To be clear, Marielle Franco was assassinated for speaking out against police brutality and the plight of blacks and the poor in the favelas of Rio and because she had a seat at the table of power. Marielle was a city councilor who, just 18 months prior, had received the fifth highest vote count out of 51 city councilors voted into local office in Rio. She was a part of the mere 5 percent of black and indigenous women who occupied seats of power in local government though they account for over a quarter of Brazil’s total population. Her ascension to political power surprised many as a young, black LGBTQ woman who had grown up in one of the largest favelas in Rio. However unlikely, Marielle was committed to using her platform to elevate and amplify the voices of her community and her constituents.
Our concerns about the future of our nation’s values, heart, and soul, and even for democracy itself compel us to respond more theologically than politically, where what we believe is the foundation of the things we must vocally reject. We believe that the future of the nation’s soul, and the integrity of faith, are both at stake.
Tragically, the separation of spirit from matter has tainted the way we see all of humanity. In the past, it was used to justify violence against the Native Americans, and in the more recent past we’ve dismissed thousands of casualties from wars in the Middle East. We have leaders today who consider war in Korea palatable because “if thousands die, they’re going to die over there.” This is a direct result of a theology that cares more about souls than it does bodies. It’s much harder to love our neighbor if we don’t see the divine, the Christ, within them. It makes it much easier to characterize entire swaths of people groups who don’t have “Jesus in their hearts” as being the enemy. It continues to pervade modern day missions that typify non-Christian cultures around the world as savages living in darkness, rather than looking for the light that is already present and using that as the starting point.
Robinson’s performance as Simon is worth noting in the way it adheres to and subverts teen movie characters we’ve seen before, with particular regard to the master of the genre, John Hughes. Robinson’s got all the charm, looks, and outward swagger of a Hughes leading man, with the inner confusion and insecurity of Molly Ringwald, all rolled into one. He’s the rare effortlessly cool movie teen who doesn’t have it all figured out. And his friends are honest about their own issues, too, providing a refreshing portrait of movie teenagers that hits closer to reality.
1. “Hey Twitter, I'm On a Mission...”
Writer and artist Candace Jean asked Twitter to help her identify a mystery attendee at the 1971 International Conference on Biology of Whales — the only woman and only person left unnamed in a group photo, and someone the men present vaguely recalled as “an assistant.” The result: an electrifying public crowdsourcing project, and the learned histories of 3 incredible women.
The fossil fuel lobby preached its gospel in Virginia. Now, black churches are fighting back.
As a black woman, my confidence is not just perceived as arrogance, but as intimidating and angry.
Scripture calls us to do the things that lead to peace. Why then do we choose the path of violence?
President Trump, I personally invite you to also come down to the borderlands with me in Tijuana and San Diego and meet the people directly impacted by the stroke of your pen. I am a co-founding director of Global Immersion, and one of our primary organizational initiatives involves having cross-sector leaders from around the country come to the border to see the human face of immigration and build a set of tools for how to better care of the “stranger among us,” as my sacred text (the Bible) mandates.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas set an astonishing example over the course of her life of the power that one dedicated voice can have. With her words and her actions, she fought for a better world for women, for people of color, for those living in poverty, and for the earth itself. We all — not just Floridians — inhabit a world made better by her.
“Austin,” which opened to the public on Feb. 18, during the season of Lent, has so far drawn 12,000 visitors to the grounds of the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. Many of them are, no doubt, nonbelievers too. But even they have taken note of the work’s spiritual leanings.
There is a tragedy happening within U.S. denominations and religious institutions that cripples the witness of the church in the wider society. Bonds of Christian fellowship are being torn asunder by the debate over the inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church, creating untold pain and suffering for many LGBTQ people and others, while sharpening disunity in Christ. And all this is unnecessary, and unfaithful.
A Wrinkle in Time is bright and colorful, not only applying broad imagination to its settings and costumes, but also daring to extend that same concept to its diverse cast. In addition to the multiracial identities of the three Mrs., Meg is biracial and the adopted Charles Wallace is asian. These choices clearly come from a very personal place for DuVernay, and it’s lovely to see that diversity communicated with earnestness and intention. A large part of the film’s message is self awareness and self-love and it’s important that this message comes to audiences through the experience of a young girl of color, addressing universal pre-teen feelings of awkwardness or self esteem issues through a character who relates to more than just a white audience.
In the midst of the Time’s Up movement, we agree that now is the time for equality and to end sexual and gender-based violence once and for all. While the entertainment industry is doing a great job of raising awareness, other groups need to step up and enact change. A critical group that must be involved is the faith community.
1. 15 Remarkable Women We Overlooked in Our Obituaries
Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones; even in the last two years, just over one in five of our subjects were female. The Times’ new project, Overlooked, aims to correct that.
2. Black Girl Power: Exploring Love and Rage in Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time
“Little black girls deserve a hero all their own. Someone who looks like them, worries like them, fights like them, and, in the end, saves them. While this world may demand its specific service of black heroines, black girls deserve themselves.”
Spiritual bypassing is not exclusive to Christians or white people, but I would argue we are the most guilty collective of practicing and enforcing it. We maintain systems and cultures that coerce all of us to assimilate into the practice of bypassing pain. In our anger-phobia, we shame oppressed people into the compliance of feigning joy. Worse than that, we tell them and ourselves — either simplicity or explicitly — that justice work is a distraction from the gospel message.
I return to Sojourners — nearly a decade since I served as the Senior Political Director, and after a great deal of prayerful discernment — inspired by the courage and boldness of a new generation of young activists. The protests and activism of the Black Lives Matter movement has forced the issue of racialized policing and police violence onto the public agenda. Student survivors of the horrific massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this past Ash Wednesday continue to speak out with such moral clarity about the need to address the fraudulent and pernicious state of gun violence in our nation. Dreamers are reframing the narrative and debate around immigration with their personal testimonies and bold advocacy to expand opportunity and justice, not simply for themselves but for all immigrants in this nation.
Every International Women’s Day, we compile a roundup of Christian women who are making and shaping history right now. From advocating for immigration reform, to battling racism and abuse in the church and through the church, women are leading the way. Below, the women we are honoring this year share with us their hopes, heroes, and blessings for 2018.