A prophet unwelcome : motive magazine, the Methodist Student Movement, and midcentury Methodism.


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motive magazine (1941-1972) was the official magazine of the Methodist Student Movement and, for several of its final years, for the University Christian Movement as well. Controversial from the beginning, motive stood apart from contemporary campus ministry publications with its featuring of avant-garde art, leftist political and social commentary, and engagement with radical theology. The narrative that has accompanied motive’s legacy tells of a progressive and prophetic publication that succumbed to the censure of an oppressive denominational governing board. This thesis, however, will argue that identity politics, organizational instability, and financial troubles were largely responsible for the magazine’s demise. This work will contend that by jettisoning faith as its distinguishing factor, motive ceded its unique status as one of the last bastions of faith-based, grassroots liberal activism and social commentary, and will suggest that this space would come to be filled by the evangelical left directly following the magazine’s undoing.



Religion. Culture.