Not all changes are good. But transformation is.
Christianity Today's editorial administrator, Becky Custer, keeps a list of the design and editorial staff who have left CT magazine during her 13 and a half years here. Her list has 37 names. Mine—if I had kept a list over my 27 and three-fourths years—would run to 68 names.
Last month in this space, Christianity Today CEO Harold Smith announced new leadership for CT magazine, including my own transition to editorial vice president of initiative development. In that role, I will focus much of my effort on launching our Spanish-language edition, Cristianismo Hoy. Over our nearly 30 years of involvement with CT magazine, Harold and I have seen a lot of change.
Change is good. At least that is the cheerful message that modernity thrusts at us. Change equals progress, and progress is, perforce, good. If you don't feel cheerful about change, well, just get out of the way.
But modernity is often wrong. Not all change is true progress. Technical innovation has increased long-distance communication (think Skype) and at the same time decreased people's interaction with those closest to them (think of the widely circulated cartoon showing everyone at the Thanksgiving table staring at their iPhones).
As I pass the baton of CT's editorial leadership, I have pondered the relationship between journalism and change. Journalism is, indeed, about change. Without change, there's no news. But evangelical journalists should be particularly concerned with one kind of change: transformation. Evangelicals love stories of personal transformation, tales of individuals placing their faith in Christ and living Spirit-renewed lives that give glory to God. We are also fascinated by the way faith transforms communities. This issue of CT abounds in tales of transformation.
Start with our cover story and meet an East African follower of Jesus who has founded a worshiping community that retains its Muslim cultural forms (page 22). Isa, as Jesus is called in Islam, came to Abu Jaz's house and multiplied the macaroni so that he could practice the virtue of hospitality. Before long, Abu Jaz was following Jesus for much more than pasta.
Also check out our interview with Poetry editor Christian Wiman, whose essays on his conversion have been the talk of the literary world (page 48).
Finally, there's our back page. In recent years, it has been the venue for Who's Next, a feature on up-and-coming Christians influencers. Now, we initiate a new feature built on that fundamental evangelical genre, the testimony. Don't miss "My Train Wreck Conversion".
Change is inevitable. Deal with it. Transformation is holy. Treasure it.
Next issue: Matthew Lee Anderson looks at why "radical" Christianity is all the rage, Megan Hill explores the spicy 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon, and David Wilkinson upholds the doctrine of creation in a post-Darwin world.
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