The Common Good

Blog Posts By Anne Marie Roderick

Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 1 year 25 weeks ago
Editor's Note: Anne Marie Roderick tells her story of why she's NOT part of the 20 percent of Americans who identify with "no religion in particular." Find more stories (or share your own) HERE. Read about the study HERE.It’s not surprising that a third of my peers say they are religiously unaffiliated. Our religious lives are too complex these days to fit in neat boxes with one-word labels.  I may be a “Christian,” but does that mean that I am like other Christians? Not necessarily.There is sometimes more truth in being a “none” — in stating what we are not — rather than trying to pin down exactly what we are. But, I choose to affiliate anyway. Here’s why I am not a “none:"
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick, Joshua Witchger 1 year 42 weeks ago
As we attended workshops and concerts, met new people, and tried to make sense of the larger impact this gathering might have beyond us, we kept coming back to that statement we heard early on about Walter Wink. What is Christian imagination? How do we imagine Christianity? Whatever it means, imagining Christianity is exactly what happened at Wild Goose.Here's an example: Throughout the weekend, Fullsteam, a craft brewery in nearby Durham owned by an alumnus of Wheaton College (yes, that Wheaton) sold selling beer to quench the thirst of Goosers during late night sessions and performances (a la Homebrewed Christianity, etc.). And on Saturday afternoon — call it an early evening happy hour — a group of rag-tag musicians, armed with a few folk instruments, a trumpet and percussion, led a jolly crowd of more than 100 in Sunday School choruses and old-timey spirituals. They called it, “Beer and Hymns."There, caught up in a holy wind of hops and hope, we reimagined what church might be during an ad hoc version of “He’s got the Whole World in His Hands.” We the motley worshippers alternated “He’s got the whole world” with “She’s got the whole world,” proudly singing at the top of our lungs, “She’s got the liberals and conservatives / the gays and straights / and a big ole mug of beer/ in her hands.”
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 1 year 49 weeks ago
There is a beautiful story that some Christians have learned to tell about motherhood. This story is one of strength, faith, sacrifice, loss, and unconditional love. Our Biblical mothers, from Eve to Mary and everyone in between (Sarah, Leah, Rachel, Jochebed (the mother of Moses), Bathsheba, Hannah, and Elizabeth to name a few) provide examples of women who defied societal constraints to protect their children; who gave them up so that their children might prosper; who supported, loved and nurtured their sons absolutely, without the expectation that that same love would be returned to them. In Mary’s story we are called to appreciate the mother who shepherded truth and salvation into the world, whose faith made our faith possible today. The Christian story of motherhood is one I am proud to tell and one I hope to live into one day. On Mother’s Day, we have the opportunity to reflect on the gifts of motherhood, to lift up the mother’s among us and recognize their strengths, sacrifices, and wisdom--what a beautiful idea. But the problem, in our society, is that one day of cards and flowers just doesn’t cut it. For most of the other 364 days of the year, the lives of women and mothers are undervalued. 
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 2 days ago
I opened up the NY Times homepage yesterday to find this headline: On Witness Stand, Norwegian Says He Would Kill Again.  Remember this guy?  The Times says authorities have described Anders Behring Breivik as a “fundamentalist Christian…obsessed with what he saw as the threat of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration to the cultural and patriotic values of his country.” He killed 77 people, including 68 teenagers, in Norway last summer. Although Breivik admits to the murders, he doesn’t believe he should be held criminally accountable—he believes his actions were preventive measures, or, “self-defense.”
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 5 weeks ago
We’ve been hearing a lot in the news media lately about women’s bodies. Just when we thought the messy fight over contraception was over, Democrats and Republicans are butting heads again over renewal of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, a once widely supported bill that is now being met with opposition from Republicans due to new provisions that “would allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence,” according to the New York Times.
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 15 weeks ago
According to the Chicago Tribune, new study from Northwestern University attempts to shed light on what the 1 percent actually believes about charitable giving and social problems. The study found that of the more than 100 interviewees with a median annual income of $7.5 million, most were enthusiastic about philanthropy and 92 percent were involved in some kind of volunteer activity.  Furthermore, the great majority of respondents cited budget deficits, unemployment, and education as the most pressing issues in the United States today. So, maybe the 1 percent isn’t so different from the 99 percent? Wrong.  
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 18 weeks ago
in the world is the Golden Calf? Remember that huge golden replica of the Wall Street Bull that led the faithful of New York to Zuccotti Park a couple months ago? Well, it’s back! And this time the iconic sculpture is serving as more than spectacle. Members of Catholics United, along with faith leaders and residents of Occupy DC, marched with the Golden Calf from McPherson Square to the Capitol on Thursday to deliver a petition in support of a bill that would raise taxes on the rich.“If we’re really concerned with the ‘least’ of our brothers and sisters, then cutting their resources isn’t the way to do it,” said Jason Miller, one of the artists who worked on the Calf and a member of Catholics United. “We need to get rid of the deficit, but not on the backs of the poor.”
