Letters to the editor: Issue #149

Look to the East

In addition to expressing my very great appreciation for Christian History which I have been receiving for many years, if not almost back to its beginnings, I wish to convey to you my very great concern for the huge swathes of Christian history down through the last two millennia which you have largely, if not almost entirely ignored. 

Due to your virtually exclusive focus upon Western Christianity (and Christendom), most readers will have no idea about the “Church of the East” which for many centuries was the largest church on earth with some 23 (?) Arch-bishoprics (or Archdioceses) stretching across Central Asia to Beijing and across the Arabian Sea to the Malabar Coast of India. Nor will they know about the Church in Ethiopia, in Egypt, and other parts of Africa. Missionary Christianity, after all, became central to Christian faith at great centers of learning in Alexandria, Antioch, Babylon (Seleucia-Ctesiphon), and especially Edessa and Nisibis. . . . 

It seems to me that you will do a great disservice to Christian history and Christianity if you do not pay more attention to these ignored histories—especially Thomas Christians of India, Christians of Tang (and Yuan/Mongol ruled) China, and in Japan (perhaps as early as 400 AD, and certainly in Nagasaki from circa 1549).—Robert Erid Frykenberg, Madison, WI, professor emeritus of history & South Asian studies at the University of Wisconsin

While we have done several issues on African and Asian Christianity (#79, #87, #98, #105), much more needs exploration, and we are taking all these suggestions to heart. Thanks!

Still walking

Thank you for the Lenten devotional, Walk Through the Wilderness. It was a delight to read each day leading up to Easter Day and through the following Easter Week. It was thoroughly enjoyable and educational. Well done!—Randy Miller, via email

We’ve gotten a great response on this. Thanks, all of you, for writing in! Share the devotional with your friends and Christian community next Lent.

Take up and read, but maybe larger

Your magazine contains very interesting articles, but the font size is so small that even with “readers,” I find it takes much longer than it should to read the fine print. Assuming that many of your readers are advanced in age, I strongly urge you to increase the size of the fonts used in preparing the manuscripts. Perhaps you could consider shortening some of the articles to make the entire magazine easier on the eyes. Thank you for keeping us informed of our precious Christian heritage.—Ruth Anderson, Puyallup, WA

We’ve had a few similar comments and are discussing whether we might need to make a few tweaks. Thanks!

Going back to ancient Rome 

Let me commend you on your perfect timing on the delivery of #148. I have just finished my second reading (even with dyslexia and old age tremors) of the very enjoyable #147! In all my almost 30 years of reading CH, this one issue has given me the most occasions of looking up the primary and secondary source references, and even purchasing (for my Kindle) James Papandrea’s book A Week in the Life of Rome. A most fascinating read! Thank you. —Fr. Jim Sproat, Spring, TX

New fans of Lilias

I was very impressed with this issue on Lilias Trotter. Her love of beauty and her mystic single-mindedness was entrancing. Also, that selfless dedication to her work as a missionary was deeply noticed and appreciated despite offers for greatness in another field! This reminded me of another stalwart missionary in China, Margaret Barber, who was a mentor and encourager of the great Watchman Nee. Perhaps a future issue can highlight them. . . . May our loving Father guide your ministry there, and keep you also “ focused “ as Lilias taught us.—Michael Carlascio, Sault Ste Marie, ON

Today I received your latest issue and was intrigued by your coverage of Trotter. I had never heard of her before. I thought it was interesting that she was a missionary, painter, and author. So I began reading the issue. I cannot put it down! What an amazing individual. Her art is breathtaking, her life and mission amazing, but her spiritual writings have me in tears. . . . I had to write down some of the quotes from the excerpts you printed of hers. Thank you so very much for making this issue. Now I’ve got to get her books. I love her message and how she viewed the world and saw God within it all. —Joseph Peter Mills, Defuniak Springs, FL

I’ve been meaning to send a note like this for a long time, and receiving the recent issue on Lilias Trotter has finally prompted me to do it! I’ve been receiving Christian History for many years and I’ve always been so impressed with the aesthetic quality of the issues, in addition to the high-caliber scholarship of the articles. Thank you for all of the effort you’ve invested in these publications. What a pleasure to read!— Jennifer Jesse, Kirksville, MO

Lilias’s life and work enchanted our team during production of the issue, and we’re delighted to hear from so many of you that her dedication to Christ impacted you too. 

Looking back, looking forward

At the end of 2022, we conducted a reader survey to help us in planning for future issues. Here are a few of the encouraging comments we received.

• Your coverage on the Christian part in the past plague times [#135] helped us through the 2020 Covid-19 crisis.—Roy and Benetta Myers, New Castle, PA

• Love the magazine! Healing issue [#142] was excellent! Keep up the good work!—Ken Tuttle, Little Rock, AR

• Incredible magazine. Every issue is like a devotional. Thank you so much!—Jerry Salvatore, Centereach, NY

• A note to tell you how much I like your magazine and like meeting the staff. Excited to get each issue and so pleased you are printing again.—Scott Swisher, Obetz, OH

• Please keep up the great work on enlightening church history.—Warren L. Smith, Monroeville, PA

• This is the BEST publication I subscribe to—well done every issue!—William Nye, Orlando, FL

• I teach church history for ninth-grade students. Your magazine is a rich resource for me to use in class and for student research material.—Carla Courtney, Moscow, ID

• You have been an invaluable resource over the years as part of our homeschool curriculum. Thank you.—Amy Smiley Lawson, Carthage, TX

Christian History is our favorite reading and we often use it for Bible study group.—Carol Hamrin, Ashburn, VA

• Will be happy if you continue as you are. You produce a beautiful, fascinating publication.—Susan Bridwell, Columbia, SC

Getting it right: translations and dates

Our issue #143, p. 40, mistakenly stated that Bible.org and the New English Translation (NET) are two separate translations. Bible.org actually uses the NET as the basis for its study tools. Neither are to be confused with the New English Bible (NEB), published jointly by the University Presses of Oxford and Cambridge. 

In issue #148, on p. 10, we stated that Lilias Trotter died at age 74; she was 75. And on p. 13, the letter from John Ruskin pictured is from 1883, not 1879. 

A few years ago, one of our team members happened to read a 2018 tweet by Tahra Seplowin (@calixofcoffee) which said “Shout-out to the typos that make it through three rounds of content edits, copyedits, and two rounds of proofreading. I am inspired by your dedication and tenacity.” That’s kind of the way we feel around here too sometimes. Rest assured we are always trying to weed out errors, and we will tell you when we find them!

By readers and editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #149 in 2023]

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