A good crop of us have been dreaming for a while now about “publishing something.” Every so often some well-meaning person will nod and say, “Yeah, that’s a good idea.” But no one does.
People have more than enough to read, but so much of it’s junky, shallow, irrelevant, or just plain boring. We believe there’s enough need for a magazine, we believe there’s enough desire, and we believe there’s enough talent. So here we are, publishing Prism.
But what is the “something” we want to publish? Almost anything we’re doing, interested in, or want to write about. We don’t want to limit ourselves to a fixed topic, but we do want Prism held together by quality local talent.
The idea is to start where we are, with the talent we’ve got. Because most of us are youngish and associated with the Reformed Churches of New Zealand (RCNZ), our initial target audience will be youngish RCNZers. And if we grow from there, all the better.
Despite the core group being unashamed Christians, Prism isn’t a “Christian magazine” in the usual sense. It’s not a Church magazine, a theology magazine, or even a youth group magazine. Instead, Prism is a magazine thoughtfully put together by people with a Christian vision.
We publish articles about most anything in life, the kinds of things our readers do and enjoy. This means the kind of diversity we see each day: from computers to gardening, from theology to satire, from music to marriage, from Church to cars, from movies to food. We believe that if we can do all these things, then we can do them Christianly.
Articles don’t have to be “religious” to be considered. In fact, we believe there are more than enough religious journals on the magazine market already, and perhaps steering clear of this emphasis on “spiritual things” for a while would do us good. That said, we are not at all shy about our Christian faith, but we try to treat it as part of the very fabric of our writing.
We want a Christian outlook that’s broad but not waffly, a kind of big-hearted orthodoxy. We treat the Scriptures with utmost respect. We respect the history of the Church, seeing ourselves as part of the Church through the ages. We want to drink deeply from our Reformed heritage, but allow ourselves to apply thoughtful critique where necessary. We will quote Calvin as easily as Chesterton.
In all this, we hope that Prism will be the kind of magazine we’ll not be ashamed to give our unbelieving friends or agnostic workmates. If God sees fit, maybe more people will serve Him because of it.
We encourage “localness” and “local talent” with Prism’s content and with its distribution. The articles are largely written by Kiwis, and they often directly encourage interaction with the community, whether it be hospitality to the people next-door, or helping your church reach out to the needy people down the road.
W. H. Auden described what’s also our goal for Prism, “A poet’s hope: to be, like some valley cheese, local, but prized elsewhere.”
A large part of our vision is to encourage creativity among our readers. We encourage those we know who are talented writers or artists to publish poetry, prose, and picture. We promote not art for art’s sake, but the fusion of work and art, as God did in the universe’s first six days. This is the same God who now gives us callings, not merely jobs.
Prism doesn’t shy away from unusual articles, or from columns that are unusual in a magazine produced by Christians. We often draw ideas for columns from various other magazines which have influenced the editors: Credenda/Agenda, Comment, Caelum Et Terra, Every Thought Captive, and Antithesis, to name a few.
Some of the topics we will include as regular columns: book, movie and music reviews; family and food; work and craftsmanship; politics; interviews; poetry, anecdotes and short stories; sport; cars.
For more information about writing style, please read our writing guide.
Prism is primarily a printed magazine. Apart from being plain nicer to read, a printed magazine can be hugged and held, given to friends and co-workers, thrown on the coffee table, and discussed over a beer. In short, this fits with our thinking that we are real people who do real things, talk with real people, and publish real magazines.
To give people a taste for the content, we’ll publish selected articles from each issue on this website. And after the next printed issue comes out, we’ll make the whole previous issue available on the web.
Alongside the printed magazine, here on the web we hope to publish more in-depth articles, as well as links to further information. We’ll also be starting an online discussion forum to complement the magazine’s letters to the editor.
Just for the record, we’ve put online the original proposal for what became Prism. It was written by Ben Hoyt in February 2005.