Although the essays in this issue were not written in response to a call on a specific theme, each of them wrestles in its own way with possibilities for a different, non-imperial form of mission—one centered in trust in God, in care for the marginalized, in healing transformation of conflict, and in resistance to injustice. Anabaptism is no stranger to imperialism, having been its victim and its agent—and sometimes both at the same time. These essays are born of that acquaintance and point to a more healthy and just Anabaptist witness.
The legacy of boundary-crossing colonial mission includes massive displacement—of native peoples from their homelands in Africa and the Americas, and of the produce of many lands, such as sugar, tobacco, and opium, for imperial purposes. The coerced movement and violent destruction of bodies and goods entails further displacements of psyches and families, cultures and languages. Any theology of mission that commends Jesus’s call, that advises packing up and moving across borders, must reckon with the history of missional displacement.