It's easy-and human-to apply labels according to our assumptions. But we know that categorizing anything, especially whole groups of people, is risky business. Latinos are frequently seen as a monolithic community-particularly by pundits and pollsters in this election season-but as our writers tell us, they're anything but. Former Sojourners staffer Aaron McCarroll Gallegos and Azusa Pacific University professor Arlene Sánchez Walsh look at one of the most misunderstood groups, Latino Pentecostals, and write about the ways in which Latino Pentecostals are not only defying labels, but defining themselves.
Sorting out misunderstandings is part of the work of the "Evangelical Christian-Muslim Dialogue," which brought together 50 scholars and others from the two traditions for three days of deep conversation earlier this year in Tripoli, Libya. Sojourners editor Jim Rice traveled to North Africa to attend the meetings and found that, as is often the case, the most important connections occurred not only during the academic presentations in the formal sessions but in the small, human interactions around meals, breaks, and prayer together.
And speaking of labels, Jim Wallis has certainly experienced his share of them, but he was surprised to find the title that greeted him at a book event in Portland, Oregon. The marquee of the Bagdad, a 1920s-era movie theater at which Jim was speaking, displayed the title of the theater's current film, American Gangster. The name right below? "Jim Wallis." We're pretty sure it was just coincidence.