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Reporting worth supporting

Like a family, we’re in this together

Reporting worth supporting

(Donald Gruener/iStock)

We’ll all have stories about what we were doing or thinking as the 2016 election surprise sunk in late at night on Nov. 8/9. Here’s one story from a WORLD reviewer who lay in bed at 2 a.m., unable to sleep. She went to her email and read this note from a longtime reader:

“One of my librarians is retiring at the end of this month. I wanted to give her a book as a present. She is not religious and likes reading historical fiction, so I thought you might have a suggestion for a book that is not overly religious but still explains the gospel or would pique her interest regarding Christ.”

Our reviewer could not initially remember the name of a book she had reviewed six years ago that seemed right for the task, so she searched online, found it, and wrote back at 2:27 a.m.: “Try City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell, set in China a century ago. … Funny, exciting, and heartbreakingly sad, it showcases the power of the gospel.”

Sometimes we’re right in our applications of Scripture and sometimes we’re wrong, but we always try to provide salt, not sugar.

Our staff is small, but we do try to respond to every letter. We call our paying customers “members,” not just “subscribers,” because we’re all in this together. We work much more than 40 hours per week, and many of our members pay $5 per month but also send donations—$3 million during the last fiscal year.

This leads to a painful matter I will not try to dodge. Almost every family has a feud once in a while, and in many extended families some start equating in-laws with outlaws. I and other WORLD editors caused great pain for some of our members when we stuck with the belief we’ve expressed since the 1990s that leaders who consistently violate their marital vows are unfit for office. During a high-stakes presidential campaign some of our members saw that position as naïve, unreasonable, and even evil.

I know that because during October and early November I read at least 1,600 emails and letters from members concerning our opposition to Donald Trump. Four-fifths of them were negative. They’ve increased my understanding: We often learn more from criticism than applause.

Given the volume, I haven’t this time been able to reply personally to each letter—so to those who are angry, please let me offer what Abraham Lincoln said near the end of his first inaugural address, after several Southern states had canceled their subscriptions to the Union: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”

Several members received from me this request: “Sorry we disagree on this issue, but I hope you’ll stick with us. I’m a million-miler on Delta and don’t stop flying on that airline if there’s one bad flight. Please give us a year to cover the next administration, and then cancel if we’re not fair.” One member wrote: “I’m not going to cancel my subscription (everyone is entitled to one mistake) but my disappointment may discourage me from writing a year-end check this year or maybe ever again. … You should have protected your financial stability by restraining from making unnecessary and counterproductive comments.”

Maybe we should have, but WORLD is worth supporting in part because we don’t put financial stability first. We have something exceedingly rare in the publishing world: editorial independence and integrity. We’re Christians not working to feather the nests of those we cover but to nest in the Bible as God’s inerrant message. Sometimes we’re right in our applications of Scripture and sometimes we’re wrong, but we always try to provide salt, not sugar.

Now that a miserable election campaign is over and we’re all prayerfully looking forward, I’d like to think that thousands among you see how important it is to support personally the fearless Christian journalism in print, online, and audio that has become part of many lives—or perhaps the work of the World Journalism Institute in training young writers to think Biblically about the news.

I know our stand has cost us donors this year. So I hope new donors will be moved to stand up and help keep this important work going and regular donors give a little more at this particular time of need, by giving online at wng.org/worldmovers.