When I was seventeen or eighteen, Relevant Magazine was just starting up their website to launch their magazine. I was subscribed to it right away and devoured its pages. Everything I read was ‘relevant’ and it was what I needed at the time. The conversation about following Jesus, understanding culture and living intentionally was exactly what was needed while I was sitting there as a youth pastor of a sort in a hyper-Pentecostal church. It was a breath of fresh air and my sanity. Over time though I got quite tired of it. I felt the article repeated themselves and they slowly sold out to more and more advertising and a some sort of branding. It was perfect for a time but I barely open my subscription (that I think runs out soon) and I certainly don’t save my e-mail newsletters from them like I did. It isn’t the first place I look when I do a study to preach to the youth.
Lots of things brought on the change. One was going to Tyndale and then to York. Studying theologians, and social theory and religious history helps bring a perspective that Relevant Magazine couldn’t exactly do. York helped me step out of my bubble and study from there where I felt in many ways Relevant kept me in my bubble and tried to understand it from there. Two different perspectives, neither were bad.
I started recently to subscribe to a new magazine called Geez. The latest issue has once again made me excited to get a magazine in the mail. The magazine is done in themes. One issue was based on living simply, another issue on housing and community and this latest issue on evangelicalism. You can read a few of the articles here (ones that I would recommend that are online would be Jesus was a Fatty, Fundamentally Divided and On Who is Right). I don’t think there was an article or idea in this whole latest magazine that hasn’t stuck out to me in a creative way. Whether it be the fact that they actually got the host of Way of the Master to write an article to them telling them why “Geez gets up his nose” because they wanted to value the dialogue that could come from criticism. This is from the editor of Geez in explanation of what the magazine is all about.
Here at Geez, we are perhaps prone to make sport of the excess and blessed sentimentality of the Jesus-in-my-heart-and-I’m-on-my-way-to-heaven- cause-the-Bible-says-so Christians. So, for this issue, we are taking a deep breath, steeling out belief in tolerance and engaging our evangelical neighbours in sincere dialogue. Forgive us if we slip from time to time.
–Will Braun, Geez Editor- (read entire article here)
Unfortunately, my favourite article in the whole magazine isn’t online (if you want to borrow my magazine, just e-mail me, but if you want to buy it, or heck, even subscribe, do that here). Here is a quote from “Salvation in ill-fitting blue pants by Jeremy John.
Where I was once cold and angry, focused on structures, I am now warmer and focused on people. I read and write less on politics, but I am more involved in groups working for change. I used to be very critical of political groups, and was therefore somewhat of a loner. Now, I forgive the faults as best I can and I just show up. I care less about facts or proving the current government has lied or manipulated than I do about working with people, for people. My belief in the need for social justice has not changed, but now I come from a place of love rather than a place of justice. What what is justice without love?
–Jeremy John, Salvation in Ill-fitting blue pants–
All that to say, that I love Geez. I think they do a great job at critically looking at their faith while still engaging in the faith that they came from. Their issues so far have been wonderfully put together, absent of all advertising, Canadian, creative and did I mention Canadian? So if I was to recommend one magazine for 2006, Geez would be the way to go.