Are you going to change the name of the magazine in the year 2000? That’s a question we’ve heard often in recent months. The questioners have been eager to remind us of the large hopes that gripped the editors of this magazine a hundred years ago, and to remind us also—in case we hadn’t noticed—that those hopes were unfulfilled. The Christian century? It didn’t turn out that way, did it?
The only downside to spending time on a barrier island in North Carolina in the summer is that it’s hard to find a good newspaper. You can locate the New York Times if you look for it, but it’s not easy. My son-in-law peruses the Times on the Internet, and, bless him, he will print out as much of it for me as I want.
We have relegated to the “remember when” columns all resistance to the updating of Thanksgiving Day to lengthen time for Christmas shopping. This year it was a September Saturday when the first school boy (“Earn $50 this easy way!”) came to our door to sell us greeting cards. Now, finally, almost anachronistically, Advent announces itself as the beginning of preparation for the Nativity.
How are we doing? The editors and staff of this magazine periodically ask themselves that question. Are we succeeding? Is the magazine meeting or at least approaching the goal we have set for ourselves of helping Christians think critically and live faithfully? Are we engaging people with lively articles, timely reports, thoughtful reflections?
As the whole country knows, evangelist Billy Graham said some things to President Richard M. Nixon—caught on the Oval Office taping system—about American Jews that he now regrets. The whole country does not know that on that same day in the Oval Office, February 1, 1972, the two went on to say some uncomplimentary things about this magazine.