Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Books and Culture Reaches Its Goal

The Books and Culture scare is over. I am glad to see that the periodical has reached its financial goals to stay solvent (see the "special update" below).

Perhaps like many people, I was shocked to hear that the Christian bimonthly review was in financial trouble in the first place. As I have been thinking about the situation with Books and Culture and its parent company, the Christianity Today Media Group, I have been wondering about the bigger picture of Christianity and higher education in America.

I'm not sure how many people have noticed, but hardly any faculty jobs in the humanities have been advertised by Christian colleges and universities in the last few years. I'm not talking about the general downward trend in higher education of not hiring enough tenure-track faculty members in the humanities. I'm talking about what seems to be a near drought in hiring humanities professors at Christian colleges. Most of the jobs I have seen advertised lately are for development positions--people who are hired to raise financial support for a school.

Most people know that there is (and has been for some time) a crisis in the humanities. But I wonder if this crisis is having a substantially greater impact on Christian schools. There are, of course, exceptions, but the trend is apparent in the lack of jobs offered at Christian institutions, the number of adjunct faculty positions that are being advertised, and reports coming from Christian liberal arts college professors about significant increases in class sizes.

The financial woes of the Christianity Today Media Group is perhaps a good barometer of the current state of Christianity and higher education in America. If Baylor University and Indiana Wesleyan University are two of the few Christian institutions on the record as being able to offer substantial financial support to Books and Culture what does that say about the current state of Christian higher education?

Special Update

As many of you know, we’ve been in the final days of a fund-raising drive to keep Books & Culture going. I’m happy to say that we met our goal, thanks to the pledges of individuals and institutions that value what B&C uniquely does. Here’s a letter from our CEO, Harold Smith, updating you.
Many emails, tweets and phone calls were sent out over the past few days as part of a concerted effort to keep B&C going. Below is just a small sampling of the people who helped spread the word on Twitter and elsewhere across the web. Thank you!
Like Harold, I’m both inspired and humbled by the outpouring of support we have received. With Jennifer McGuire, our art director, I’m at work on the November/December issue—and we’re looking ahead to next year. Your pledges and words of encouragement make me think of the gratuitous plentitude of the universe we inhabit, the gift of an extravagant God.
Thanks for reading—and again, from the bottom of my heart, thanks for your support.
John Wilson

John Wilson,

Editor, Books & Culture
To reply to this newsletter: booksandculture@christianitytoday.com

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