As I was browsing desultorily through the March Journal and staring glumly at this photo and that picture, the thought occurred to me that modern man is surfeited, dangerously distracted, and jaded with the visual (primarily) and aural cacophony in which he is cocooned. How easy it is to forget that the Lord leads his obedient sheep beside still waters, where they can clearly hear His ever-present still, small voice and be refreshed.
Is not the holy Word of God among the chief of these still waters? We lose a significant portion of our receptive innocence when we permit the distraction of sights and sounds to disrupt our sacred communion with the chaste beauty of truths articulated on the printed page. Mrs. Eddy's sole foray into the visual with printed was "Christ and Christmas", and she had to withdraw it for a time in part because the pictures were being used as ikons of a sort by some.
Yes, many intimidating versts of emptiness across the steppes of blank pages confront the editors of the periodicals weekly and monthly and surely tempt them to glom on to any scrap of flotsam or jetsam which could fill them. Miscellaneous pictures, travel photos, snapshots, extraneous visual stage business, and the soporific verbal drone of lengthy, very lengthy, interviews serve, faute de mieux apparently, as welcome fodder in the neverending search for material. But how does a photo of the Li River (p. 63 in the March Journal), beautiful as it is, support any spiritual message in the accompanying article? Or the picture of the Liverpool waterfront (pp. 20-21)? Is the Journal a serious publication or a travel magazine, and are not picture books one of the childish things most of us put behind as we enter adulthood?
What is so distasteful about the straightforward, unadorned, pacific, all-print dignity of the old Sentinels and Journals? Christian Science isn't a religious Disneyland or a stop on a grand tour. The periodicals should be as calming, uplifting, sober, inspiring, and challenging as their subject. Of course a serious search for and openness to new and invigorating writers would need to be undertaken, a real challenge since there is a paucity of such writers even now. Sincere and inspired writing doesn't work when it is confined in a timid, hidebound, institutional straitjacket. Would subscribers leave in droves if this were done? I doubt it, since there are no longer droves of subscribers to either to leave.
Note: To FL, Ms. Trammell has never to my knowledge responded with even the merest of burbles to any of the serious questions raised by the Planet Waves expose (in her own words no less) over a year and a half ago. It is obviously fanciful to think that the MC pontificate would condescend to respond to a noisome midge such as I. As with politicians, only worshipful admirers are privileged to be graced by access to their holinesses' ear and tongue. To quote John Collins Bossidy, with a few slight changes:
And this is good old Boston,
The home of the bean and the cod,
Where Ms. Trammell talks only to Talbot,
And Talbot talks only to God.