This article first appeared in the From the Editor column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 34, number 02 (2011). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org
For a few years now it has been missing, but for decades readers of this magazine had their own column. If they took issue with an article featured in the previous issue, or something it said, they could sound off about it, as long as they kept their response within two hundred words or so. We often would ask the author of the article to reply, and this typically led to further clarification and understanding of the issues. Other readers, who might have entirely agreed with the article, would add their own observations or anecdotes to the discussion, thus expanding our insight into the topic. Whether readers agreed or disagreed with the articles, they provided valuable feedback not only for us, but for other readers, and often one reader would put into words what many others were thinking as well, allowing everyone to learn where we stood on the concerns raised.
Sound good? The only reason we are not continuing to do this is that you are not writing! I only say this to encourage you to write again, and to make it a habit. We would love to receive your responses to the articles, and if enough of you write, we can reinstate the Response page.
It’s understandable how we got to this point and we had a lot to do with it. Several years ago we switched from providing readers with a physical address to send in their responses to providing them with an e-mail address to do the same. Not enough readers made the transition to responding electronically and it became difficult to fill the page, and so eventually it simply disappeared from the magazine altogether. With no Response column, readers were no longer encouraged to write or directed where to send their comments, and so the frequency of reader responses to articles dropped even further.
We could continue to publish the JOURNAL without a Response column, but frankly, we miss you! The magazine does not seem whole without a column devoted to its readers. We have some of the most thoughtful readers in the publishing world and we benefit just as much as other readers do from your perspective. We need to continue with the electronic protocol because I work remotely, but I think over the past few years e-mail has become a much more standard form of correspondence and most people prefer it because it is easy, immediate, and free.
Again, as much as we would like to reinstate the Response page, it depends entirely on you. Surely, some of the articles stimulate thoughts and reactions that you would like to share. Even if a particular letter is not printed, I will read it, and I will respond to you as needed. Just send your letters electronically to [email protected] Whether you write to confirm, contend, or simply contribute to the discussion, I greatly look forward to hearing from you!