After nearly five years in Japan, my family and I came back to the U.S. in 1971 for a year’s furlough from our missionary work there. During those years I had been a full-time faculty member at Seinan Gakuin University for five semesters. There was considerable student unrest on campus, much of it protest against the war in Vietnam.
Since we lived in southwest Missouri during our year back in the States, I saw little student unrest in the U.S. directly, but I saw and heard about that unrest on TV and radio. I also read about anti-war protests and other student activities in newspapers and magazines.
During that academic year of 1971-72, I somehow heard about a new movement that called themselves the People’s Christian Coalition. And early on I became a subscriber to their publication which they called The Post-American. The editor of the new 16-page tabloid-style quarterly periodical was Jim Wallis, who was a 23-year-old student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School at the time.
A few years later I purchased a bound copy of the first twelve issues of The Post-American, and it was very nostalgic for me this evening to run across it and to look through it again. Here is a picture of the first page of the first issue.
Last month I posted an article on this blogsite (see here) about how I was influenced by the book The New Left and Christian Radicalism by Art Gish. I was likewise influenced by The Post-American–and there is an advertisement for Gish’s book in the second issue, so that is probably how I learned about it.
When the first issue of the second volume of the publication was published in Jan. 1973, there were 18 people listed as contributing editors. Gish, who had an article in three of the first four issues, was one of them. You may have heard of some of the other 17, people such as Sen. Mark Hatfield, Richard Mouw, Clark Pinnock, William Stringfellow, and John Howard Yoder.
Later, Wallis and some of his People’s Christian Coalition friends moved from the suburbs of Chicago to Washington, D.C. They changed the name of their community and the publication to Sojourners. And now over 45 years later, Jim Wallis is still Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, which continues to have influence across the nation and the world.
I remain grateful for The Post-American/Sojourners. From its beginning to the present my understanding of the meaning of Christian discipleship has been and continues to be very favorably impacted by its ongoing emphasis on faith in action for social justice.