Here is a little blurb Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller sent me:
Thanks again for all your work on this project. We're hearing a lot of great feedback, how the journal and your articles in it have been helpful to the people reading it.
If you would like to help publicize the journal in your congregation, here's an announcement. You should put yourself in there. Thanks!
Around the Word is a new theological journal for the curious Christian. With articles ranging from “Sanctification and Suffering” to a review of Les Mes, there is something in these 108 pages for everyone (including an article from our own Pastor *** on *****). Three months of devotions also help gather our families around the Word. ($5 for the electronic version, print on demand is also available.) Check it out at www.aroundthewordjournal.com.
Wolflmueller sent it to me because Around the Word reprinted an article I wrote for Gottesdienst in 2006.
At first glance, this is quite an impressive endeavor. It is available as a .pdf for a mere $5 is 108 pages long. If you don't want to print it yourself, you can buy a print on demand copy and have it sent to you, but I don't know what that costs and am not going to look it up, because, frankly, while it is nice of them to offer that, I can't imagine anyone doing it.
The .pdf is beautifully done. The graphics and text are appealing but the emphasis is clearly on the words. I am printing it out right now, black and white, double sided, stapled. I have a pretty fancy copy machine / printer here at Church. It was too big for the machine to handle as a single document. So the last 10 pages were stapled separately. But I could have just printed the pages I wanted. I can also cut and paste if I want to quote and cite anything.
On second glance, this thing is still impressive. It contains five articles and sixteen features it calls "in every issue." I think the rest of us would call those "columns." I don't know, however, if they're really columns. Some of them don't seem like they are wide enough to be explored indefinitely. In any case, those 21 features are mostly about 2 pages long and were written by seventeen different authors. One of those features is a book excerpt from Edersheim's The Life and Time of Jesus the Messiah and one was a reprint from Gottesdienst. The other nineteen features appear to have been written for Around the Word, or, at least, never printed before. The last significant piece is three months of devotions and some Bible chart stuff.
The list of authors looks a lot like the contributor's list for Theology is Eminently Practical: Essays in Honor of John T. Pless. (available here: http://www.lutheranlegacy.org/publications/Pless.aspx). Beyond Wolfmueller, whose fingerprints are everywhere, the authors include: Geoff Boyle, David Petersen, Jonathan Fisk, Brian Kachelmeier, Mark Taylor, Eric Andersen, Scott Diekmann, Jacob Corzine, Jared Melius, Eric Andersen, Timothy Koch, Alred Edersheim, Sarah Ludwig, Bror Erickson, Hans Fiene, and Warren Graff. Besides the fact that these are all Wolfmueller's drinking buddies, I think all the pastors except Graff and Fisk are Ft. Wayne grads. Graff, Diekmann, and I are probably the only ones over 40. This is no criticism. I know most of these guys and am glad to see them writing. In interest of full disclosure, I think I see a few of my fingerprints here and there also. I am about 95% certain Melius is quoting, in part, one of my sermons, whether he realizes it or not. So it is possible that I am a bit biased, still, I think Wolfmueller's drinking buddies are pretty talented and I am glad to listen to them and hope they keep it up, the writing, that is, not the drinking.
The devotions are surprisingly nice given the fact that they are devotions. I have to admit that I ruined family devotions at my house. We were raised on Portals of Prayer. I tried to switch to the Treasury of Daily Prayer because I thought I wanted something meatier. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. I don't know, but the Treasury readings were too long for my weak-minded family gathered around the dirty dishes after dinner. Wolfmueller has provided a very workable and sustainable model for family devotions and I am eager to put them to use. The structure is simple but deep, built for children and chaos, but still satisfying. The short devotional part is probably shorter than Portals but that is simply because it is all meat - not stories or applications or long metaphors. He gets right to the point. I think these devotions, which, by the way are written by another dozen of Woflmueller's buddies not listed earlier, are really a gem. The charts and such are nice also. I am not too into those things but a lot of people are and I think they will be well-liked by the laity.
Seriously: this thing is very impressive. There just isn't any other word to describe it. You should buy it. It is only $5! It is 108 pages for $5. That is an incredible bargain. It is very accessible, easy to follow and understand by teen-agers and the laity, and yet, it has real depth. Pastors should promote it in their congregations.
And writers should submit stuff to Wolfmueller. He will be needing material, if he doesn't already. I like that he is spotlighting the next generation, but I don't think that should keep old guys from writing. What sort of stuff? Based on this first issue, I'd say he likes history stuff. He likes things like "Who is Bo Giertz?" or selections from Edersheim. He likes the sorts of things that could show up in a really well crafted Church newsletter on hymns, Bible stories, or contemporary issues. He also likes some light research stuff on theological topics. It is, after all, huge. There is lots of room for your stuff.
So follow the link with credit card in hand and plop down your $5 and then get to writing. www.aroundthewordjournal.com.
P.S. If you don't know about these printable, customized Baptism and Confirmation certificates from Wolfmueller, you should: http://www.wolfsoncreative.com/