Believe me, I’ve questioned myself untold times in the last few years when I’ve felt God leading me toward launching a magazine based on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Amidst this time of the “print is dying” narrative, it’s certainly a venture that needs to be questioned.
But even in the face of supposedly daunting odds of succeeding with print, my heart kept telling me it had to be. In my admitted non-theologian opinion, an electronic Theology of the Body magazine would be, frankly, bad theology.
One thing the Theology of the Body shows us is that we were made to share in God’s creative nature. A magazine is a creative work of art, be that the work of talented writers, editors, designers, artists, even the press operators. TOB actually helped me better appreciate that my own work as a writer – when done really well – is akin to the work of an artist. And while you can read the very same words on both a screen and a piece of paper, TOB is also very much about our created world – all the things we can see and touch and experience with our God-given senses – and those words cannot be experienced the same way from cyberspace.
There’s something about a magazine that feels like an invitation. An invitation to slow down and unplug. An invitation to get lost in its pages. An invitation to discover your better self.
With so much coming at us digitally these days, print magazines are becoming a treasure we savor. We save them for the next quiet moment, to be read with a hot drink and a hot bath. We take them to the front porch or backyard. We pass them on to a friend who will surely appreciate them.
And the very best magazines go beyond recipes and organizational tips. They speak to the soul, which is my goal with Embodied.
Doing my homework for this dream of mine, I have been encouraged by what the numbers actually say regarding the viability of print magazines. Some of the stats I’ve found:
- In 2019 there were 228.7 million magazine readers in the United States over age 18. That was an increase of 4 million from the previous year, and the highest figure since 2012 [Statista.com].
- 94 percent of people under age 25 read magazines [2020 MPA Magazine Media Factbook]. Shocking, right? This confirms an allure to sit and savor, to enjoy a mental break without annoying pop-ups.
- 73 percent of adults prefer print on paper for reading [2020 MPA Magazine Media Factbook]. They report it is less distracting than reading on screens, they retain more and they love those tactile experiences of underlining, dog-earing, tearing out recipes or articles to keep.
I am forging ahead! There is much to do, which I will keep you up-to-date on, but I am finding much enthusiasm for Embodied and have heard from many who would love to contribute in some way. While I continue the organizational start-up, and pray and trustfully await God’s solution for funding, let me know if you have a TOB story to tell! Is there any particular new insight about the faith you have gained through learning TOB? How do you live or understand self-gift? What do you see differently through your TOB lenses?
I look forward to hearing from you! Comment here or use the form at embodiedmag.org.