the Web Editors 1-12-2018

4. The Oligarchs

A new interactive investigation from Al Jazeera uncovers a dirty money trail in Ukraine.

5. Your City Has a Gender, and It’s Male

Why city designers are increasingly thinking about the female perspective.

Angela Denker 1-11-2018

Jesus has left your church when a woman is assaulted, but only men are allowed to speak publicly about it.

 

David Mislin 1-10-2018

During the late 19th century, unbelief and indifference to religion, especially the U.S.‘s dominant religion of Christianity, became more acceptable in public opinion. This was especially true among educated elites because of the combination of two phenomena. On the one hand, new scholarship called the origin and history of the Bible into question. On the other, evolution suggested that a divine being was not needed to explain the world’s development.

Jenna Barnett 1-08-2018

Image via Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

I hope we stop spreading the dangerous myth that abuse and harassment doesn’t happen among Christians.

Jazmine Steele 1-08-2018

Eric L. Motley, former special assistant to George W. Bush and current Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute, shares on the hard knocks and treasures of growing up in a largely poor African-American town during the height of the civil rights era in his memoir Madison Park: A Place of Hope. In the memoir, Motley chronicles his journey from a rural town founded by freed slaves in Alabama to navigating the political terrain of the White House. Motley recounts formative and disappointing experiences around the issue of race and highlights some of the small-town heroes that poured into his life as a child. The memoir provides a thoughtful reflection of how faith and radical love within a tight-knit community can significantly impact a person’s life.

Motley recently spoke with Sojourners about his story.

Bob Smietana 1-05-2018

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, with his trainer Alex Guerrero on Feb. 5, 2017. Damian Strohmeyer via AP

Guerrero, a former missionary turned charismatic fitness guru, is Tom Brady’s miracle man, credited with allowing the star quarterback to play at a top level into his 40s. The two have teamed up to spread the Gospel of TB12 — in a best-selling book and TB12, a lucrative training and fitness brand. In TB products and promotions, Guerrero shares almost every moment of Brady’s life — what he eats, how he exercises and rests, how he mentally prepares for games. He’s even godfather to Brady’s son.

Jim Wallis 1-04-2018

Of course, the two political parties are not morally equivalent; it makes a great difference how we vote, as we will have the opportunity to do later this year. The Republican Party’s political sellout to Donald Trump — and the lack of a clear moral alternative by the Democrats many people of faith are excited to support — leaves many of us feeling politically homeless.

Image via Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters

The pope spoke of “faithful creativity” in responding to a rapidly changing world. The job of a theologian is to show people what lies at the heart of the Gospel.

Image via RNS / Wikimedia Commons

Sure, there are loud voices that seem to feed into certain conclusions about what religious people think about science and scientists. (Consider creationist Ken Ham’s attempts to discredit the theory of evolution.) But, as with any issue, the loudest or most prominent voices are not necessarily the most representative.

Reid Murchison 12-29-2017

A "just business" convening at the Summit for Change 2017. 

As one who enjoys the benefits of privilege in today's world, I felt it important to submit my own sense of what is just and right to other perspectives, especially other perspectives that are informed by biblical witness and the Christian gospel. The 2017 Summit represented that sort of challenge for me.

Joe Kay 12-29-2017

How do we become more prophetic?

First, we spend time with God each day growing into the vision. Day by day, we see ourselves and our world through God’s eyes a little more clearly.

the Web Editors 12-29-2017

2. From Evangelicals to Witches: How Religion Shaped 2017

Vox highlights four major religious trends, shifts, and changes in 2017, and ends with a little dose of optimism for 2018.

3. Real Gratitude Shouldn’t Be Easy: On ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

“At our frequent worst, gratitude isn’t something we feel so much as calculate, tallying our advantages to weigh against the miseries of others. In the privacy of our own minds, our gratitude can bear a family resemblance to schadenfreude—a secret reassurance that others will always have it worse.”

Jim Wallis 12-28-2017

Start by saying yes: to God’s love, to engaged citizenship, to service to what is right, and courageous resistance to what is wrong. 

2017 was a year in which people were all too often treated as means to an end.

Perhaps in 2018 we can inscribe a different kind of a lesson.

Jim Wallis 12-21-2017

We feel the darkness all around and need to see some light. We feel hopelessness every day and need some hope. We feel despair for our nation’s life and future and need to see and hear some truth. We see authoritarian political leadership on the rise, a White House that literally puts democracy at risk, and feel the need to make clear where true authority lies.

But Christmas says ...

Image via Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

When the Magi told King Herod about the heaven-sent child they’d come to honor, Herod also issued an executive order — kill every Hebrew child under 2. Herod’s henchmen would have slaughtered the Christ child along with the others had his parents not acted quickly to cross a border and protect their baby. Mary and Joseph were dreamers before Jesus. To prepare for Christmas is to remember Mary and Joseph’s dream and the civil disobedience it inspired.

Boz Tchividjian 12-19-2017

As the dark horrors of sexual abuse finally begin to surface across all spectrums of our society, we are once again reminded that our churches are not immune from this wickedness. The #metoo and #churchtoo movements are a sobering and painful reminder that a dark winter exists inside the church … a community that claims to follow the One who is the Light of the world.

Joe Kay 12-19-2017

We feel a deep darkness in our world and in our society right now. We can almost taste it, touch it, and smell it. This darkness invades our souls like a damp, long, December night, bringing a chill all the way inside.

Natalie Patton 12-19-2017

Image via Hafiz Johari/Shutterstock 

I ask myself how we got here, why the American church has hardened its hearts to refugees when one of the major themes of the Bible is welcoming the stranger. How did we lose trust in a vetting system that has worked for decades? How did we begin to see refugees as dangerous when there is no statistical evidence to back it up? How did we forget that so many of us are descendants of people who were oppressed and looking for a better life? How did we stop seeing the beauty of American culture as coming from a collision of cultures? How did we lose our way — did it happen overnight or has it been slowly brewing for a long time?

Joe Kay 12-18-2017

Jesus actively participated in the lives of everyone whom he met by offering them love, acceptance, and healing. He particularly sought out and served those whom religious folk deemed to be great sinners.