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Giving thanks, and answering a few final questions

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WORLD’s search engine indicates that this will be the last of my 3,224 pieces since the online records started in 1996. We had great editorial independence, so almost all of them have been fun. Many of you have sent lovely notes about how I’ve been “a fixture at the kitchen table.” Thank you. You have tolerated my flights of fancy: Telling “Jesus monster stories” about how He drove out evil spirits. Bowling with homeless guys. Not playing catch with my father. Since so many subscribers and I had a relationship, I didn’t have to opine each time about serious policy issues. My columns have been more like letters to friends. Thank you.

My thanks to readers who prompted playful columns. When a teacher in 2007 sent me a list of 100 random vocabulary words she wanted her students to know, I had fun writing a column using all 100 in alphabetical order. You indulged my writing about baseball, hummingbirds, and typing one column when the E key didn’t work and another with a splint on my lft han middl fingr so I ould not quikly typ anything with C’s, D’s, and E’s.

Some of you have grown up with the magazine. So have I. Politically I’m where I was in the 1990s while developing “compassionate conservatism,” but times have changed. Some of you have shared your own experiences and shown me angles I hadn’t considered, thus broadening my understanding. Thank you.

My columns have been more like letters to friends. Thank you.

Two years ago I wrote a column that led to 200 letters. It concerned one of the biggest questions of our era: whether or not Susan and I should pay a veterinarian $429 to brush our dog Greeley’s teeth. She worried that they were turning brown. I appreciated their color coordination with his fur.

Three-fourths of those who wrote said don’t do it. They recommended carrots, apples, rawhide bones, bony bones, Fresh Breath drops for dogs, strawberry toothpaste, tartar control toothpaste, teething toys, and a host of other change agents. But many veterinarians wrote about all that was involved in cleaning a dog’s teeth: general anesthesia, full mouth X-rays to check for disease under the gum line, etc.

Now it’s time to answer three frequently asked questions. First, what are my Top 10 movies? OK: The Great Escape, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies, Ride the High Country, Field of Dreams, The Princess Bride, Casablanca, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Last of the Mohicans, Chariots of Fire. I also recommend a music video about parenting available on YouTube, Alanis Morissette’s “Ablaze.”

Second FAQ: Now that I’ll no longer be editing or writing for WORLD, what’s next for me? Book writing and more time with my local church, Grace and Peace Austin. World Journalism Institute courses in April (mid-career), May (college), and August (Europe). Also, Susan and I in 2014 started putting money into Zenger­House.com, our nonprofit foundation to promote Christian journalism. We plan to make awards starting in May. And, if you’re interested in my book recommendations and brief thoughts, please go to twitter.com and follow @MarvinOlasky.

Third FAQ: What about Greeley’s teeth? Susan wanted the full veterinarian treatment, but for two years we tried just about everything WORLD readers recommended. Nothing worked for our particular dog, so last month we paid the vet $450. Greeley’s breath smells great now.

One reader said that whatever we decided about Greeley, I should spend an additional $10 on dark chocolate for Susan. She deserves much more for coaching our young writers, writing 476 stories for WORLD over the years (including the obituaries in the last issue), and serving as my editor. I thank God for our 45 years of marriage thus far.

I also thank God for making me a Christian in 1976. It’s OK if we differ in some secondary understandings: We are still brothers and sisters, made siblings by Christ’s sacrifice. The Bible tells us the church will be made up of people of every tribe and tongue—and that will be part of its beauty. May God shed His grace on us. Amen.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has also been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books, including Reforming Journalism.



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I thank you so much for your many years of faithful service. I have loved World magazine with you at the helm. I'm sad you'll no longer be editor but know you aren't finished contributing to the Body of Christ. We have all been made richer through your generous sharing of your intellectual and spiritual gifts. God bless you!


Marvin, Thanks so much for your insightful writing and editing. In the interest of fairness and transparency, I would be interested to hear your analysis of where World Magazine is headed with which you disagreed. Where could I find that? I have been reading World since the early 90's. You have been a fixture here. May God bless .


Dear Marvin and Susan,
This article of yours saddened me greatly as World magazine, which I love , will lose two voices which are wonderfully creative , spuritually challenging, informative guides to cultural concerns and always faithful to God's Word. Thank you for serving the World family so well and for actively training and encouraging others to carry on the mantle of excellent , Biblically focused journalism. We will miss you both so very much!! A question: Is there another way besides Twitter to read your future articles? I have avoided Twitter, but may just join to be able to follow your tweets. Thank you, and I pray God will bless you with many happy healthy years as you press on.! Your sister in Christ, Janet Adams


Thank you, Marvin, for everything. The installments of your conversion from communism to Christianity hooked me some years back. We'll miss your perspective in World, but will follow you elsewhere.


Marvin, I am grateful to the Lord we are brothers in Christ. You have been a rock solid editor, leader, and contributor in your journalistic efforts, and I was quite disheartened to hear you were retiring. But the Lord works all things together for the good of those who love Him and whom He has called for His purposes. Your fruitful work in WorldMag is proof both that you love Him very much and that He has called you to this work. Thanks for being faithful in His calling for you! May He bless you in your ongoing efforts and in retirement as the Lord continues to lead you and Susan.

Phil W

God bless you and your faithfulness to Him for these few years.


In case you wonder if I got my chocolate, the answer is yes, many times. I'm thankful to have been along for this incredible ride.


Thank you for helping to shape my biblical worldview, Mr. Olasky. You have been greatly influential in my life.

T Williams

Thanks, brother.


Thank you Marvin for your insightful writing. For me World Magazine is a trusted news source and I appreciate the education it has given me in world events and world cultures. I am not an avid reader, so when I take the time to read it is wonderful to have a source where I can choose an article or books that I know will be worth my time to read and will broaden my horizon's. Since becoming a grandmother a number of years ago, I have also appreciated Susan's reviews of children's books. Likewise it is nice to be able to choose a children's book that I can trust to teach good values as well as be enjoyable for my grandkids. Best Wishes in your future endeavors.


For all my cranky posts about Marvin’s political views the past few years, I am indebted to Marvin for his great wisdom all these years and I feel sad to see him go. He helped to instill in me the desire to transform culture and to read the spiritual dimension in the political and world events happening in the present. Marvin has great understanding of history and his many articles helped educate me on many different people and events of history. The many other World contributors I also appreciate there writings over the years. I am sure many others feel the same about Marvin and although there may be differences of viewpoint at times, nobody can deny that he is a giant among us. God bless you Marvin and may your continued work bless us all.

Tim MillerSalty1

Well said!

Salty1Tim Miller

Thanks Tim!


Thanks, Marvin. It's been a great experience.

Like some of those you mentioned, I grew up with the magazine. I don't remember if my parents were subscribers from day one in '86 -- but I couldn't read quite yet anyway. Funnily enough, once I could read I tore through the God's Big World etc. and went straight for WORLD itself (along with Buckley-era National Review and the Wall Street Journal). I'm a little less ravenous for news these days, but WORLD is still the first place I go.

I'm sorry to see a changing of the guard (and philosophy), but by God's grace WORLD will continue to be a voice for truth.

Thanks again,
Eric Ritchie


We will miss you greatly! I am so disappointed. You were the main reason that WORLD was my most trusted news source. I'm headed to the Dispatch now. Is it unreasonable to hope that I might see you there?

Alan Versaw

Thank you. Nothing on this earth lasts forever, but I've enjoyed spending the time with your pen, even on those occasional times we didn't quite see things the same way.