Barbecue Sauce, Bombs, and the Strange Juxtapositions of War | Sojourners

Barbecue Sauce, Bombs, and the Strange Juxtapositions of War

A night view Applebee's restraunt in New Hartford, N.Y., Mar. 20, 2020. Mahmoud Masad / Alamy

Maybe you’ve seen the now-viral clip: As air raid sirens wailed, a camera panned the skyline of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. The previous evening, Russia launched a full invasion of the independent democracy, prompting tens of thousands of Ukrainians to flee their homes. In the distance, the gold onion domes of a church glowed, architectural symbolism for divine light, intended to point worshippers to the world beyond.

Then CNN’s coverage abruptly cut to an Applebee’s commercial. Barbecue sauce dripped down crispy chicken, two frothy glasses of beer overflowed, and a cowboy in blue jeans wiggled his butt to Zac Brown Band’s song “Chicken Fried.”

The ugly juxtaposition evoked a widely shared 2013 poem by Ilya Kaminsky, who was born in Odessa, then part of the Soviet Union, now southern Ukraine: “in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money, / our great country of money, we (forgive us) / lived happily during the war.”

But while some of us live happily, others practice costly noncooperation with evil: In Russia, more than 1,700 people were arrested in protests against the attack on Ukraine and Putin. Texas pastors are standing up for trans kids. Some churches are standing with Uyghurs and others are refusing to pronounce easy “peace.” These stories are pinpricks of light, pointing us to world where darkness cannot overcome it.

1. Texas Pastors Vow to Protect Trans Youth, Despite Abbott’s Order
“If reducing child abuse really is the governor’s aim, this order does the exact opposite,” said one San Antonio pastor. By Bekah McNeel via

2. My Thoughts Are Not My Thoughts
I have bipolar II disorder, which is characterized by rock-bottom lows interspersed with occasional bouts of manic hyperactivity. After some tweaking of my antidepressant cocktail, this maelstrom, too, will pass. By Kathleen Founds via The Sun.

3. Inflation Is a Justice Issue. Biden Must Address It in State of the Union
The president’s Catholic faith emphasizes solidarity with those experiencing pain and centering those in poverty. By Adam Russell Taylor via

4. Attack on Ukraine Brings Rare Sight in Russia: Protests in Cities Against Putin and Invasion
A human rights group says over 1,700 have been arrested in protests against the attack on Ukraine. By Robyn Dixon via

5. The Olympic Committee Ignored the Uyghurs. This Church Didn’t
As the Beijing Olympics closed with a ceremony of flags and fireworks, one Seattle-area church hosted a different kind of event. By Carlos Snellenberg-Fraser via

6. Household Tyrants
The Republican push for “parental rights” comes at the cost of children. By Sarah Jones via the Intelligencer.

7. How Book Bans Hurt Kids and Hinder the Gospel
All kids need to know they are not bit players in someone else’s story. By Ryan Duncan via

8. Wendell Berry’s Advice for a Cataclysmic Age
Sixty years after renouncing modernity, the writer is still contemplating a better way forward. By Dorothy Wickenden via The New Yorker.

9. What Reparations Is Costing My Church
In 1882, Black members left my church due to racism. Healing that wound is costly grace. By Michael Woolf via

10. How Putin Is Exploiting Orthodox Rivalries in Ukraine
The Russian president says the government in Kiev is repressing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is attached to the Moscow Patriarchate. By Marguerite de Lasa via La Croix International.