Christopher Thyberg 10-19-2018

Tucker Carlson. Photo by Gage Skidmore. 

For too many Christians, the argument that we should love others because Jesus told us to becomes a begrudging obligation rather than a willful choice. If the only thing that drives Christians to accept disenfranchised people is Jesus, there is a lack of authenticity in that connection. The implication is that without Jesus, there would be no intrinsic value to diversity.

Donald Trump at a rally in Kansas. Oct. 6, 2018. Shutterstock.

A new study published in Christianity Today claims to debunk dominant narratives around the 81 percent of white evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump in 2016. New York Times columnist David Brooks shared it and concluded: “Many Evangelicals voted for Trump, reluctantly, because of economics and health care more than abortion and social issues.” If this sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is.

The work of liberation is long and hard, but music is one way we are sustained and renewed. I asked women in the throes of decolonization, activism, community organizing, pastoring, and liberative writing what songs encourage them as they engage in the work of justice and resistance. Here are their responses. 

Jim Wallis 10-17-2018

Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

It just keeps happening. Voter suppression that is. Too many political leaders — who are disproportionately white — will use every option available to try and prevent some — disproportionately people of color — from voting. It just keeps happening, and many Americans either don’t know, don’t care, or wholeheartedly favor denying their fellow citizens of color the right to vote. Because it keeps happening, we must ask if support for this practice is as prevalent for white Christians as it is for white non-Christians.

Stephen Mattson 10-17-2018

Image via eberhard grossgasteiger/Unsplash

White Christians benefit the most by being nationalistic and patriotic, because to do so upholds the methods of “law” that keep their societal privileges in place. So while America — it’s governmental machinations and economy — serves to continually bless and protect white Americans, it hasn’t done so for others. Incarceration rates, a vast history of enforced racism by the legislative, judicial, and justice branches of government, the mistreatment of people of color within the military, and the brutalization by police show just how one-sided our country has benefited particular groups of people because of race. As white Christians blissfully sing ‘God Bless America’ in their sanctuaries adorned with American flags, they look upon their country — and its many structures — with nostalgic pride, while others see betrayal, hurt, and suffering.

Anna Sutterer 10-17-2018

Image via Unprotected film

Unprotected, a report and documentary by Finlay Young and Kathleen Flynn, recently resurfaced a story about the charity organization, which was built from a young woman’s crusade to lift girls from poverty and change the education system in Liberia. Within a year of the first school building opening, sexual abuse allegations emerged.

Neddy Astudillo 10-16-2018
Photo by Thomas Hafeneth on Unsplash

Photo by Thomas Hafeneth on Unsplash

A new United Nations report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ) paints a dire future for life on earth. Even if nations are able to fulfill commitments made during the 2016 Paris Agreement, the report asserts that the world is still headed in the direction of warming by 3 degrees Celsius or more - a temperature increase that would drive worsening food shortages, wild fires, heatwaves, coastal flooding, and poverty.

Abby Olcese 10-15-2018

Image via the 'Hate U Give' trailer 

For these characters, and for many black people in America, this is the way life is. Thomas’ novel won a plethora of praise and awards after its 2017 release for combining the social realities of life as a young black woman in contemporary America with a heartfelt coming-of-age narrative that resonated with a diverse array of readers. George Tillman Jr.’s film adaptation of the book, out now, admirably walks that same line. From every aspect, the film shows great respect for its source material, with an excellent script and stunning cast who clearly care about the story they’re telling.

Photo by Igor Rodrigues on Unsplash

When I was raped by a fellow student 3.5 years ago, I was treated egregiously by both the administration of my school — Baylor University — and the broader community in the fallout. But do you know who didn’t fail me? My church.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim 10-15-2018

Now as a mother of a young adult and two teenagers, I believe it is important to share my story so that society is aware that sexual assault occurs frequently, even in Asian American communities. Just because we do not share our experiences publicly does not mean that Asian Americans are immune to sexual violence. Just because we carry the burden for decades doesn’t make our experiences untrue. Just because we do not share our stories doesn’t mean that we need to continue to live in shame. 

Rose Marie Berger 10-13-2018

via Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in a 2005 issue of Sojourners magazine.

