The past decade has not been a great time for printed intellectual journals, as the rising cost of paper and the ascendancy of the internet forced many organizations to rethink how they can best reach the biggest potential audience at the least expense. Intellectual publications are always strapped for cash (except those that serve as shills for well-heeled big-money entities), and any hike in costs puts the entire operation in jeopardy.
Thus The National Interest closed down in recent years, and Policy Review was dropped by the Heritage Foundation and picked up by the equally well-heeled Hoover Institution.
There are, however, some things that can’t be expressed well in Web-sized bites, and for those topics the existence of intellectual journals is essential and constitute an important aspect of the culture.
One such publication is The City, founded just a few months ago by Houston Baptist University. The journal’s name refers both to the vibrant location where the journal is published (Houston, Texas), and "HBU’s spiritual location within Augustine’s" City of God, as editor Ben Domenech noted in the Summer 2008 issue of the journal.
HBU describes the publication as "A Journal of Christian Thought," and that is exactly what it is. In direct contradistinction to most of the current culture, The City is not a hortatory publication or a forum for the hysterical shouting of opinions held firmly but without a foundation in facts and reason. On the contrary, it is a forum for serious thought about a wide variety of subjects viewed from a "merely Christian" perspective, in C. S. Lewis’s brilliant formulation.
The most recent issue, Summer 2008, is divided into a few sections which should convey a sense of the editors’ vision: "Truth," "Beauty," "Poetry," "Books," and "The Word." What is perhaps most distinctive about the journal is its liberality. The authors are willing to consider the value of things many Christians are quick to condemn as less than perfect, such as Ann Rice’s recent book Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana.
This is an approach which I have taken in my two-plus decades of writing about culture and other matters, and it is one that I know the editors honestly share and are very likely to continue to maintain.
Truly openminded, generous, and thoughtful publications are very hard to find in any era. The City is one and is well worth reading and supporting.
The City: Recommended
—S. T. Karnick