The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

The Sneaky Progressivism of 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

But this isn’t just a movie about brooding wanderers and spectacular car crashes. The women of Fury Road are the ones who get most of the attention, and who are undeniably the heroes of the film. They are tough, and know how to take care of themselves, but also represent their world’s best hope for change. The film frequently juxtaposes the difference between their compassionate, renewal-focused instincts, and Immortan Joe’s destructive excess.

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Weekly Wrap 5.15.15: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

1. BB King, Blues Legend, Dead at 89
"The crowds treat me like my last name. When I go onstage people usually stand up, I never ask them to, but they do. They stand up and they don't know how much I appreciate it." — BB King, in a 2013 Rolling Stone interview.

2. The ‘Gang of Girls’ Risks Their Lives to Report from Inside a War Zone
Three of its editors have been killed, eight reporters detained and tortured, and 12 have fled the country. “In the ensuing void of order and information, Enab Baladi has become one of the most prominent independent publications of the war. That it's largely female-staffed is extraordinary. Women are barely represented in the government or in opposition groups—and certainly not in the Islamist gangs that control large swaths of the country. Yet the female editors and reporters have driven deeper coverage of how war affects civilians, families, and day-to-day life for millions of Syrians.”

3. WATCH: Divestment 101: What Do People Mean When They Say Divest?
To learn more, go to sojo.net/divest.

What We Mean When We Say DIVEST

What do we mean when we say DIVEST?

Posted by Sojourners on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

4. There Are No Urban Design Courses on Race and Justice, So We Made Our Own Syllabus
“Instruction at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design is based in the work of architects whose worldviews don’t give heavy weight to social problems.” In that vein, here is a suggested reading list for urban designers to begin problem-solving and creating solutions for real-world environments. 

5. Congrats! You Have an All-Male Panel!
The public shaming tumblr calls out events and conferences that feature all-male experts. A humorous, if not altogether depressing, screen scroll.

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How to Forgive the 'Peeping Tom' Rabbi

The story of Rabbi Freundel is notorious: a nationally known figure, the rabbi of an important Orthodox congregation in Washington, who was disgraced after he secretly recorded women immersing in the mikvah ritual bath.

It is a sad story, one that certainly reveals the truth of the Talmudic comment: "When anyone commits a transgression in secret, it is as though he thrust aside the feet of the Divine Presence."

In the Washington area, where I live, there is shock over the Freundel scandal. I myself have struggled with what to tell people who ask me about how we should respond as a community. As a former student, I, too, was shocked.

But after much reflection, I think there are two primary responses: one personal, one communal.

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The Rise and Fall of American Christianity

The recently released Pew Research Center Report has revealed that Christianity within the United States is on the decline. Christians are freaking out and the fear mongering has begun — many seeing it as an apocalyptic sign of the moral downfall of our secular society coinciding with a theological weakening caused by “liberalism.”

Everyone seems to have an explanation of the data, and among Christians, the infighting has already begun, with most denominations rationalizing their growth, decline, or stagnancy by offering the same explanation: We’re theologically sound and remaining faithful to God while everyone else is getting it wrong.

What Christians must understand — and accept — about these statistics is that religious data about a country doesn’t accurately reflect its corporate actions pertaining to following Christ.

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Unless We Change: Children Lead the Way to Peace

Unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom heaven. (Matt. 18:3)

Jesus spoke these words as a response to a question from his disciples. Which of us, they demanded to know, was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus must have been struck by the contrast between his rivalrous disciples, so-called friends bickering and vying for attention, and the children who were playing nearby. He could have said, “I am, you silly gooses! Don’t compete with me – follow me!” But he had tried words before to no avail. So he summoned the children to show that greatness in the kingdom means playing joyfully in the moment with a humility that is heedless of rank or position. Only such as these, he explained, are able to know me and follow me.

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Southern Baptists to Open Their Ranks to Missionaries Who Speak in Tongues

Allowing Southern Baptist missionaries to speak in tongues, or have what some SBC leaders call a “private prayer language,” speaks to the growing strength of Pentecostal churches in Africa, Asia, and South America, where Southern Baptists are competing for converts and where energized new Christians are enthusiastically embracing the practice.

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'Where's God When...?' 3 Authors Launch Tour to Talk Loss, Doubt, and Healing

What’s it like to share your stories of loss to a room of hundreds? Wm. Paul Young (author of The Shack), Reba Riley (Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome), and Christian Piatt (PostChristian) are about to find out — and help others do the same. The three bestselling authors are launching a two-stop tour — "Where's God When..." — in Seattle and Portland on May 16 & 17, to help others hear, and share, their own stories of grief, heartbreak, and healing.

Sojourners sat down with the authors last week to talk loss, return to faith, and what it’s like to coordinate a tour focused on hard questions about God. Interview edited for length and clarity.  

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Italians Help Flood of Refugees in Pope Francis' Vision of a 'Church for the Poor'

Sitting outside the central train station here in eastern Sicily, a 16-year-old who would only give his name as “Simon” hunched his knees up to his chest and wrapped himself up into a ball. With little spoken English, the teenager from Eritrea has taken to miming the way he traveled across the Mediterranean.

He was one of around 325 migrants crammed into an overcrowded boat that left Libya earlier this month, only to lose power a few hours into the journey.

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Purple Solutions to Poverty

Robert Putnam, who spoke this Monday at Georgetown for the Catholic-Evangelical Summit on Overcoming Poverty, gives a great stump speech for poor kids who are falling through the cracks in our society. So much so that moderator John Carr described Putnam as an Old Testament prophet with charts — Isaiah, with a good grasp of Powerpoint.

Our culture has been terrible at providing opportunities to poor children. Putnam’s data finds that poor children have fewer chances to do well in school and less parental involvement, and are generally isolated from society and even from church. With this background, we shouldn’t be surprised that children who are born into poverty have trouble finishing college and building a stable, prosperous life.

Putnam calls this the "chief moral crisis of our time." 

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Orthodox Jewish Commencement Speaker Finds a Shabbat Workaround

When 2,500 students and their families gather on the upstate New York campus for the Watson School of Engineering graduation on Saturday, Greenberg will still take his place at the podium. And on jumbo screens on either side of the stage, he will watch himself deliver the graduation address he taped in the university’s video studio three days earlier.

 
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