From George Orwell's perspective, 1984 was an ominous year. But it was a good one for me, not least because that is when I freelanced my first article for Christianity Today. The managing editor at the time asked me to write a summary of the newly translated Money and Power by French theologian Jacques Ellul.
Between doing research and sitting down to write, I got a telephone call from CT. There had been some staff turnover, and the new "national editor" wanted to get a sense of what I was going to write.
The editor who had assigned me the article had given me little guidance beyond a deadline and a word count. But the new guy, Harold Smith, had lots of ideas about how to pursue the topic. Fortunately, they were good ideas, and after re-reading that 22-year-old article, I'd say he gave me sound editorial guidance.
What else can I say about Harold Smith's editorial savvy? A few months later, he hired me as an associate editor for Christianity Today. What marvelous judgment he had! We continued to work together closely for the next four years in applying journalistic principles to a revitalized CT. Then Harold got a promotion and became a vice president.
In the intervening years, Harold has been largely invisible to CT readers as he has helped to reposition several CTI publications. Most visibly to CT readers, Harold has sought funding and worked with Andy Crouch to formulate the Christian Vision Project. Part of CT's 50th-anniversary celebration, these thought-provoking essays have been appearing for the past 18 months. Harold has similarly provided editorial guidance and sought funding to underwrite Books & Culture, a project CT editors helped to birth a dozen years ago.
Now, Harold has received another well-deserved promotion. ...1
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