For the last dozen years, every other month appears in my mailbox a magazine so large it's folded in half to fit. It's not glossy, just many pages of rather heavy-weight paper stapled to bind it, usually with a provocative, artist's rendering of the theme on the cover. I wait for this periodical more than I wait for my bi-monthly quilting magazines, more than I waited for Sports Illustrated for the many years we subscribed to that (and I DID wait for SI--I love that magazine!!!).
It's Books and Culture, a Christian Review. This magazine reviews all sorts of new books (and some other kinds of media) from a decidedly-Christian perspective. Not only or even usually Christian books, but interesting works in varied genres about varied subjects. I'm always fascinated by the breadth of what is tackled, and have an always growing book list beside me as I read it. The ads are all Christian books, conferences, colleges, etc, giving a wonderful, diverse window into what is happening around the Body.
Take this issue, for instance (July-August 2013). I learn that there's an academic conference at Wheaton College in September that will focus on Billy Graham and his legacy; a new book coming out with the compelling title of The Surprising Grace of Disappointment by John Koessler (oh man, how I want to read this!); and a new CS Lewis biography called A Life Observed. And these are just the ads.
What I always read first in B & C is the note by the editor, John Wilson, called"Stranger in a Strange Land".
He personally about the subject of the issue. July/August's theme this year is called "Giant Lit. Section," which so whets my appetite I might not get to anything else in my life until I've read the whole issue. Wilson writes of Frederica Mathewes-Green who is writing her 14th review for the publication. As I read through Wilson's editorial I become determined to read more from this woman.
Then I come to his last FM-G quote and I'm hit in the gut. In my heart. IN my SOUL. For here, succinctly, are the words of MY heart. Yes, I say. Exactly.
"I want to be near God, not anywhere else. This doesn't make me any kind of woo-woo special holy person, quite the reverse. I am endlessly needy. I can't help what I want. I can't even explain it. Even my wanting him, I know, comes from him.
How strange this is. I've never seen God, so how can it be that he feels more real than anything I've ever known?" Books and Culture, p. 7.