Christian Standard editor Michael C. Mack was confined to bed rest after taking ill while reading Caleb Kaltenbach’s Christmas article that extrapolates Christian principles from the holiday classic movie, A Christmas Story.
“I don’t know what happened,” Mack said, blinking his eyes rapidly but unable to focus on anything. “I think Caleb may have somehow shot my eyes out . . . figuratively, of course.”
“The article is actually quite mesmerizing,” said Mack. “I had read through it once and was starting a second pass when a strange feeling came over me. I tried to stand to get a coffee or a Diet Coke—I can’t remember which—and I almost blacked out. I caught myself, and it was all I could do to get to the couch a few feet from my desk.”
The Center for Disease Control has sent a team to Mack’s house to investigate. A cryptographer joined them to check for possible encryptions or ciphers in Kaltenbach’s manuscript.
Mack thinks it was mere coincidence that he was “struck blind” while reading Kaltenbach’s article, but he is now somewhat hesitant to follow through with his original plan of publishing the article in the December issue . . . for mass consumption.
“In Acts 5 it talks about sick people being brought out into the streets so that Peter’s shadow might pass over them to heal them,” Mack said. “I’m just wondering if what I experienced might be similar to that, but in reverse. Is everyone who reads this article going to become sick?”
One of the main problems with pulling Kaltenbach’s article is that he’s already been paid, and killing an article that’s already been paid for . . . well . . . that’s virtually unheard of at the magazine. The last time it occurred is when Christian Standard purchased an article from Bob Russell about the evils of fluoridating water. (It turned out to be the wrong Bob Russell . . . the one from Waxahachie, Texas.)
Another problem is this: If Kaltenbach’s article is removed, what will take its place?
“We’re running 80 pages in December, so we’ve got to find something,” Mack said.
“We have an unsolicited submission from a minister in Nebraska about how to beat the winter blahs, but he doesn’t use any Scripture references, it’s not Christmassy and—frankly—it’s not very good,” Mack said. “The best thing going for it is that three people have read it and no one has gotten sick.”
So, in short, the magazine is in a bit of a pickle. Mack sent the article to Christian Standard Media publisher Jerry Harris for his review last week and he is expected to weigh-in soon, but Harris has not been heard from since.
“Boy I wish Peter were still walking around,” Mack said. “I feel terrible.”
The Christian Standard staff is mostly kidding.