Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Kudos to Salvo!

Thanks to friends at the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity (Thanks, Joe and Danielle!), I finally secured a copy of the premier issue of Salvo Magazine, a quarterly publication of The Crux Project. I first heard about it from Melinda Penner, whose description made me think it was the kind of magazine I'd enjoy. I'm not disappointed in the least. To say that I'm impressed by the quality of this magazine's layout and content is an understatement.

The publishers describe the magazine's mission as:

Blasting holes in scientific naturalism, marveling at the intricate design of the universe, and promoting life in a culture of death.
Critiquing art, music, film, television, and literature, interrupting mass media influence, and questioning the sanity of our consumerist lifestyle.
Countering destructive ideologies, replacing revisionist fictions with undeniable facts, and paring away political correctness.
Debunking the cultural myths that have undercut human dignity, all but destroyed the notions of virtue and morality, and slowly eroded our appetite for transcendence.
Recovering the one worldview that actually works.
The people who put this magazine together not only utilize artistic flair and intellectual sharpness but also hilarious satire. Part of the fun of reading this issue has been finding the mock ads strewn throughout. One of them (for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Insects) made me laugh out loud when I read it while waiting at the barber shop. "STOP THE INSECTICIDE!" reads the caption beneath a magnified picture of an ant. "One million ants are slaughtered every month by careless missteps, cruel young children with magnifying glasses, and newspapers wielded in ignorance and fear. Feeling bugged? To learn what you can do to help stop the insecticide, or to sponsor an orphaned pupae, call...." (It's like The Wittenberg Door meets Philosophia Christi on a popular level.)

In a letter to readers, founder and editorial director, Richard Moselle says something I've believed for some time. The culture war being waged in America cannot be reduced to conflicting political visions. It is the clash of diametrically opposed philosophies of life or worldviews, out of which particular political stances emerge. Here's how Moselle puts it:

About eight years ago, I came to realize that it was these two worldviews-as opposed to, say, political differences-that have led to our current cultural divide. Not that I wasn't previously cognizant of conflicts over "traditional morality" and the like; rather, I saw for the first time that such conflicts ultimately arise from two distinct ways of looking at reality: one predicated on belief in transcendent truth and the other committed to the notion that such truth is a myth.
Unfortunately, there aren't many media outlets for the discussion of the subjects that matter most. Philosophical and theological discourse don't make scintillating programming. Neither can they be easily condensed into talking points and/or sound bites.

Regrettably, it sometimes seems that Christians share this general impatience with and disinterest in such subjects, often preferring political activity over reflecting deeply on the underlying worldview issues. In fact, I sometimes wonder whether American evangelicalism's attitude might properly be summed up by the phrase, "You can tinker all you want with my theology and doctrine but don't go messin' with my politics!" That thought came to mind as I read the recent New York Times article about Greg Boyd's disowning of conservative politics. My reaction was similar to Russell Moore's at Mere Comments:

Evangelicalism has taken on a political identity while shedding a theological one. A thousand people left Boyd's church. They held a "conservative" stance on issues such as the church's role in society. And yet, for years, Boyd has taught that God does not know the future free actions of people. He has preached that the universe is a democracy rather than a monarchy, and that God's purposes are thwarted by human and angelic decisions he didn't anticipate and he can't overturn. He has articulated an egalitarian view of men and women fully in line with the feminist movement and fully out of step with the biblical canon. Where were the thousand "conservatives" then?
But, I digress. Back to Salvo. I showed my copy to our youth pastor a few minutes ago and he agreed that the format and content would be inviting to high school students who might not otherwise engage these topics. From what I've seen of the first issue, I've decided to get a personal subscription and urge our church's library to subscribe as well. I assure you, I have no affiliation with the magazine nor am I on commission to boost sales. I'm just excited about a new resource that has the potential to promote critical reflection about the ultimate issues of life on the part of both Christians and non-Christians. I encourage you to check it out for yourself.

1 comment:

Neil said...

Great timing - I just started reading my copy of Salvo today. I agree with your assessment. It is very well written, useful and cleverly funny. The graphics are superb.