Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

A Towering Legacy of Achievement

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

A Towering Legacy of Achievement

Article excerpt

As I begin my 30th year at Sojourners, it seems appropriate to take a modest look back at the enormous impact I have had on the magazine, not to mention the innovations I have introduced to enrich our office environment, such as Pajama Tuesday's.

I am reminded of my contributions almost daily, as staff members stand aside reverentially when I pass by. They are in quiet awe of my storied tenure ere, and also know that I tend to flail my elbows when I walk, having long ago stopped asking myself whether this looks cool.

Yes, I am an award-winning art director and nationally known columnist. But more important, I am the anchor at editorial meetings and other staff gatherings, my deep and resonate snoring providing a soothing background to the important discussions at hand.

BUT AS I SIT at my desk, surrounded by the symbols of my success--the 1994 fourth place writing award comes quickly to mind--I remember how it was when I first started.

As soon as I joined the staff of Sojouners, I realized it needed a new direction. The magazine was born after the editor heard Nancy Sinatra sing the words, "You've been lyin' when you should have been truthin'," words that captured for him the sad state of the world and its desperate need for gospel truth. (For some reason, Ms. Sinatra's later reference to her boots being "made for walkin'" was never incorporated into the broader Sojourners mission.)

Taking nothing away from 1960s pop stars and their impact on the modern church, I urged the editors to adopt a more biblical approach, suggesting that Sojourners follow the advice of theologian Karl Barth, who said Christians should live "with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other." How you drive a ear when you're doing that I have no idea, but the premise sounded good and Sojourners quickly adopted the biblically, based prophetic role that continues today. (For those who don't know, Karl Barth wrote the respected Church Dogmatics, a four-volume work that had such a profound message for 20th-century Christians it could not be ignored, especially when be brought it over and put it on the coffee table, completely blocking the TV in the process.)

As the magazine's readership grew, I felt our ministry should be broadened and take on a more public witness. …

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