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Birthday blessings

Reflections on WORLD readers … and lessons learned

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From ages 5 through 17, my annual calendar ran from August through July: The first month of school to the last month of summer vacation. I repeated that ­pattern for each of our two sons. Now that I’m an empty nester, my personal calendar has shifted back to the ­calendar Pope Gregory XIII introduced in 1582—January through December.

That said, I’m back to tracking at least one thing from August to July: It was one year ago, in July 2022, that I relieved interim magazine editor Tim Lamer. We published my first issue as editor the following month. So, this month is a birthday of sorts. I am, editorially speaking, 1 year old, and would like to share some ­lessons learned.

First, I am delighted to report that WORLD readers are the most involved readers of any publication I’ve ever been part of. Letters to WORLD are not like the slightly formal (and mildly pedantic) letters-from-strangers one reads in most publications. Because WORLD is not only a membership but a Christian fellowship, you write as brothers and sisters offering equal measures of encouragement, accountability, expertise, and wisdom.

Example: Three readers wrote to tell me that in a recent column about California Gov. Gavin Newsom, I shouldn’t have quoted Game of Thrones because of the series’ graphic content. At first, I admit, I was a little miffed. I knew by heart what Romans 14:4 says regarding individual convictions about Christian liberty: “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls.”

But as time passed and I considered how to reply, I decided to go back and read the whole chapter:

“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother,” verses 13 and 15 say. “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love.” Translation: I’m not the only one whose opinion must be considered. I decided those readers were right and wrote to say so.

Another lesson learned: WORLD readers span incredibly diverse demography, geography, and expertise. We hear from members ages 9 to 90 who are reading, listening to, and watching WNG content around the globe. These are physicians, professors, and homeschool moms … missionaries, pilots, and public school teachers … journalists, students, politicians, activists, executives, and tradespeople. What a privilege—and, as my colleague Arla Eicher noted last week, what a responsibility. Especially as we hear from members who, as our coverage expands, tell us they are abandoning secular news sources and relying solely on WORLD’s Biblically ­objective reporting.

Another lesson: WORLD readers are avid readers, which is why we’ve ramped up our long-form journalism. The most letters I’ve received on a single subject—more than 100!—had nothing to do with any controversy, but rather what books you read and how you read them. It was so much fun getting a peek at this important part of your lives.

Confession time: In January, I wrote in this space that I was going to try (again) to read one book at a time for the whole year. Since we’re halfway through the Gregorian year, it seems a good time to report that I have failed utterly. But I’ve already diagnosed the problem: I made the mistake of starting the year with a business book. While that would thrill my older son, a born entrepreneur, I absolutely could not make myself read the book after work when I was tired. So, having pledged before you to read only one book at a time, for weeks I didn’t read anything at all! Finally, though, I admitted defeat and allowed myself to move on to two books at a time—one for alert people and one for tired people—all the while anticipating this public confession.

And so, Year 1 has been an honor and a privilege. In Year 2, I will observe the following rules: Strive for Biblical balance. Aim for total accuracy. And don’t quote Game of Thrones.

Lynn Vincent

Lynn is executive editor of WORLD Magazine and producer/host of the true crime podcast Lawless. She is the New York Times best-selling author or co-author of a dozen nonfiction books, including Same Kind of Different As Me and Indianapolis. Lynn lives in the mountains east of San Diego, Calif.


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