The fellow sitting next to me at a conference in Chicago turned out to be a WORLD subscriber. By and large, he said, he was an appreciative reader. But didn't I agree with him, he suggested, that sometimes we were just a bit superficial in our treatment? Couldn't we set our plow a little deeper in our pursuit of this thing we call a Christian worldview?
That conversation was quite a contrast with the one I'd had 24 hours earlier on my flight to Chicago. The woman sitting next to me was a cordial middle-aged university professor, and in many ways very worldly-wise. She asked me what I did for a living, and I told her about our efforts to build a news organization from a Christian perspective. When that didn't seem to register, I used the term "worldview." I'm not sure she'd ever heard it. "You mean to be telling me," she said in disbelief, "that you think there's a religious aspect to everything?"
There's always been a little tension among those of us responsible for WORLD's editorial package. Is that package, we ask ourselves and each other, for insiders or outsiders?
When we focus on the insiders-or, as we put it sometimes, when we're preaching to the choir-we're very much addressing this thing we call a biblical worldview. We're plumbing and honing and refining that worldview for people who already agree that such a perspective is important. They just want to understand it better, define it more accurately, and be able to apply it to their day-to-day lives more effectively. That was the man sitting next to me at the conference.
When we're focusing on the outsiders, though-like the woman on the plane-we're dealing with folks who aren't used to thinking in such terms. They tend to see "religion" as separate from all the rest of life. They're startled when they see WORLD talking in its various columns as though there's a proper spiritual dimension to economics and war and the visual arts and global warming and the latest novel or movie.
So now I ask you, if you were on WORLD's management team over the next year, where you would put your primary focus-going deeper for our loyal band of regular readers, or going broader to attract newcomers. How would you spend WORLD's resources?
The two assignments are not mutually exclusive; they feed on each other. The more we strengthen our journalistic performance and help our readers think things through from a vital Christian perspective, the more WORLD's reputation and circulation will grow. And the more they grow, the more resources we'll have to improve our editorial performance.
WORLD publisher Nick Eicher outlined in our Nov. 20 issue some details of how we intend to expand our news-gathering team. If you missed that column, please go back and read it now.
Then let me be bold here and ask you not just to make a theoretic choice in this matter. Would you instead pull out your checkbook and write out a check as a gift to WORLD magazine for $25, $100, $1,000-or even more. And with your check would you also indicate how much of it you think we should spend on going deeper and how much on going broader. I'll report back to you in a future column what you collectively tell us-and we'll use your own gift exactly as you indicate as your preference.
Every gift to WORLD, or to our ministry to children through God's World News, is fully deductible for tax purposes. You can click here to securely donate online or to find out how to make a contribution by mail.
And, as I have said in this space once each year for the last 15 years or so, I'd love to find a handful of you for whom this journalistic cause is so important that you'd like to explore giving $5,000 annually for the next three years. If that interests you, please call me (828-232-5415), email me, or write me at Box 2330, Asheville, NC 28802.
However you get in touch, be sure to say whether it's the man at the conference or the woman on the plane who should be getting WORLD's main attention in the months just ahead.
Email Joel Belz