Getting Personal

Behind Douglas LeBlanc's story of reconciliation in the Episcopal Church
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Associate editor Douglas LeBlanc says he hates to write in the first person. I, me, and mine, he says, appear in his stories maybe once a decade. "I'm an old-school journalist—'You are not the story,' " Doug says about the writer's relation to his subject matter.

Yet every now and then, there is a piece that can only be written this way. "Waging Peace" is one of those once-a-decade articles. "There was such a personal involvement in researching this story," Doug says, "that I found that was the only way I could write it."

Doug labored for many years to save the Episcopal Church from itself—primarily by telling the clear-eyed truth about a denomination that had gone from having a few crazies at the margins to seeming to be dominated by a loopy liberalism. As a journalist working for Episcopalians United (EU), a reform and renewal movement, Doug approached his work with passionate fairness, believing that the truth itself was healing.

This year he became a participant-observer, reporting on a ministry of reconciliation between conservatives and liberals. And he found himself working side-by-side with someone he calls "the worst nightmare of my fellow conservatives." But it was someone for whom he had developed a "cautious respect."

The result of this encounter may be his second-most personal article ever, certainly the most personal article he has written for CT. (Doug's most personal article? A piece he wrote about a close friend who was killed in an auto accident.)

Personal, yes, but Doug's passion for fairness shines through even here.

To speak of Doug's fairness is not to say he is blandly evenhanded. He once wrote a rollicking account of a "Rave Mass" for EU's newspaper. And though it clearly made something that ...

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