The Common Good
Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Julie Polter

Senior Associate Editor

Julie grew up barefoot and semi-feral on a farm in the northwest corner of Ohio. At 18 she began winding her way east, drawn by easy access to black clothing and strong coffee. She took a right turn in Boston and ended up in Washington. Her education includes early childhood immersion in “Gilligan’s Island,” English literature at Ohio State University, theology at Boston University, and a recent M.F.A. degree in creative nonfiction from George Mason University. The latter has led to research and writing about the people who have lived in her Columbia Heights house and neighborhood over the past century or so. Julie also learned much, some of it useful, while sharing an office with art director Ed Spivey for a dozen years; she now has her own space, but doesn’t miss Ed, since his office is next door and the walls are thin.

Julie’s abridged list of inspirations: Flannery O’Connor, Dorothea Lange, David Sedaris, Zora Neale Hurston, Rev. Billy. The gospel according to pop: indie music, 60s pop and soul, ‘ 70s funk & punk, on it goes. Eastern North Carolina barbecue. “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” A grandmother who never stopped praying, despite poverty, abuse, and ill health. The other grandmother, who once gave a house away. My mother, questioning, sarcastic, dreaming of more than she ever got. The three amazing young women who are my nieces. Peg & beam barn construction. Belle & Sebastian’s “State That I’m In.” The Perseids meteor showers. Ezekiel’s performance art prophecy. Diner communions (finding Christ in vinyl-upholstered booths).

Some Sojourners articles by Julie Polter:

Replacing Songs with Silence
Censorship, banning, blacklists: What’s lost when governments stifle musical expression?

It’s the Sprawl, Y’all
Why suburbs-on-steroids are wearing out their welcome. 

Extreme Community
A glimpse of grace and abundance from - of all things - reality TV.

The Politics of Fear

The Cold Reaches of Heaven
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Bill Phillips talks about his faith.

Just Stop It
Daring to believe in a life without logos. An interview with journalist Naomi Klein.

Called to Stand with Workers

Women and Children First
Developing a common agenda to make abortion rare.

Obliged to See God (on Flannery O’Connor)

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Blog Posts by Julie Polter

Posted by Catherine Woodiwiss, Julie Polter, Tripp Hudgins 7 weeks 3 days ago
Sufjan Stevens’ newest album, Carrie & Lowell (out now), is a heartbreaking meditation on personal grief. It’s also joyful, baffling, and delicately mundane. In the spirit of a...
Posted by Julie Polter 25 weeks 4 days ago
The folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary had almost 50 years together until Mary Travers’ death in 2009. Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey continue as musicians and activists, and have reflected on their...
Posted by Julie Polter 2 years 49 weeks ago
NPR reports that Michigan state representative Lisa Brown was not allowed speak on other legislation yesterday after she made a speech against a bill restricting abortion in which she used the word "...
Posted by Julie Polter 3 years 2 weeks ago
Whenever there’s talk about honoring mothers and motherhood, I’m always looking for how we as individuals and a society will support the women—of any race, creed, or orientation--who have to scoop up...
Posted by Julie Polter 4 years 4 weeks ago

Articles by Julie Polter

Carrie & Lowell,  Asthmatic Kitty Records. 

How art can help us wrestle with race and brokenness. 

Paternal Insights edited by Anderson Campbell / Sing Freedom by Robert F. Darden / In Between by / More than Metaphor edited by Shelia E. McGinn, Lai Ling Elizabeth Ngan, and Ahida Calderón Pilarski. 




Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus. IVP Books.

Accidental Theologians by Elizabeth A. Dreyer / Extending the Table by Mennonite Central Committee / Overrated by Eugene Cho / Burning Down the House by Nell Bernstein