If you have not heard of Houston Baptist University’s new journal called The City, you should have. I have read a few issues now and find it uncommonly interesting, broad, and, well, fun. Seriously. I’m in a PhD program, surrounded by all kinds of journals and books and very sober publications, and it’s not often you find a thoughtful source that’s engaging, expanding, and fun to read.
In the last issue (sadly, not online), I thoroughly enjoyed an article by Matthew Lee Anderson on “The New Evangelical Scandal,” covering the “new evangelical ethos,” and a book review by Christopher Badeaux of several of Cormac McCarthy’s recent works. I found No Country for Old Men a stunning, startling movie, and The Road a captivating book. Badeaux nicely probes the moral dimensions of each with a depth not common in evangelical circles. Engagement with culture is not just about identifying the bad words and the questionable scenes, after all; it’s also about listening to artists and thinkers articulate their vision of the moral universe in which we all live.
Each of these pieces fit very well with the journal’s mission, which seems to be engage the public square and secular culture from a politically conservative, classically Christian viewpoint. Not all of the contributors are evangelicals, but they generally write literate, engaging essays that many Christians will find interesting (though the essay entitled “God’s Love in Life’s Storms” did, I must, prove theologically disheartening).
You can subscribe to “The City” for free here. I would highly recommend you do so. You may not agree with every piece or every writer, but in subscribing and reading, you’ll better understand public issues and a Christian approach to culture and you’ll enjoy the time spent with the journal. Kudos to HBU and president Robert Sloan for this offering. It’s exciting to see a Christian school with vision of this kind, and execution of this caliber.
Also, the new 9Marks Journal is just up, and it looks typically fresh and deep. It covers the topic of pastoral training and education and has a wealth of articles I plan to read. Here’s the PDF. Read and be challenged and helped. It’s entering a vigorous discussion that I hope will continue among Christians as we seek the optimal system for pastoral preparation.