School District giving students the day off Jan. 6 for Day of Epiphany, also known as Armenian Christmas?"

Among some of the first responders included Father Vazken Movsesian of St. Peter Armenian Church, now the leader of Glendale-based In His Shoes Ministry; Rabbi Jonathan Biatch, of Temple Sinai of Glendale who now serves as a rabbi of Temple Beth El in Madison, Wis.; Sharon Weisman, an atheist living in Glendale; and the Rev. Alice Parsons Zulli, founder of Beyond Loss, a bereavement ministry and grief support center at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

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By the last In Theory of that first year, several other people had joined the writers board, including Barbara Cramer of the Glendale Bahá'ís; the Rev. Thomas Witherspoon, minister of Unity Church of the Valley (the position now held by contributor Rev. Jeri Linn); and the Rev. Bryan Griem, pastor of Montrose Community Church and former pastor of Light on the Corner Church (now the Rev. Jon Karn's church).

Suffice it to say, In Theory has been enriched by many exciting voices over the years, some of whom are still with us, some who are new, and some who have gone on to do other things.

The goal of the column is to take a current event and analyze its moral and/or theological implication, using a sort of "ripped from the headlines" kind of approach. As the column's curator, my job is to come up with a decent question every week that revolves around something current. Over the years, this has included anything from racial profiling, abortion, same-sex marriage and the right to die, to drugs and the Armenian Genocide.

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