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An Improved JM, the Quest for Editors, and a bit about a baby

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : March 18, 2008

pregnant.jpgMy wife and I are expecting a child in two weeks (on April Fool’s Day) Interestingly enough, this would have been a busy season anyways. That means that a lot of important projects and commitments in my life are going to be neglected in the next month or so, as I focus most of my energies on my wife and child.

And so, the content might not flow as regularly on Jesus Manifesto. All ready, you can probably tell that content has been a bit less frequent than the norm. That is because my own contributions have slowed down to a trickle.

In preparation for this, I’d like to instigate a couple of changes:

1) I’ve installed disqus. As you may recall, we attempted to have a forum section to this blog to increase conversation, but it didn’t work out. Well, disqus will amp-up the comments section of Jesus Manifesto to make it a sort of hybrid between a comments section and a forum. Disqus will kick in with all new posts…not the old ones, unfortunately. Hopefully you’ll see how it creates a more interactive environment for comments as things move forward.

2) I’ve toyed with the idea before, but I think I’m ready to go for it. I am officially looking for one or two co-editors. I’ve already had someone offer (you know who you are). But another co-editor would be helpful as well. Here’s a bit of what being a co-editor would entail:

QUALIFICATIONS 

  • Some familiarity with Wordpress. Wordpress has a bit of a learning curve. If you are local to the Twin Cities, I could walk you through things, but that would be difficult to do over the internet.
  • You’d have to decide whether or not the submission fits the overall theme of Jesus Manifesto. Because of this, I’m only interested in editors who embrace the same sort of neo-Anabaptistic, anti-imperial, kingdom-focused, spirit-driven, least-of-these-loving, broad-focused vibe that I shoot for in my own writing.
  • I’m interested in editors who are trying to put some of the stuff we talk about here into practice. The thrust of Jesus Manifesto is praxis. It is always a struggle to keep things from getting too abstract. The more intelligent-yet-down-to-earth, the better.
  • In particular, I’m looking for editors who are interested in helping JM flesh out the “culture” and “aesthetics” sections of JM. My goal is to move JM into broader content, cultural commentary, reflections upon art and film and music, discussions of kingdom living in the global landscape, etc. Basically, I am always trying to move Jesus Manifesto beyond a webmag that talks about the ideas and practices of Christian life into how those ideas and practices interact with the complexities of 21st Century earth. Kinda like a Slate.com with a radical Christian core.
  • It would help if you are a good writer. Crappy writers make poor editors. ;)

 JOB DESCRIPTION

  • You’d need to check Jesus Manifesto every day for new submissions. We have two sorts of submissions…ones from long time writing partners, and ones from the submissions form. The articles from writing partners (those who were collaborators before we shifted towards being a web mag) get published 90% of the time. Less than half of all other submissions get accepted.¬† And remember: we usually reject stuff that has already been published.
  • Each submission has to be edited, have a picture added to the main article in a very particular way. And a small 50×50 pixel image has to be added for the front page thumbnail.
  • If you are an editor, you need to contribute about an article a week yourself.
  • Because there will be more than one editor, you have to make sure you time the publishing of articles carefully. I try to have 2-3 new articles out every day, M-F and one article on the weekend. And I try to spread them out among the categories. If a “praxis” article is published and then another “praxis” article is published the next day, it pushes that first article off the front page. Which stinks. So I space things out so that every article gets airtime.
  • Part of your job would be to look for new writers. Find people who are writing good stuff–especially in the areas where JM is weakest–and ask them to consider writing for JM. There are some great people writing great things who don’t have a high traffic site. Jesus Manifesto can offer a wider reader base and some good comments. And if someone writes enough, our traffic will follow them back to their blog.
  • Especially, we’re looking for writers who aren’t well-educated white dudes. This isn’t an effort to be politically correct. It is simply a recognition that the sort of thinking and ministry done by educated whites isn’t an accurate picture of what is happening in the world.

BENEFITS

I wish I could pay you for this. But for right now, these are the benefits of being a co-editor:

  • You’ll help the cause. It is safe to assume that having more editors will make JM better and our capacity for more content higher. This translates into more readers and a louder voice.
  • Hey, it looks good on a resume.
  • It will almost certainly make you a better writer.
  • You’ll earn my respect…and my gratitude.
  • It is a good way to network with radicals around the web.
  • It is possible that we’ll generate income for this site down the road. Especially after my book “Jesus Manifesto” gets published and increases our reader base.

So, if you’re interested, send me an email at markvans [at] gmail.com

for further reading . . .

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