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Launched in 1967, Mission was a forum for theological reflection on issues such as race, gender, war and peace-making, the place of the church in urban society, the nature and implications of Restorationism and critical Biblical and historical scholarship.
Bob Turner, in his preface to this oral history project, describes Mission's character as "unique—sort of Sojourners meets Village Voice meets MAD Magazine. It was smart enough to provoke a theologian but accessible enough to put on your coffee table; classic enough to attract intellectuals in the 1960s but avante garde enough to get picked up by a college kid a generation later. It was unquestionably the literary counterculture of Church of Christ periodicals for two decades."
His oral history compiles reflections from some of the key persons involved in Mission from its founding to its closure in 1988: Dwain Evans, Don Haymes, Richard Hughes, Victor Hunter, Warren Lewis, and Thomas Olbricht.
Thomas Olbricht provides in this essay, New Journals for the Sixties: Restoration Quarterly and Mission an extended reflection and assessment of the impact of these journals. Drawing from his deep insider involvement in Mission and from Abe Malherbe's in Restoration Quarterly, Olbricht situates them within the journalistic, editorial, theological and historical contexts of the 1950s-1970s Churches of Christ.
Finally, Greg McKinzie conducted an interview-style session at the 2017 Christian Scholars' Conference, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN, dedicated to recording the stories of Dwain Evans, Vic Hunter, and Richard Hughes in the production of Mission Journal. Participants reflected on the motivations, hardships, and successes of publishing thoughtful, courageous content during a tumultuous time for the country and for Churches of Christ. What were the personal costs? How did the journal evolve and why? What would they do differently if they had it to do over? And what is the legacy of Mission for today?
Mission on ACU DigitalCommons contains the full run of the journal, from volume 1, number 1 issued in July 1967 to the final issue, volume 21, numbers 5-6, issued in December 1987-January 1988. This digital archive ensures Mission is widely and easily available for historical research and continued reflection on the issues it raised and discussed.
The digitization initiative was led by Greg McKinzie, Executive Editor of Missio Dei Journal, Bob Turner, Librarian at Harding School of Theology and ACU Director of Special Collections and Archives Mac Ice.
The digitization of Mission Journal was made possible through the generous financial support of Carl and Linda Stem of Overland Park, KS.
Digitization was carried out in 2018-2019 by ACU Library staff Amanda Dietz (Archivist), Cayla Savari and Julia Teel (student workers), and Mac Ice (Director of Special Collections and Archives).
Mission Journal Oral History Interview