I was the first person to see Agnieszka Tennant's résumé in the fall of 2000. I could tell immediately I was reading about a young woman who, with steady coaching, would blossom into a savvy, witty, and creative editor and writer for CT.
I was wrong: It didn't take all that much coaching.
This month's cover story on Russia is just another example of her hard-nosed reporting and elegant use of the English language (quite a tribute to someone for whom English is a second language). For Agnieszka, of course, it's not about her talents. It's about Christ's church in the world. Regarding her Russian trip, she told me:
What astounded me is the way the Russian state has recently begun to favor the Russian Orthodox Church at the expense of discriminating against other faiths. Often the people who pay the price are Russians on the margins of societyorphans or stigmatized people with aidswho certainly cannot count on the state for help and who are now increasingly cut off from the stability that nonprofits bring into their lives.
The problem with hiring such talent is that talented people are restless. They want to go where no woman has gone before (and other such clichés that Agnieszka would never let survive her purple pen). I'm sorry to announce that Agnieszka will be leaving CT. She'll begin studies at the University of Chicago, where she'll be working with Jean Bethke Elshtain exploring, as she puts it, "Why in such a devoutly churchgoing country as my motherland, Poland, is corruption so much more prevalent than in the supposedly atheistic countries of Northern Europe?" She also hopes to figure out whether religious institutions have been able to curb corruption in various countries, and how.
She told me she will most miss "the friendly banter and the laughs my CT colleagues and I enjoyed together, and the irenic involvement with followers of other faith traditions that they modeled for me." As for our part, we'll misswell, a lot.
Before I accepted her resignation, however, I made her promiseactually made her sign in bloodthat she would become an editor at large and would continue writing her column, "Taste and See," as well as occasional longer pieces.
Chuck Colson turns 75 as this issue is delivered to the postal service, and we wish him a happy birthday. It's an occasion to note that Chuck has been writing a column for CT for 21 years now. Anyone who has tried to write a column even for a year or two knows how hard that is. Oh yes, and "on the side," Chuck has managed Prison Fellowship, the Wilberforce Forum, his Breakpoint radio ministry, dozens of speaking engagements each year, and ongoing writing projects. As he begins his fourth quarter-century of life, he's supposed to be slowing down. All well and good, so long as he doesn't stop writing for CT.
Next issue: We reveal the subversive side of the Virgin Mary; look at Hollywood's new biblical film, The Nativity Story; and highlight the work of Christians in that most troubled region, Darfur.
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Agnieszka Tennant is moving on but she will continue to write her column, Taste and See.
She was also the subject of an earlier "Inside CT."
Agnieszka Tennant's November cover story on Russia and the accompanying photo essay are available online.
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