Category Archives: Editors Extra

2014: A Good Year for Faith Today and Christian Journalism

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We’re not saying we’re going to win. We just think our writers our winners!

Yes, the Oscars have rolled up the red carpet, but for Canadian Christian publications, it’s awards season. No statues of golden men await, but responding to the calls for entries for the Canadian Church Press awards, as well as the Write Canada awards, does give us the opportunity to dig through the past year’s magazines and find what we think was the best of the best.

We are just finalizing our choices, but so far, we’re narrowing in on selections like Arthur Boer’s excellent cover story on reclaiming our lives from being so very busy and questioning the clobbering our spirits can take from so much technology. “What happens to you and me, to our hearts, to our own compassion, when we live in a nonstop, 24/7 world of demands and more demands? When we are bombarded with messages that we need to multitask and get more done? The rapid pace of our lives is one of the most pressing spiritual challenges to Christian life today,” writes Boers.

Then, there was Mark Buchanan’s thoughtful essay with the intriguing title: “I’ve been meaning to tell you this: Confessions of an ex-pastor.”  Here’s a sample of what Mark wrote: “And then it became startlingly clear. The church hadn’t failed me. I had failed the church. I had not fully lived up to my calling. So these five confessions are exactly that – admissions of failure, cathartic for me, and perhaps helpful for you.” We’re considering entering that piece for its crisp creative design as well.

An article that told the story of soldiers dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder might make our short list : “This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide – more than 800,000 slaughtered in one of the ugliest bruises on our world’s heart. Back in 1994, many of us couldn’t even bear to watch an entire story about it on The National. It could give you a nightmare and leave a bad taste in your mouth for days to come. Imagine being there.”

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Awkward Interview Moments

So there I sat in a little cozy room at the Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto, chatting to Franklin Graham and his entourage about Eliza Doolittle. Yes, Eliza Doolittle.

Part of my very sophisticated pre-interview warm up strategy involves small talk. Small talk is hard with Franklin Graham. I was trying to relax myself primarily. This straight shooting Southern guy who I’m sure has been interviewed by a million people, did not seem in need of relaxation. But as I set up,  I explained how I would be taping the interview using an iPhone app I had learned about from a journalist, Eliza Doolittle, who had travelled with Graham to South Sudan. I had heard her speak and asked her about the app. And now I use it. (And isn’t that the most amazing coincidence, I chortled).
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Ten New Features Coming in the Re-designed September Issue

Cover redesign
Cover redesign

Including sneak-peaks at five redesigned pages!

  1. Beautiful new layout. Top-notch designer Janice Van Eck (www.janicevaneck.com) led us to re-envision every page. Our articles read better than ever, thanks to more soothing white space, new fonts and column structures, fresh use of pictures and many other changes.
  2. A new social issues summary page, called At Issue, giving you what you need to know about a topic such as poverty in Canada, prostitution or freedom of religion.
    Kingdom Matters redesign
    Kingdom Matters redesign
  3. New arts coverage. Canadian Creatives showcases the work of visual artists who are Christian, and Reading the Bestsellers applies an evangelical perspective to our country’s most popular books.
  4. A new Infographic page that illustrates complex ideas or useful statistics in an attractive, visual way, drawing on the unparalleled research expertise of our publisher, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
  5. A practical new column of Inspiring Ideas for ministry – derived straight from Canadian churches.
    Q&A interview redesign
    Q&A interview redesign
  6. New surprises in the margins. Tucked away between the columns on various pages you’ll find helpful factoids and stand-alone statistics. They’re fun when you want to browse rather than read, but they’ll still make you think.
  7. New opinion columns. Okay, we already started Sheila Wray Gregoire’s column Messy Faith and Kevin Flatt’s column History Lesson a couple issues ago, but now they’re really hitting their stride! And have you noticed our new-ish Business Matters series lately?
    Feature article redesign
    Feature article redesign
  8. New tagline. We’re now calling ourselves Faith Today – Canada’s Christian magazine. That’s because there’s no other publication like it in Canada: national in scope, trans-denominational in breadth, tucked firmly into the mission of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada but also telling the stories that all Canadian Christians love to read.
  9. Digital extras. A regular segment summarizing what’s new on the Faith Today blog, including glimpses behind the scenes of recent stories and extended reflections by Faith Today writers.
  10. Award winning features and interviews. Alright, we admit that Faith Today articles have been winning awards for three decades now. But when new articles win new accolades, then those will be new, right?
Essay redesign
Essay redesign

Faith Today will continue to offer a greater variety of trans-denominational, inspiring and challenging stories than in any other publication in Canada.

And our printed and digital editions can be delivered directly to your physical and virtual mailboxes, so you can read on the go, wherever you are.

Please let us know what you think at editor@faithtoday.ca.

P.S. to not-yet-subscribers: check out our no-risk trial offer at faithtoday.ca/subscriptions.

Why I am Pro-Life

Photo by Christine Reid

I am firmly pro-life. My opposition to abortion is not based on a careful study of the issue, although it may have begun that way. My position on abortion has been cemented by my family experience.

My wife became pregnant just a couple of months after we were married. We were very excited about the baby and we began to purchase clothes almost immediately. Not long after, we noticed the bleeding. A trip to the hospital brought the dreaded words from the doctor, “It looks like you are having a miscarriage.” As we were leaving the hospital, one of the nurses said to us, “There you go, good as new.” No we were not as good as new. We were grieving deeply. It was not just a disappointment of being delayed in growing our family. We were grieving because our child had died. We had even named our child, even though we did not know the gender. It is hard for me to understand how some parents could choose to experience something that was so devastating to us.

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What We’ll Be Reading This Summer

Faith Today asked a variety of Canadian Christian leaders about what they hope to read over the more relaxed summer season. Read on for the initial responses! 

Feel free to share your own reading recommendations with us by email or on our Facebook page, and we’ll add them in a future post. You may also want to check out recommendations from last summer.

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Awards Remind Us What We’ve Got

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What do awards like this one mean?

Many Canadians seem to enjoy reading Faith Today, but what’s it really worth?

Say you open your mailbox and see two new magazines, Faith Today and something else, is it hard to choose which to read first?

Of course those of us who write and edit and lay out the articles are aiming for the highest quality. We believe we’re doing what God is calling us to do. But what if nobody else thought so? That’s where objective reader feedback – and Holy Spirit feedback – are so important. Let me explain.

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Youth Ministry Should Be Unapologetically Apologetic

The faith journeys of young adults have been a hot topic in Canada over the past two years since the Hemorrhaging Faith research study was released.

The study, subtitled Why & When Canadian Young Adults Are Leaving, Staying & Returning to the Church, examines why young adults fall into various categories, including “engagers, fence sitters, wanderers or rejecters.” But there is almost no mention of apologetics.

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How To Be Called a Bigot in One Easy Step

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TWU President Bob Kuhn

I feel vulnerable every time I research and write something that brushes up against the issue of same-sex union, or anything that might be perceived to be any thing less than tolerant and loving of the LGBT community.

I feel nervous for two reasons: 1. I am a scaredy-cat who likes to be liked and I used to be cool (I think). 2. It is so incredibly difficult – maybe impossible – to be heard in today’s Canada as anything less than a bigoted homophobic crazy person on a rant.

That is one of the things that interested me about Bob Kuhn, president of embattled Trinity Western University, and why I was intrigued to speak to him for the May/June Faith Today Interview. In today’s Canada, how do you gird your loins sufficiently to lead a battle to have a law school at a Christian university that requires students to sign a community covenant pledging to keep sex in marriage between a man and a woman?

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