LAST ISSUE, JIM wrote a letter of farewell as our editor, now I write to greet you. I wish him many years as associate editor and semi-retired author not only so that he may continue to bless his readers but as evidence that thegood work he began here is continuing well. May the Lord bless him, his future work, and ours as we continue In Communion and in communion.
It is with sincere gratitude and humility that I accepted to become your new editor.We are a small fellowship and a humble journal, yet the OPF and In Communion have made significant contributions not only to individual lives and to the life of the Church but beyond it as well; I am particularly aware of how much each of us needs encouragement from one another daily as well as how much work we can do collectively to foster a love of true peace more broadly within the Church and without.
I am happy to be part of the effort and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help for all of us.When Jim solicited applications, he carefully asked that any who enquire should have “a deep affinity for OPF.” I revisited much of the content on our website and inour journal before I responded. Mostly, I suddenly doubted that I was made of the proper stuff for the chair I would ask to occupy. I am not particularly pacific by nature:as a young Christian, I read that violent men take by force the Kingdom of Heaven,and without any understanding of the spiritual dimension captured in that verse, I Loved that my Christianity called for the kind of violence I felt within me. Boy, was I misguided! I have learned that God’s way is graced with Life while mine, not so much.A favorite St. Augustine quote, suggestive of God’s kind of violence conquering violent natures, describes what I feel now. “O Lord, Thou did strike my heart with thy word,and I did love thee.” So, indeed, I have a very deep affinity for OPF, but it is by force of will and the love that comes from use that I embrace the principles.
So, what does the change of editor mean practically for us? You’ve noticed already, I’m sure, with this issue, that while the look of the journal remains essentially the same, a few small changes have occurred. These include some advertisement (unpaid,but we hope for some worthy, paying sponsors), a little poetry, and a contents page.The core of the journal will not change, but around that we will hopefully make additions going forward of the sort that will increase our content, our frequency of publication, our range of subjects and approaches to them, and our circulation. But,we remain for the moment small and not in a hurry. We don’t want growth at the cost of who and what we are or for the mere sake of it, but because we think we have a good thing and want to increase its value and share it with more people.One change you can’t see yet is the addition of a blog where readers can go to addto the conversation or simply read what others are saying. You can do either at www.incommunionrespond.blogspot.com. A change you’ll see next issue is in the letters from readers section. Perhaps you will see your letter there, but first you have to send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are actively soliciting original poetry and also book reviews that are between500 and 750 words that do more than summarize the content of a book. We would like reviews to engage in analysis and explicate the heart of a book. Reviews may be positive or negative—ideally we want to promote works worth reading, but sometimes books not in that category are worth reviewing too, like some movies that are so bad they have to be watched. I’ll be publishing guidelines for poetry soon,but check with me if you have something. If you have a book you’d like to review,drop me a line.
Now, a brief comment on my editorial perspective. We are quite a diverse bunch,but regardless of individual differences of temperament, politics, vocation, or strategic approach to life and work, what binds us is our love for the Prince of Peace And our desire to be fully taken captive by His peace and made into His image as children of the Orthodox Church. It is for this we exist as a Fellowship. In Communion is not a proxy for any kind of political, social, or other agenda. We do not advocate,promote, or subscribe to other than what the Church has been given and what it guards. Nor do we wish to take on the canons of the Church or displace its conciliarity.Yet, though the Gospel doesn’t change, it doesn’t stop transforming us or the world and all that is in it. We are not about hiding our light under a bushel, to quote a childhood song. We believe that it is precisely because of who we are that we must therefore live fearlessly, act courageously, explore boldly, listen carefully, embraced early, and love boundlessly. All this toward and for all human beings and all of creation.
You will continue to see in our pages the same stable, quiet, reflective writing about what the Scriptures, Church Fathers, canons, Saints, icons, and respected contemporary authors say about living and sharing God’s love and peace. You will also see us take on the challenges of learning how to do that in a world where it seems everything that can be shaken is being shaken. Our strategy may include takingrisks or taking stands, holding our ground actively or holding our peace quietly, but we will attempt all in character as a fellowship of Orthodox peacemakers. I could enumerate here all of the important issues we care about, but I deliberately leave them between the lines. Rather, I encourage you to revisit, as I did, our website where who we are, what we stand for, and where we’ve been speak for themselves. And please keep reading.
❖ IN COMMUNION / issue 62 / October 2011