The New RELEVANT

For readers of this magazine, the biggest generational divide we have is probably what someone thinks of Blue Like Jazz. If you’re, say, 28 to early 40s, the book very likely had a significant impact on your life and faith. But if you’re younger than that (or if you’ve only read it recently) you probably liked it but didn’t think it was all that groundbreaking. Which says a lot about what God has done in our generation since it came out.

When Donald Miller released the breakout book back in 2003, the world was a different place. It wasn’t commonplace for Christian authors to vulnerably wrestle with questions of faith and doubt and worldview. Especially in books that were sold in Christian bookstores. But Don’s book tapped a nerve, gave voice to a restless generation, and helped serve as a catalyst to a new way of thinking and living.

Now, if you were to ask Don today about the book, he’d say he looks back and cringes at part of what he wrote. So much of who he was then, what he thought and believed, isn’t him at all today. (He openly talks about the tension in our cover story.)

Interestingly, this magazine has taken a similar path. Birthed around the same time (our print edition launched in the spring of 2003), we set out to give voice to a growing undercurrent we saw in our generation. We talked about living a Christian life outside of the “faith ghetto” or—gasp!—actually finding redemptive themes in secular art. It’s startling (and honestly, a little embarrassing) to look back at those early issues. Especially when you consider they were considered groundbreaking and somewhat controversial at the time.

So much about our generation’s worldview—the things we’re passionate about, questions we’re asking, how we live and interact with our world—has changed dramatically since then.

Don has had to confront the cringe-worthy aspects of his past self head-on over the last few years as he’s had to update and reimagine Blue Like Jazz as a fiction film that releases this spring. He’s rewritten his own history, which is probably why you see a lot more of the Don Miller of today in the movie than the Don Miller from the book.

But, you know, when we look back at our journeys, we should cringe from time to time. The things we were just so sure of, passions we had, mistakes we made—it’s all part of what made us who we are today. Like Don, we should all be on an intentional journey of discovery and growth. Life isn’t about playing it safe. It’s about taking risks, learning from the journey and always moving forward.

So that’s what we’re doing with RELEVANT.

If you're a subscriber, you’ve probably noticed quite a few changes with the new issue. Not only have we redesigned a lot of the magazine, we’re also introducing new content features and a multi-platform publishing model. We’re embarking on a significant new season for RELEVANT.

First things first: the redesign. The freshened typography and design is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. I think you’ll find the magazine easier to navigate, from a far more functional Table of Contents (still in the back, of course) to all the new front matter and even multimedia.

Second: new content. For example, Reject Apathy, which is where we focus on Christ-centered social justice, is now a standing section, not just a couple of random pages.

The Drop is now where we cover music news and help you discover artists that are making a difference. (Use the QR codes!)

Next is a new section for the leaders among the RELEVANT audience. It will focus on creative innovation, social entrepreneurship and leadership. Next will highlight believers that are pushing the envelope and challenging all of us to make a difference in whatever it is God’s called us to do.

But that’s just the beginning. The big news is we’re launching an expansive new RELEVANTmagazine.com—completely rethought and rebuilt from the ground up. Phase one will launch mid-May, and every month through the end of the year we will be issuing additional major enhancements, new sections, multimedia and interactivity.

While there are too many new things in our phase-one launch for me to list, one exciting one for magazine readers is that for the first time ever, subscribers will be able to log in to read and share magazine content online. Like, all of the magazine content, back to day one.

We just ask that you take it easy on our early stuff. Like Don, we’ve all changed a lot since back then.

Cameron Strang is the founder and CEO of RELEVANT Media Group. Connect with him on Twitter.com/cameronstrang or Facebook.com/cameronstrang. This column originally appeared in the May/June 2012 issue of RELEVANT. Want to read more? Get your own subscription here.

10 Comments

85,059

Jo commented…

I liked the book...there have been others in the past like Keither Miller (love "A Taste of New Wine") and Joyce Landorf ("Balcony People" and "Silent September" are awesome in my opinion).

Even so, Blue Like Jazz was wonderful in its own way.

I don't know about the early stuff on Revelant as only been around for several months or so, but I've been impressed. I do find it interesting how we sometimes don'tseem to regardease in our dealings with others until we ourselves have had to walk in others' shoes and seen the view from there...then we are all for ease when people treat us how we've been treading them...oh, Lord help us. We'll learn one way or another...if through pain then through pain it will be.

Thanks...

A new seasonand will be interested to see what this new one for you all brings. I appreciate this place. I like the many voices...many having wonderful things to offer.

85,059

Sarah Moon commented…

Don't have a problem at all with your "early" stuff. Back then, it seemed like you actually cared about your readers. Now, you're more concerned about publishing articles by big names like Hugo Schwyzer, despite the fact that Schwyzer has an extremely problematic past.

Your readers don't want new website designs. They want to know that their comments won't be deleted and that Relevant will always be a safe space for people. They want to know that this magazine isn't going to be enabling abusers by publishing their content without informing readers.

85,059

Diegofernando12 commented…

Many people want to look the ultimate issues, Especially when this people are from other countries, and they cannot suscribe to the mag, (Costs, distance, etc)
Im from Colombia (SouthAmerica), and i think than many people, (like me) is in this conditions, waiting for the Magazine online, Because Seriously, Every Edition is So Good, and "Food" the hungry of new contents, And Especially, Themes than confront the christians Arround The World.
PLEASE, BACK TO THE ACTUAL ISSUES.
Thanks!

PD: Sorry if my English is not Perfect. :)

85,059

Anonymous commented…

It's encouraging for me to see progression in things so clearly...the way we rarely can, but easily do when flipping back to those early editions. As a subscriber since 2003, it's encouraging for me to think about the dilemmas we are facing now as being rarely thought of even ten years from now. I consider it a humbling trend to look back at what we were thinking and saying ten years ago, and value the courage to say, "that's embarrassing, but we're glad it got us here...and we will be laughing when we look back here ten years from now."

Well done, RELEVANT.

jonathan Keck

124

jonathan Keck commented…

This seems a little extreme and aggressive. Magazines and projects grow. But if you want to be heard Sarah, perhaps write in a tone which will be responded to constructively rather than putting people on the defensive.

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