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 19 weeks ago
Last week, 2001 cases were resolved — many were dropped and others left offenders with minor fines. People who showed up to the event also received resources and assistance for services related to health, housing, employment, and education. While the program is not explicitly religious, church and clergy involvement shed light on the Christian spirit of the initiative. Project Safe Surrender is not quite Jubilee— offenders aren’t guaranteed amnesty — but there is a taste of the Resurrection.
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick, Joshua Witchger 2 years 20 weeks ago
Today marks the anniversary of World AIDS Day. The USAID estimates that since the epidemic began, over 60 million people have been infected with the disease, and over 25 million lives taken.One of the most prominant figures fronting the fight against AIDS is U2 frontman, Bono. In 2002, Bono became vocal about the epidemic, embarking on a tour across the American Midwest to recruit churches to join the fight against AIDS in Africa. In Christianity Today’s 2003 feature “Bono’s American Prayer,” (written by Sojo’s own Cathleen Falsani) he articulates the crucial role the church must play in combating the epidemic."If the church doesn't respond to this, the church will be made irrelevant. It will look like the way you heard stories about people watching Jews being put on the trains. We will be that generation that watched our African brothers and sisters being put on trains."
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 20 weeks ago
As many of us head back to work or school and continue to recover from our post-Thanksgiving-turkey-induced food comas, let us remember that November is National Adoption Month.  While we can be thankful that over 1.5 million children have found permanent homes through adoption (according to 2000 census), there are still 107,000 young people awaiting adoption in the U.S. foster care system. National Adoption Month, which began in 1995 under President Clinton, seeks to celebrate and raise awareness about adoption around the country.  Today, the White House is sponsoring an event to honor National Adoption Month with “senior Administration officials, members of the President’s Cabinet, adoption and child welfare experts and advocates, and religious leaders,” according to the White House blog for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. 
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 21 weeks ago
If you thought all of the occupiers would go indoors for Thanksgiving, think again. In spite of the recent police raid, hundreds of occupiers, activists, and community members are breaking bread together in Zuccotti Park. The OWS Kitchen working group estimates over 3,000 meals will be served with the support of local families, restaurants, and organizations who are opening their kitchens to the movement. When I got down to Zuccotti Park around 2:30pm there was a joyful calm in the area—friends and strangers eating together on the now bare marble benches, others walking around offering pecan pie, vegan meal plates, and other holiday snacks to anyone interested, and a small group of folksy looking people singing “This Land is Your Land” and “We Shall Not Be Moved” with guitars and cymbals. A nice reclamation of the Thanksgiving meal—less like the oppressive tale of pilgrims and native people we learned about in school; more like Jesus feeding the thousands, the beloved community, etc.
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 25 weeks ago
Did Jesus ever withhold love or healing for fear that he would give up too much of himself? Did Jesus ever worry that the nature of God would change if he ate at certain tables, or touched certain kinds of people? Of course not. The Bible tells us that Jesus continually stepped out of the normative comfort zones of his day to extend his message of radical reconciliation. I realized that my hesitation to embrace all people interested in an interfaith vision was mostly about my own fear, my own lack of faith. There was nothing Christ-like about it.
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 25 weeks ago
In my vision of the emancipated world, women will not be sitting at the top of some profit-driven society, relishing power and basking in material wealth. In the reign of God, women will be able to take the time we need to be mothers and daughters without having to let go of our more far-reaching aspirations. And men will have the time they need to be fathers and sons. We will love and value ourselves without playing into the false worldly notion that we can and should be "number one." And we won't be afraid to say "NO," when we're tired.
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 25 weeks ago
What would it be like to eat on a budget of $4.50 a day, the average daily allotment for the 45 million Americans who use food stamps? This week, the Sojourners interns are joining other faithful folk nationwide in finding out!
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 26 weeks ago
Churches play the unique role of seeing the big picture. We can call out the values and virtues of the issues. Let's not just worry about the poor in our own communities, but the poor everywhere, the people everywhere who are struggling. We can't be private anymore. We must be living water for all people. People everywhere are leaving their private spaces and gathering together -- that's already church. This is a Holy Spirit moment.
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 27 weeks ago
As Christians we have a decision to make. In times of hopelessness and long periods of waiting for things to get better, will we let ourselves be cast into the all-consuming fires of idolatry? Or, will we stand up against the false gods and catch the flame of the Spirit in our hearts and minds? Our nation may very well be on the threshold of a crucial change. Who will you be standing with? As we waste time fanning capitalism's raging inferno, the best parts of ourselves remain frozen.
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick 2 years 28 weeks ago
Just a few days after I returned from my respite in the mountains, Israeli forces killed eight Turkish nationals and one American on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Protests erupted all over Israel and Palestine.In the midst of this tragic chaos I found myself visiting my yoga center more often than usual, hoping to find another glimpse of the peace I had tasted so vividly just a few days before. Perhaps these wise, centered people could offer a perspective that would look forward to a vision of understanding, or reconciliation -- a vision too often missed by politicians, military officials, media, and even activists.