Nick is an athletic young man of 17, blessed with a keen mind and a vocal conscience. He’s also a gifted artist who appreciates the presentation of ideas most when arguments are made with a combination of creative graphics and plain truth. He’s not much for hyperbole or self-righteous preaching. Like most in his generation, he can spot a hypocrite a mile away.
Nick’s Christian faith sets him apart from the humanistic culture that pervades Arlington County, Virginia, where he lives. He wants to be clear about what he believes and why -- but it’s a challenge to find materials that speak to his need for truth and thought in a manner he can relate to.
When I recently came across a new magazine, Salvo, my heart skipped a beat.
You see, Nick is my son. And there’s nothing in the world I want more than to equip him to be the man God created him to be.
I brought my copy of Salvo home one afternoon and left it on the table that sits in our kitchen/family room. Nick entered the room a bit later. Within seconds, his eye and curiosity were caught by both the word “Salvo” and the techno-graphic depiction of a young man whose mind was clearly being blasted out of the back of his head by a jumble of electronic gadgets. Nick picked up the magazine and thumbed through it. He then sat down at the table and began reading. After about 10 minutes of intense concentration, he moved to the couch where he proceeded to devour the strange item in his hands. After about 30 minutes, he looked up in amazement and said, “Everyone I know needs to read this. It will make most of them really mad, but they need to see it.”
Although I wrote about Salvo just a couple of weeks ago, the opportunity to reach our youth in such a powerful way is so rare that I would be remiss if I failed to stress the value of Salvo again. After all, I’ve actually witnessed its effect on a member of its target demographic.
Salvo is a quarterly publication, and you can subscribe or secure a copy of the autumn 2006 premiere issue, which covers everything from euthanasia to evolution. The Salvo team presents the moral side of these issues so skillfully that young adults who might normally tune out a stodgy lecture will find themselves absorbed -- and beginning to realize there’s another side to these issues -- namely, a moral perspective that works. A quick trip to www.SalvoMag.com is certain to whet your appetite for more.
It won’t be easy for the editors of Salvo to break through the media clutter out there, but they are certainly up to the task. And they’re jumping into a traditionally ripe market. As a Kaiser Family Foundation study titled Tweens, Teens and Magazines notes, “Ever since Seventeen magazine made its debut in the 1940s, teen magazines have been one of the most successful genres of magazines.” Still, the competition is stiff, which is why the editors of Salvo are wise to take a less traditional approach -- namely, challenging teens and young adults to actually think and reason.
Children and teens consume more and more media these days -- often in their own bedrooms, away from the supervising eye of a parent, another Kaiser study shows. So it’s more important than ever that they get “the other side” of the important issues of the day. Your moral views are going to be heavily outweighed by secular views that will strike teens and young adults as smart and reasonable. Salvo can help redress that imbalance.
Of course, to do that, it needs to attract readers -- and judging by the positive feedback the editors have been getting (along with many subscription orders), Salvo is doing just that. One reader wrote: “My own straw poll among teens and twentysomethings I know indicates that Salvo is a resounding success. They loved it, whether they just skimmed through and laughed at the fake ads and features, or read a whole article. I intend to subscribe, and the youth pastor is considering signing my church up as well. It’s not like anything else.” A parent adds: “I casually put Salvo in a place where my 15-year-old daughter would run across it, and she told me that she found it edgy indeed! It started a conversation or two for us.”
The bottom line is, there’s a war between competing points of view out there -- a war that matters deeply. Thanks to slickly produced TV shows, magazines, movies and Web sites, your teenager is definitely hearing from the side that spurns traditional morality. With the help of publications such as Salvo, you can start to even those odds.
Salvo is published by The Crux Project. Although I firmly believe it can sweep the nation with the proper marketing and become self-sustaining, the first year of publication needs your support. Please consider making a donation. My husband and I wrote out a check to them today. We can think of no better way to show our love to the younger generation than to help provide them with materials that will challenge their thinking, enrich their spirituality and transform their lives.
Please consider ordering a subscription for every older teen and young adult you know. And if the spirit leads, please also consider writing a tax-exempt check to The Fellowship of St. James and be sure to mark it as funds for Salvo.