Mitchell Atencio 9-17-2021

Art handlers adjust 'In the Omnibus' by the French artist Honore Daumier (1808 - 1879) at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane as the gallery together with Criminal Assets Bureau announce it's return following it's theft from the gallery. Brian Lawless via Reuters.

I have always been fascinated by heists. Maybe it was a youthful desire to sneak out and trick my parents (a desire that led me to failure every single time). Maybe is was the bravado and beauty of Neal Caffrey (played by Matt Bomer) on White Collar. Whatever it was, it was a fascination I put to rest as I matured to value integrity and simplicity. 

Abby Olcese 9-17-2021

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Searchlight Pictures

A biopic about Tammy Faye Messner, better known as Tammy Faye Bakker, is ripe for caricature. That face, covered with a rainbow of lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara. That voice, with its exaggerated Upper Midwest accent. Those televangelism broadcasts, where puppet shows and hymns were followed by direct pleas for money from Tammy Faye and her first husband, Jim Bakker. She’s an easy figure to ridicule. But The Eyes of Tammy Faye, a new biopic that shares its name with Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s 2000 documentary, blessedly avoids this trap.

Fletcher Harper 9-16-2021

Religious leaders should stop saying things like, “We must be good stewards of Creation” or “Our faith teaches us to protect the Earth” and instead getting comfortable saying things like: “ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and other oil and gas companies are systematically destroying the planet — and financial giants like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, BlackRock, and Vanguard are bankrolling the destruction.”

"Colorful Hands 3 of 3" by Annabelle Wombacher, Jared Mar, Sierra Ratcliff and Benjamin Cahoon via Unsplash.

My first foray into critical race theory was short-lived. I began by picking up Tommy J. Curry’s essay “Will the Real CRT Please Stand Up?” Three pages in I realized I did not know enough about race scholarship or CRT to appreciate his arguments.

JR. Forasteros 9-15-2021

On launch day, Meghan Fitzmartin, one of the writers for the issue (along with Joshua Williamson, Matthew Rosenberg, and Chip Zdarsky) tweeted, “My goal in writing has been and will always be to show just how much God loves you. You are so incredibly loved and important and seen…”

People in the United States have deeply conflicting understandings of our nation’s history: Are we a nation that guarantees “liberty and justice for all”? Or are we a nation that will continue to confine this promise to only certain Americans, falling short of realizing this promise for all? When we explore these questions, we start to see that many injustices that show up today have been with us since the nation’s founding.

Rashaad Thomas 9-09-2021

In this photo reviewed by US military officials, a detainee, whose name, nationality, and facial identification are not permitted, prays within the grounds of the Camp Delta 4 military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, on June 27, 2006. Reuters photo via Brennan Linsley/Pool (CUBA)

Muslim detainees at Guantanamo are “indefinite prisoners of war,” held on suspicion of crimes they may or may not have committed. It would be easy to believe that Guantanamo is unique in regards to how it treats those the United States has deemed its enemies. But in reality, Guantanamo is an extension of the U.S. prison system.

Josiah R. Daniels 9-09-2021

Valarie Kaur. Photo by Amber Castro; design by Mitchell Atencio.

On Sept. 15, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh man, was killed while he was planting flowers at the gas station he owned in Mesa, Ariz., becoming the first victim of post-9/11 hate crimes. For then-college student Valarie Kaur, the murder of “Balbir Uncle”— as he is known to Kaur and others in the Sikh community — was a pivotal moment.

David Leong 9-09-2021

Photo of Ground Zero "Steel Cross" by Carlos Restrepo via Shutterstock

What does it mean, now two decades past this traumatic event, to “never forget” 9/11? And why are we simultaneously encouraged to “move on from the past” when it comes to other great American tragedies, like the genocidal erasure of Indigenous peoples, or the horrific violence against Black people from chattel slavery through Jim Crow?

Rachel Lam 8-31-2021

For those of us who have a relative, friend, or church member suffering from mental illness, I pray we turn away from the dangerous belief that mental illness is something that can be prayed away. Keep praying, but stop telling us to pray in an effort to rid ourselves of mental illness because it gives more power to our shame. In addition to your prayers, take action that helps.

Kristopher Norris 8-31-2021

YouTube / Real Faith by Mark Driscoll

It would be too reductive — and too convenient — to suggest that Driscoll’s authoritarianism was solely a product of his brash, conservative theology. Catholic, mainline, and progressive Christians are not immune. Many forms of theology are susceptible to manipulation and abuse, and many others are intrinsically harmful — even if the damage isn’t always easy to discern.

Josiah R. Daniels 8-27-2021

Oil painting of Thelonious Monk by Roman Nogin

The only solution to this noisy world is good noise from people who are attuned to the world’s hurt.

Sergio Lopez 8-26-2021

Lorde in 'Solar Power' via YouTube

Lost in much of the promotional hype leading up to Solar Power was the quiet news that in the interim between her previous album and her latest, Lorde had started therapy. Famously private, she didn’t share much more than that, but she doesn’t need to — and anyway, the new sonic landscape of the album speaks for itself. Whereas the propulsive and explosive beats of Melodrama mirrored the rhythm of thoughts racing out of your control, the bubbly basslines of Solar Power reflect the steady progression of growth she’s experienced in the years since.

Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyer's Committee For Human Rights Under Law, speaks at a voting rights rally near the White House on Aug. 24, 2021, demanding that President Biden take actions to support voting rights. Photo by Bryan Olin Dozier/NurPhoto

On Tuesday, as the House passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, I was filled with hope for our democracy. But overshadowing that hope was moral indignation, as I realized that not a single Republican member voted in favor of the act — further proof that voting rights has metastasized into a hyper-partisan issue in 2021, despite its long history of bipartisan support.

Josiah R. Daniels 8-20-2021

Photo by Kimiya Oveisi via Unsplash.

Whenever I am writing, editing, or reading, it feels wrong to be without a cup of coffee (black, no sugar). I know I am not the only editor who feels this way. [Editor’s note: Can confirm] Also, I feel confident in speaking for the editorial team when I say the 10 stories we have picked for you this week are best enjoyed with a piping-hot cup of joe.

Danté Stewart 8-19-2021

A man searches the site of a collapsed hotel after Saturday's 7.2 magnitude quake, in Les Cayes, Haiti Aug. 16, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo

The earth quakes. It rumbles. It trembles, sort of like a roar, a shiver. I didn’t see it; I’ve never experienced it, but I heard the news. “1,900+ Haitians are believed to be dead,” the faint voice of the news reporter says over my car radio, “and hundreds are believed to be missing.”

Another headline reads: “The latest on Afghanistan as Taliban take charge.”

Another: “13-year-old Mississippi girl dies of COVID-19.”

Amar D. Peterman 8-17-2021

In our pursuit of justice, we must learn from projects like CRT which can illuminate the realities of multiracial communities in which the church ministers. To deny these realities or reject tools that help us perceive correctly, is to dishonor the call to neighbor-love and hospitality we have received.

Da'Shawn Mosley 8-17-2021

Aretha Franklin, Simone Biles, and Britney Spears deserve some respect.

Questions to help you use your privilege for the flourishing of all.

Jenna Barnett 8-13-2021

Christianity leaves a lot to interpretation — both biblically and apparently, culinarily.