O Magnificent King: About Mirificam Press
Mirificam Press is a modern oddity. In fact, with no historical context, it seems almost to be an anomaly, a quirky little blip. The thought of applying the Christian worldview to a “secular” vocation is completely foreign to contemporary thinking. But historically this approach is no anomaly. Right now, in fact, most of western society stands on the shoulders of those who before us relentlessly pursued this approach in every area of life.
Robert Estienne and “O Mirificam”
The name “Mirificam Press” is a reference to the second edition of Robert Estienne's ground-breaking Greek new testament printed in 1549. At the height of the Reformation it was referred to simply as "O Mirificam" because its preface began with the phrase “O Magnificent King”. Estienne was the web designer of his time. Incredibly talented in multiple creative disciplines, he combined his work in graphic design, translating, and the newly developed printing press to be a prolific shaper of culture. He is credited as one of the first printers to use the type developed by Claude Garamond, he divided the Bible up into the chapters and verses we still use today, and he printed the first edition of John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion.
Yet, with all his knowledge and talent, with all his accomplishments, Robert Estienne humbly applied a Christian worldview to everything he did. His motto, embedded into his personal seal, was Romans 11:20, “...Be not high minded, but fear...”. In context, the verse is a warning from the Apostle Paul to the early gentile Christians not to be arrogant in their knowledge of truth. Robert Estienne chose this verse because he understood that in the deepest sense all accomplishments flow from the grace of God.
It is likewise the purpose of Mirificam Press to deliberately pursue a holistic Christian approach to the vocation of web design. This holistic Christian worldview is exactly what the label implies—all-encompassing. No mental sector is off limits, no secular forum out of bounds, no second unclaimed. The Christian worldview has something to say about absolutely everything. Mirificam Press challenges its readers to pursue excellence in craft and holiness in approach. It shouldn't surprise you to find a “secular” CSS tutorial on Mirificam Press right next to an article about the theological significance of web design. It is not the purpose of Mirificam Press to tear secular away from sacred, as is often done, but to bring them together and show how they function as a cohesive whole.
All the articles on Mirificam Press are currently written by Matthew Griffin, independent web designer in Midland, Texas. Matthew has enjoyed success in his tenure as a web designer, earning a number of industry awards including a 2006 SXSW web award nomination. Although he has worked as a web designer since 2000, it wasn't until 2005 that Matthew became a serious student of Christian theology and worldview. He immediately became aware of the dramatic disconnect between the holistic Christian system found in the Bible and the surface level "personal faith" that pervades contemporary Christianity. In late 2007 he began writing about it on his blog Bits O' NewMedia. Within eight months the content had outgrown the blog and it was time for a change. Thus Mirificam Press was born. A considerable amount of content in the Mirificam Press archives was actually ported over from Bits O' NewMedia.Matthew has plans for future expansion of Mirificam Press to include multiple authors and provide a curriculum for aspiring Christian web designers.