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Harold B. Smith

Note to Our Readers

It happens every time. Surprise. Even wonder. And always deep appreciation. The emotions I invariably feel when I pick up the latest issue of Books & Culture and partake of its editorial delights.

For 21 years I've been a reader. For two-plus decades I've been an outspoken fan of this unique expression of the best of Christian thought. And for the last ten years as president, I've sought to champion the need for such a publication even in the wake of too much red ink.

But publishing print in a digital age is hard. Publishing print that is thoughtful is even harder. And as a result, all that red ink has sadly forced Christianity Today to end the exceptional run of this outstanding Christian thought journal with this issue.

When my predecessor and mentor Harold Myra envisioned B&C all those years ago, he saw a publication showcasing the best writers addressing books of consequence—all the while stretching the minds (and sometime even the hearts) of readers.

Orchestrating this vision so compellingly and, I have to say it, so lovingly have been editor and resident polymath John Wilson and art director Jennifer McGuire—a creative mix the likes of which I've rarely seen in my 40-plus years in publishing.

At the start of every issue cycle, John methodically wrote his "score" for the next edition—and usually with enough content to fill a year's worth of B&C! Helping direct him in this creative process, a steady stream (torrent?) of books invaded his office almost daily. Indeed, visiting John's office was and is in and of itself an adventure not unlike reading B&C. Hundreds of books piled high in what at first glance seems total chaos. But then, on closer inspection, you see that every pile, every bookshelf row is thoughtfully, carefully organized by topic or author. Seems there is indeed method to this creative "madness."

Once John had an issue planned, he then sent the edited content on to Jen. Usually late. But somehow, the two always found just enough time to create a look that makes B&C, well, B&C. (A special note of thanks here to our Production Department for their patience.)

Personally, I think the John and Jen mind meld is best exhibited on every B&C cover. Issue in, issue out, they produced covers that founder Myra once described as "consistently different." To which I would only add: "and consistently compelling."

Of course, all of this would have been moot if it wasn't for the band of faithful readers who have appreciated and supported B&C over the years. And not just with your subscription dollars, but with your donations as well. Indeed, without both, B&C's journey would have been a lot shorter—and far less satisfying.

And concerning your subscription. Beginning in January, it will be filled with Christianity Today magazine. And if you're already subscribing to CT, we will extend your subscription accordingly. (Our formula: For every remaining issue of B&C owed, we will send you two issues of CT.)

So be watching for specifics on all this in the days ahead.

Like all of you, I will miss the surprise and wonder I have come to expect from this unique journal. Indeed, I count this shutdown as one of the tougher decisions of my administration.

However, I find at least a measure of contentment knowing that this bi-monthly tabloid did indeed leave its mark. It provided a needed platform for the Christian mind to find fuller expression. Fuller visibility. And as a result, it quite simply became one of the best evangelical contributions in a generation.

—Harold B. Smith, President and CEO

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