Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Methodist Blogger Profile: Bill Fentum

Bill Fentum of UM Reporter Blog

I’m a lifelong resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, except for a few years spent earning a Radio-TV-Film degree at the University of Texas at Austin.

I’ve worked for the United Methodist Reporter since 1985, starting as a night-shift proofreader and taking on various other jobs before completely joining the news staff in 2002. Oddly enough, that’s also when I became a United Methodist, after deciding that the faith tradition in which I had been raised – the Church of Christ – just wasn’t the place for me any longer.

Both the church and UMR have been good fits for me, I think. I feel valued in my home congregation, as a single Christian with gifts to share in ministry. And at the office, I’ve had a chance to refine long-dormant writing skills, both as a news reporter and a frequent “Faith and Film” reviewer. Not a bad life, all told.

Why do you blog?
To share any faith-related story that has captured my own interest. And sometimes, to comment on stories in a way that I’d rarely have a chance to do in print.

What has been your best blogging experience?
I’m still waiting for that one, really. But receiving feedback always makes the time spent blogging seem worthwhile.

What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
Be sure you have something pertinent to say about a topic. Then blog away, and blog regularly.

If you could only read three blogs a day, what would they be?
Probably, and a couple of film-related blogs: and

Who are your spiritual heroes?
Jesus, the Apostle Paul, John Wesley.

What are you reading at the moment?
7 Myths of the United Methodist Church, by Craig Kennet Miller.

What is your favorite hymn and why?
Amazing Grace, because it so perfectly expresses the wonder of God’s saving grace.

Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?
I’ve rarely experienced a complete reversal of thought on any issue. But one in which I’m still in flux, these days, is the debate over immigration.

What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
Any form of fatalism.

If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
Any change that might ensure a more equitable healthcare system.

If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
To eliminate guaranteed appointments.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
Cherish all ties with family and friends.

What, if anything, do you worry about?
Personal finances.

If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
I would spend more time making new friends, and being more generous in my relationships with others.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
Almost any more rural environment than where I’ve spent my life up to now.

What do you like doing in your spare time?
A walk in good weather, watching a great movie, listening to music.

What is your most treasured possession?
Old family photos and letters.

What talent would you most like to have?
The ability to compose music. I’ve always considered it to be the most wonderful artistic gift anyone can possess.

If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner, who would they be?
Probably Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg . . . for one heck of a discussion on film.


Olive Morgan said...

Good to meet you, Bill!

Andrew C. Thompson said...

It's great to see Bill on a Methodist Blogger Profile. Check out his writing in the UM Reporter. It is top-notch!