When I started my career as a professor and historian I never thought I would get into the business of asking for money. After twelve years of blogging at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, I decided it was time to bring my daily writing and curating into a larger conversation with other writers and thinkers. In April 2021 I joined my longtime collaborators Jay Green and Eric Miller in the formation of Current. You can learn more about what we are up to here. As the Executive Editor of Current I resonate with the words of James Weinstein, the historian who founded the magazine In These Times: “When I founded In These Times I thought I was going to be an editor, but I discovered that to keep it I had to become a beggar.”
Fortunately, most of our editors at Current have day jobs. None of us receives a cent for publishing Current. Right now, as Dorothy Sayers once said, we are “serving the work.” But we also have expenses. We pay our feature writers (and want to pay them more), we have a business manager, and we have ongoing maintenance costs. At this point, every dollar we receive from our paid members goes back into Current.
We often think about Current as a “little magazine.” In a piece on the tenth anniversary (1976) of the magazine Salmagundi, cultural critic Christopher Lasch (whose daughter Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn is a Current contributing editor) wrote:
The so-called little magazine, which addresses neither the mass market nor an audience of academic specialists, occupies a special position in the structure of American publishing. Instead of trying to please everybody, like the mass magazines, it speaks in its own voice. Although it addresses a select group of readers, as academic and scholarly journals do, these readers share neither a field of academic expertise nor a common interest in some particular field of research but something more elusive–a sensibility, allegiance to certain intellectual traditions, in some cases merely a common set of prejudices–which a good editor intuitively understands and cultivates.
Our editor Eric Miller is the keeper of this “sensibility” at Current. As the award-winning biographer of Christopher Lasch, he understands the tradition of the little magazine better than most. Meanwhile, Jay Green keeps all of our balls in the air as our managing editor. Current would not exist without his ability to turn our vision into reality.
Current has grown significantly over the last two years. We are thrilled that Nadya Williams has joined our team. A Princeton-trained ancient historian with a fascinating life journey that includes stops in the Soviet Union and Israel, Nadya is our book review editor and curator of The Arena blog. Robert Erle Barham, a brilliant wordsmith and professor of English, brings an artistic flair and a moral vision to our pages, recruits many of our creative writers, and serves as deputy editor. Robert Erle’s colleague at Covenant College, Sarah Huffines, works with writers in her role as Associate Editor. Christine Walter, a former administrative assistant in the Soviet embassy (with a degree in Russian Studies) runs the business side of things. And Ben Martin, web-designer extraordinaire, keeps our site functioning with graciousness and good cheer.
We are honored that so many great writers and intellectuals have joined our team of contributing editors and, in the process, supported our vision. Thanks to Vincent Bacote, M. Elizabeth Carter, Agnes Howard, Adam Jortner, Christina Bieber Lake, Timothy Larsen, Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, Shirley Mullen, Jeremy Sabella, Elizabeth Yukiko Weichbrodt, and Daniel K. Williams for believing in us, writing for us, and cheering us on.
So how can you support our work?
Perhaps you enjoy our daily features or one of our blogs. Maybe you are a longtime reader of The Way of Improvement Leads Home and have benefited from our Author’s Corner interview series (over 500 interviews with American historians and counting!), our twice-weekly Evangelical Roundup, or our coverage of politics and higher education.
Whatever the case, we hope you will join us for this ride. Our MEMBERSHIP tiers start at $5.00 a month. When you click the red MEMBERSHIP button above you will see the benefits associated with those tiers, including a discounted rate for full-year membership. You can also sign-up with a two-week free trial. Members at any level get access to all of our published materials. You will never have to deal with the paywall again!
As always, thank you for your generosity. We do not run ads at Current, so if you have benefited from our work here, please consider supporting our work!
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