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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ten or so years ago I used to penfriend with a lady in N.S.W  who had 7 children.  The number of children we had was the common denominator because we didn't have much else in common despite the fact we were both  believers & we both homeschooled.  My friend, Dee, was affiliated with a Mennonite church in America & she was quite rigid in the application of her beliefs.  Despite the fact we didn't see eye to eye on a number of issues we maintained a friendship for more than 10 years until in the process of moving we lost contact with each other.

For most of my life I have been a chronic reader.  I'll read jam jar labels, the adds on buses, discarded newspapers ~ in fact anything at all that has the printed word on it & I have not been overly discriminating.  I also travel a lot.  Hours I wait on windy jetties for boats before the half hour boat ride home & I find it just about impossible to sustain a conversation over the heavy thrum of a diesel motor labouring through the channels although Star invariably tries to engage me in conversation.   It is a combination that had me picking up whatever stray magazine I could get my hands on so I had something to read & it didn't matter if it got crumpled in my bag or rained on or spattered with spray.  As the price of magazines skyrocketed & the information between the covers deteriorated God bore it upon my mind that this was not a Godly solution to a perennial problem & the renewing of my mind included cleaning up my reading material.  Which left one huge vacuum.

Now this was a problem I was sure would have an easy solution.  Surely Christians put out quality magazines full of sage & godly advice, meaty articles, stories that would uplift & encourage holiness. I tried Christian Woman.  The older ones were fine but then they changed publishers & modernized & I've decided I'm not a very modern Christian.  I'm not a very liberal Christian either.  The magazines had nothing to say to me. I don't believe women need to juggle family & work.  I don't feel the need to rampantly support women's ministry ~ I know, but Quakers have always supported women's ministry & it is never right for a Christian to demand their own way.  That is not the way of Christ. I tried Above Rubies. Better but...And I felt awful because I know lots & lots of lovely Christian women read, enjoy & get great benefit from these magazines but they drove me crazy.  They skimmed the surface so much. I couldn't believe how limited my choices were & I was really reluctant to tuck my expensive books into a tote bag when the weather was wild'n'wet.

And then Dee, in one of her cleaning frenzies sent An Encouraging Word my way. Now I was askance at first.  After all the publishers, all women, all covered!  Yikes.  I thought I'd been sent something from a cult ~ the Exclusive Brethren, maybe ~  but I decided to overlook the fact they all wore pinafore dresses [or jumpers if you're from the States] & bits of cloth on their heads & stated loudly men were the heads of their families & had a read anyway. 

I liked what I was reading. Firstly, & this is so important, even though I didn't always agree with their point of view they expressed their opinion with great gentleness & respect & they referred me to the original language & funnily enough I can cope with that.  Secondly they were very pro children.  When you have five & you've heard enough comments like: Haven't you discovered what causes that?[well yes, but do I really have to explain it to you?]; The number of children equals your I.Q [Then that makes me smarter than you, I guess]; or No~one needs that many children [so which one are you suggesting we dispose with?] then anyone who thinks having lots is a blessing rather than a curse is someone your likely to breathe a sigh of relief with.  Thirdly, at a time when I was already drifting slightly left of centre & out of the mainstream Christian thinking I found encouragement from others who were also questioning the direction today's Christianity has taken & were choosing a different path, a return to older roots, grass roots Christianity: homeschooling. home churching, home businesses.

Then disaster struck. The lady who distributed AEW in Australia ceased operations.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to renew my subscription.   I tried for 12 months.  It was like breaking into Fort Knox & my computer skills weren't equal to the task.  I mourned but accepted defeat.  Then Liddy, who was secretly reading my subversive mags, noticed they were no longer regularly arriving in the mail & went in to bat on my behalf.  A backlog, 2 years worth, suddenly arrived in a great swag.  I devoured them ~ but eventually I was back where I had started.  However both AEW & I had modernised & after a few little hiccuphs thanks to our common language I managed to renew my subscription on~line & I waited....& I waited....& I waited.  Today the first of this year's magazines arrived. 

Now I will tell you something else about AEW.  Their magazines are always a *pay what you can afford* offer.  They will give away subscriptions if you genuinely cannot afford the money but want their magazines & if you subscribe they offer a *get one, get one free* deal so you can get one for a deserving friend as well. I don't know anyone else who makes these sorts of offers ~ & abides by them.  I know they do.  At times I have not paid for my subscription yet the magazines arrived faithfully every quarter.

Now I just have to figure out how to back order so I can get the mags I've missed.


seekingmyLord said...

I read a bit through their website. I am not one who likes magazines in general for the same reasons you have mentioned, plus the commercialization, but this one looks to have very fine writers with depth and tranquility...I can see why it appeals to you!

Ganeida said...

And all the adds are in one place at the back! lol I actually read through their adds. They have the plain dress sewers, the veilings, homeschool materials, healthy eating options etc Every issue I own has at least one mini bible study ~ so helpful as a starting point & something to mull over on the boat. And there is great serenity of spirit. No ranting. I can't abide ranters.

Joyfulmum said...

hmmm don't read many christian magazines or otherwise usually except the couple we get from the ministries we support which I enjoy reading. you're right there is a big vaccuum in this area!

Ganeida said...

Rosemary: Most I've seen are very wordly ~ minus the scandal. I don't need more of the world. lol That I already have in spadefuls.

Finding Joy said...

I haven't had success in finding a good Christian magazine. I might have to give this one a try and see if I enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.

Ganeida said...

Jo: Let us know how you find it if you decide to try it.

Turtleheart said...

Haha, "chronic reader"! I can relate to that :)

Linda said...

That is fantastic.

Deborah said...

My mission this afternoon is to find out all about this AEW. :o)

Ganeida said...

TH: a girl after me own 'eart.

Linda: Yes indeedy.

Mrs Adept: they do appeal to a widish variety across the alternative Christianity spectrum. Let us know what you think.