Michael Leathers is copy editor at Good Faith Media. He also writes full-length plays, one-acts and sketches for mainstream theater as well as churches. His work can be seen at MichaelLeathers.net.
- What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?
Two verses in particular have stayed with me.
The first verse, Proverbs 18:17, has guided my career, most of which was spent as a professional journalist. “The first to put forth his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.”
While this verse speaks more to a court proceeding, it has guided me as a journalist to remind me there’s always another side to the story, and my job was to dig and find it.
Then there’s John 14:18, a verse that has been with me since I was a teenager. “I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you.”
My appreciation for this verse increased when I learned the verb comfort derives from the Latin word, comfortare, which means strengthen greatly. So, I’ve drawn comfort – see what I did there – knowing that no matter what situation I face, God will come to me to strengthen me greatly.
- Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?
Stuart “Doc” Ryder: Doc Ryder was my professor for Critical Thinking and Writing, one of my first classes at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois. I had other classes with Doc, which were always challenging and stimulating. And I’ve had the privilege of drawing upon his wisdom from time to time after college. But that first class was the beginning of opening my eyes to the fact that the world is not black and white, but a beautiful tapestry of grays.
Henrik Ibsen: I’ve had the privilege of writing sketches, one-acts and full-length plays for theater. I began by writing sketches for my church but decided to try my hand at writing for mainstream theater. Ibsen has inspired me because “the father of realism” wrote fearless plays for his time. If I hear about a production of Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People,” I’ll do whatever I can to see it. It still speaks with amazing accuracy to today’s climate.
Bill Williams: Bill and his wife, Mickie, were an older couple who volunteered as chaperones on our church youth group trips when I was a young teenager. On one of those trips, Bill said to me, “When are you going to write your first book?” At that time, I had never told anyone about my love for writing stories, but his comment has encouraged me every time I remember it. My career has spanned newspaper journalism to corporate public relations. And while I haven’t written a book, my first full-length play premiered earlier this month in a community theatre production.
- List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.
Book: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. (And any other Chabon books I can smuggle with me.)
Movie: “Life is Beautiful.” However, I have to have the subtitled version; the dubbed version will not do. The film stars and was directed by Roberto Benigni, who picked up an Oscar for best actor. It tells the story of the power of a father’s love to shield his son from the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp.
TV show: Anything Star Trek. Eagerly enjoying the new season of Star Trek: Discovery and awaiting the second season of Star Trek: Picard. I’ve always felt Star Trek’s storytelling was best suited to the small screen instead of the big cinema, with exceptions for The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home.
- What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?
In a word, selfishness. This has been made crystal-clear by the way many of us have reacted to the coronavirus pandemic. When a few simple acts – wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance – can save the lives of so many, it’s disheartening to see many others do not want to be bothered to take those steps because they claim it infringes upon their freedom. I hope we can set aside such selfishness and come together as a nation to diminish the virus’ spread.
- What are a few of your hobbies?
My main hobby is writing for the theater, as I mentioned earlier. I enjoy reading and cooking when time permits.
- If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?
Our family drove to Colorado for a vacation around the time my son was a freshman in high school. The three of us hiked one of the mountain trails – one of the easier ones – until we reached a beautiful clearing. Sharing that moment with my family is something I’ll never forget.
- Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?
This has been true for me especially for the last year: God is always faithful. Even when there are moments in your life when God seems to be no longer around or distant, God is always faithful. Always.
Reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.