As a young Christian in college, I read two magazines cover to cover: One was Cornerstone, the Rolling Stone-esque publication of the Jesus People USA in Chicago and PRISM, the membership magazine of Evangelicals for Social Action. Both of these voices stimulated my developing thoughts on what it meant to follow Jesus faithfully, as well as inspired me to live my new Christian life creatively and actively.
They did this by consistently combining church, evangelism, justice, and the arts as they kept Jesus in the center of it all. And by so doing, they provided hope that one can be a Christian and avoid being either a Bible-toting, flag-waving, evangelism-only right-winger or a Bible-slamming, flag-burning, social-justice-only leftist. Prism’s original tagline nailed it for me when it read, “America’s Alternative Evangelical Voice.” On my surly days, I imagined the tagline as being, “Making both the Right and the Left mad since 1994.”
Cornerstone ceased its print publication in 2003. PRISM is doing the same in 2014, with the last issue being the one you have in your hand. Am I sad? Words cannot express! But am I open to other ways that this alternative voice can be heard? Of course, I am; I must be. In a world that seems polarized more than ever before, we’re convinced that this voice, which heralds the gospel of God’s reign and all of its radical implications, needs to be heard louder than ever before. So however the next generation accesses and interacts with Truth these days, ESA will be there.
I am, however, genuinely sad that PRISM qua PRISM will no longer be. Just the other day, an incoming freshman at a nearby university recently shared with me his genuine, wide-eyed excitement upon stumbling upon an old issue. Not long afterward, a young couple in my church sent me the following text after reading the Summer 2014 issue: “We loved the magazine! Where do we sign up?” The enthusiasm of that freshman, as well as of that couple, reminded me of my own when I was first introduced to it. I remember the surge of adrenalin, the percolation of creative juices, the rise of hope to live a creative, relevant faith, and the avenues of action to change the world upon reading its maiden issue. Yes, PRISM did all of that for me, from the first issue (1994) to the last (2014).
So you’ll forgive me if I don’t embrace the new too quickly (whatever “new” will mean for ESA’s communications going forward). I will move on, but not before paying my respects to a deeply-reflective, aesthetically pleasing, life-changing magazine that has encouraged and challenged so many through the years. My deep appreciation goes out to Kristyn Komarnicki and all the amazing editors who went before her. PRISM Magazine, on behalf of all those who have been inspired by your pages, I salute you.
You can access the last issue online at http://prismmagazine.org/currentissue/, or if you would like a print copy, email me at email@example.com.