We’ve set up camp in the outback of the spiritual commons. A bustling spot for the over-churched, out-churched, un-churched and maybe even the un-churchable. A location just beyond boring bitterness. A place for wannabe contemplatives, front-line world-changers and restless cranks. A place where the moon shines quiet, instinct runs mythic and belief rides a bike (or at least sits on the couch entertaining the possibility).
We explore the point at which word, action and image intersect, and then ignite. So let’s blaspheme the gods of super-powerdom, instigate spiritual action campaigns and revamp that old Picture Bible.
Why? Because it’s time we untangle the narrative of faith from the fundamentalists, pious self-helpers and religio-profiteers. And let’s do it with holy mischief rather than ideological firepower.
A word from the editor
Five years, 18 issues and counting, close to 2,000 subscribers, numerous awards and a good bit of buzz. It’s been a lively ride, and we’ve only begun to tap the deep well of creative force on the fringes of faith. This is a quick glimpse into the first five years of the Geez experiment.
A simple-living artist with a bedroom made of bubblewrap. A guy who walked 25 miles to meet friends for a movie. “Tiny houses” and sexy “Jesus Votes Republican” underwear. The Gospel Dilution Index and the first-ever Evangometer. We floated it all out there into the spiritual outback of the Geez readership.
We experimented with truth. We circumcised a big-business Bible, set some money ablaze, rode a bike 2,000 kilometers to launch a campaign, offered chaplaincy services to weary Christmas shoppers in a mall parking lot, and, when Franklin Graham brought his gospel of aggression to the doorstep of holy mischief, we addressed him in the national media.
We try to do something unlike any other publication – to be both reverent and irreverent, earnest and playful. Geez is Christian (or post-Christian, depends how narrow your categories are) but not in a way that offends those who are overdosed on Sunday School simplifications. We answer ideology with mischief rather than with more ideology.
We’ve received spirited feedback from atheists and evangelicals, young and old. We’ve outraged critics and overjoyed supporters. We have subscribers in every province, every state and 15 other countries.
We were shortlisted four times for Best Spiritual Coverage at the UTNE Independent Press Awards and won in 2009.
We’ve taken home numerous Canadian Church Press awards including top honours for General Excellence (2010, 2014), First Place for layout and design (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014), First Place for socially conscious religious journalism (2009), First Place for Best Department (Civil Disobedience, 2013), and First Place for Best Photo Essay (2013, 2014).
At the Associated Church Press awards in the United States Geez got second place for the first-person article by Dan Leonard, “Lessons from a white, Republican male,” and second for Ryan Booth’s photo, “Boy not praying.” In 2014 we received first place for issue design (Geez 36), and for Colin Vandenberg’s photo essay, “Failure Stories” (Geez 35), as well as second place for General Excellence, and an Honourable Mention for our Civil Disobedience department.
At the Western Magazine Awards in Vancouver we were named Best New Publication (2007) and Magazine of the Year (2007).
In the media
“A stylish magazine in the tradition of Adbusters and Mother Jones … a surprisingly hip, bold take on Christianity.” – Maclean’s magazine (Canada’s news weekly)
“[Geez] pokes, piques and prods Christians, and the unconverted among its readers, to live out the revolutionary values of Jesus in a consumer-driven, postmodern, materialist world. [Darryl Brown] gives the magazine its sophisticated, edgy look.” – The Oregonian, Portland’s premiere daily paper
“Geez magazine, the Winnipeg-based Christian activism quarterly, won three honours recently at the Western Canadian Magazine Awards, gaining recognition for its unique combination of satire, critique, social consciousness, and just plain quirkiness.”– Winnipeg Free Press
“Not your average Christian magazine . . . Geez approaches the ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’ problem by laughing at itself, and by tackling the big serious questions with a wildly diverse range of perspectives.” – Alison Gillmor, CBC.ca
In addition, Geez has been featured in: Dallas Morning News (North America’s premiere daily religion section), Chicago Sun Times, Toronto Star, Winnipeg Free Press, Tapestry, national CBC Radio (feature-length interview, selected for summer re-broadcast), Sounds Like Canada, national CBC Radio, SojoMail (reprint of Geez material), Listen Up TV (Canada, national), YES! Magazine, This Magazine.
We don’t want to sound immodest, but we want to give you a glimpse of emails that come in.
“We love Geez! It’s whipsmart, thoughtful, and beautiful to look at. We’re all big fans here.” – Anurag Dhir, Managing Editor, Ascent Magazine, Montreal (they received Utne’s 2005 Independent Press Award for Best Spiritual Coverage)
“I like the magazine very much. I think it is a great idea to reach out to the religious folk on the fringe of the churches, yet still be committed.” – James Profit, S.J., Director, Ignatius Jesuit Centre, Guelph, Ontario
“I just love [Geez 01]. I think the whole Adbusters-style pictorial-narrative thing is great. And you’ve created a terrific sense of adventure, surprise, and irreverent reverence in it.” – Jon Spayde, author and former Senior Editor, Utne magazine
“I’m a fan of your magazine, and [De-Motorize Your Soul] looks like a great campaign.” – Jessica Johnston, Editor, This Magazine, Toronto
“Good luck over there, and keep it going – there’s a nice exciting buzz around your magazine!” – Chris Chambers, Magazines Canada newsstand distribution
“For the past few years I have characterized myself as struggling to hold onto the Christian church with my fingernails. Thank you for providing me with the encouragement to hang on”. – Carolyn Foard-McPhail, Calgary, Alberta
“I’m five days into North America after 458 in Bolivia. Your publication fed my hope that my destiny is neither consumer nor hipster.” – Robb Hoover, Chatham, Illinois
“I have to respect a magazine that starts off its letter section with a reader saying ‘Geez claims everything but says nothing.’ This kind of editorial decision says there is more to being right than just being right. And it says contradiction is not as bad as compromise.” – Tim Gapinski, Noblesville, Indiana
“I need to be part of what you’re doing. There is a longing in my soul to be more than I am, but my only mechanisms for revolt are too entrenched in ways that cause my soul to rot. In fact, last night, no word of a lie, I woke up in a cold sweat with swirling memories of my demise from pastoral stardom to coffee shop obscurity.” – Brad Sorensen, Ottawa, Ontario
“I am spreading the word to friends about Geez. They represent almost every faith, including none, and are living proof that no one group has a corner on true nobility of spirit.” – Xristi Megas, 71 years old, Oakland, California
“I am pissed off at the Religious-not-so-Right, baffled by evangelicals, weirded-out by the shaking-and-falling down charismatics and mystified by Catholics. When I picked up Geez, it fairly screamed, ‘This is home for you girl. Read and be inspired.’” – Robyn MacKraus-Holukoff, Calgary, Alberta
Geez was founded in 2005, and is published by Geez Press Inc., an independent, not-for-profit corporation registered in the province of Manitoba. Geez is non-profit, ad-free (so far), printed on 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and committed to the Lubicon Slowdown (no Geez money goes to air travel).
Geez is printed in Canada by Friesens, in Altona, Manitoba.