I was working at a coffee shop with my friend Aina and as part of a conversation she said, “You have three children.” I have two daughters and no sons but she hadn’t miscounted. She was including Fathom. The baby.
With this issue, our baby turns one and like any first birthday it’s clothed in nostalgia. This week comes with the gentle sigh and side smile of a parent smitten with the child that’s changing before their eyes. Fathom has grown, of course, but I expected that. It’s the inklings of personality that have developed month after month that are so stunning to me.
Just like a parent, for our team, this thing feels so much like “ours,” except it’s not. We may have had plans for what we wanted Fathom to be, and some of those are unshakably bound up in its DNA, but the nature of our magazine met the nurturing care of new editors and readers and writers. And I’m proud of the baby on our hip.
But first birthdays aren’t just about nostalgia—they’re for dreaming. The possibilities of where we’ll go from here are thrilling! As the Fathom team thought about the future we couldn’t help but feel hope. Who our magazine is after just a year into existence gives us dreams of what it could be when we are celebrating three or five or ten years.
So, this anniversary issue is all about hope.
In this month’s feature piece, Richard Clark dismantles the habits that weaken our hope and rebuilds for us the unexpected ones that become guardians of it.
Abby Perry questions our culpability when people in the spotlight dash our hopes, and Aarick Danielsen uses the albums of Derek Webb and David Bazan to remind us that sometimes finding hope starts with fighting doubt and disbelief.
In her second Fathom article, Jessica Hooten Wilson explores the mind of Flannery O’Connor on the issue of suffering.
If you want to know where our hope for the good life abides, you won’t want to miss the excerpt of Sharon Hodde Miller’s new book, Free of Me. And just to bring the point home that hope isn’t something that comes from having things just the way we like them, Brett McCracken answers some questions about his new book, Uncomfortable, on accepting the awkwardness of Christian community.
And in part two of our exploration into the inner life of a gay Christian, we get to see how one man hopes our community will interact with the gay men and women in our churches.
In his playful short story “I Like Like You,” Fathom assistant editor J. D. Wills tells us the inner monologue of a guy looking to score a first date. There are few hopes like that of a possible relationship.
My pride in what we’ve done is most rooted in the people who’ve accomplished it. The people who have contributed to Fathom these past twelve months have given us a renewed hope in future dialogue and the Christian publishing scene, where people of different backgrounds, skin colors, and theological variations can come together to talk about what it means to be truly human.
My four-year-old asked me if I was going to celebrate “Favom” with “one hundred million sprinkles.” I told her I’d rather have one hundred million page views, but that sprinkles sounded like a good alternative. This month we celebrate all that Fathom’s been and raise our hopes for its future along with our champagne glasses. I hope you’ll join us. We couldn’t have raised this one-year-old without you. You know what they say, it takes a village.
Cover image by Thomas Beckett.
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