"El Papa Juan Pablo Segundo Murió" read the banner shown on the TV set in the El Salvador bar I was sitting in April 2, 2005. The pope's death had been rumored all week. One taxi driver told me the pope was dead, though the next one informed me he was not.

Aarik Danielsen 10-12-2018

John Paul II and Oscar Romero.

Throughout The Scandal of Redemption, Oscar Romero identifies a God with a balanced concern for individual hearts and the souls of nations.

The book, which collects sermons, radio transcripts and diary entries from Romero’s three years as archbishop of San Salvador, comes at a crucial time. Romero, pierced by an assassin’s bullet in 1980, will be canonized by the Catholic Church this weekend. A saint in every way we use the word, the life this book sketches is a timeless model for faithful political resistance and spiritual revival.

Edward Matthews 10-12-2018

Image via Martha de Jong-Lantink/Flickr 

In the years since, the predominant narrative of the TRC making great strides to heal apartheid has been re-examined. In focus group interviews with victims, analysis of the victims’ transcripts, and amnesty hearings, University of Connecticut researcher Audrey Chapman found a disparity between the goals of the TRC and of the South African people. 

Nancy Hightower 10-12-2018

Hans Speckaert - Jael and Sisera
 

Perhaps now, more than ever, Christians need to redefine their relationship to rage — particularly women’s rage. The nation watched Dr. Christine Ford testify about her alleged assault while maintaining a gracious demeanor whereas Brett Kavanaugh was allowed to rant about his supposed mistreatment. This double standard stems from centuries of social conditioning, as well as a rather sexist interpretation of the Bible that argues women are to be silent and submissive.

Roqayah Chamseddine 10-12-2018

The urgency of this #MeToo moment, especially its potential disruption of normative social behavior toward women, has led to the challenging of inter-communal attitudes including those expressed by religious institutions. Congregants from diverse establishments of faith, including Christians and Jews, have come out in opposition of not only the repression of sexual abuse victims but against clerical power structures. Muslim women, who are often spoke of rather than to, are also using this moment to advocate on behalf of themselves and each other.

Jim Wallis 10-11-2018

Photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash

Of course the system is rigged — systems are always rigged to protect the wealth, power, and self-interest of those who created them, those who benefit from them. That’s not hyperbole; that’s reality, that’s human nature, and that’s what the Bible calls sin. And that’s why systems need to be held accountable — to the common good rather than just the system makers and controllers. And that’s why Jesus calls us to protect, in particular, "the least of these" who are most vulnerable to the systems' exploitation. This is why defending systems that just maintain the powerful’s own self-interest while neglecting the interests of others, especially the most vulnerable, is not just bad politics — it’s bad theology.

Carolyn Beard 10-10-2018

Saint Edith Stein. Wikipedia Commons. 

On the 20th anniversary of her canonization, we have the opportunity to reassess St. Edith Stein’s life and legacy. Instead of remembering her simply as a tragic victim, we can take a deeper look at the work she undertook during her lifetime. Over the course of four decades, Stein dedicated her life to civic engagement and political resistance. From volunteering with the Red Cross in World War I, to participating in the women’s suffrage movement in Prussia, to fighting for equal educational opportunities for women, to writing against the rise of the Nazi regime, Stein is much more than the “Holocaust martyr” – she is the patron saint of political resistance.

Joe Kay 10-10-2018

Do you feel powerless to challenge and change the deeply entrenched privilege that was on display last week? Don’t give into that feeling. You have the power to change the world. Look at how it’s changing already.

Bekah McNeel 10-09-2018

Like Sasse, moderate pastors who don’t want to upset the conservatives in their churches find themselves talking about how “all of us” are broken. How “all of us” are to blame. They talk about how social media is hurting us. How a broken sexual ethic is hurting us. And if the sexual abuse victims sitting in their congregation are anything like me, they are thinking, “No. A man hurt me.”

Gerald L. Durley 10-09-2018
Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash

Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash

As a civil rights activist from the civil rights movement of the ‘60s, I continue to believe that everyone has constitutional rights. Thousands of Americans are being denied their civil and human rights because insensitive or politically manipulated legislators are creating policies that are destroying the environment. When profits, rather than the well-being of human and environmental life, determine the survival of the planet, it is a civil rights issue.

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