Liberal Journals Wither Despite Rising Christian Left

By G. Jeffrey Macdonald
Religion News Service
Saturday, December 2, 2006

It's never been easy to make ends meet while putting out a progressive Christian publication. But in an ironic twist, a re-energized religious left may be making a tough task even harder.

That's one key observation from watchers of liberal Christianity who are trying to explain why progressive magazines and journals have been dying just as the broader movement seems to be gaining traction.

At least five progressive periodicals have disbanded or undergone a radical makeover in the past three years. Observers suggest the publishing niche has fallen victim to rising costs, lackluster fundraising and shifting expectations from readers, who want less top-down preaching and more piety.

It has been tumultuous since 2003:

· The Other Side magazine, launched in 1965 as Freedom Now, put out its last issue in September 2004.

· Presses have stopped rolling at Christian Social Action, a 32-year venture of the United Methodist Church and the independent Christian Network Journal.

· The Witness, a self-described "feisty, opinionated journal since 1917," phased out its print edition and began publishing exclusively online in 2003.

· Zion's Herald, published by the Boston Wesleyan Society since 1833, put out its last edition in May. It resurfaces this month as the Progressive Christian.

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