Hannah Conklin 5-07-2020

Brandon Cruz González / El Vocero de Puerto Rico

Julia Alvarez is a Dominican American novelist, poet, and recipient of a National Medal of Arts award. Her latest novel, Afterlife, came out in April, and her latest children’s book, Already a Butterfly: A Meditation Story, will be released in June. “A Glimpse of the Garden,” an essay by Alvarez on centering prayer, appears in the June issue of Sojourners magazine. Alvarez spoke with editorial assistant, Hannah Conklin, about her newly released books, the connection between her work and spiritual practices, and finding hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Russell L. Meek 5-07-2020

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

The victim’s mother told police that within ten minutes of talking to her son, she called the church’s pastor, Mike Roy. Roy asked to meet with the victim’s mother the next day. At that meeting, the mother reported that Roy refused to believe her because “Shawn was a good friend of his and had worked at the church for two years.”

Jim Wallis 5-07-2020

Masked National Guardsmen fired a barrage of tear gas into a crowd of demonstrators on the campus of Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio, May 4, 1970. Image by Bettmann/CORBIS via Flickr

Monday, May 4, was the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings. Thirteen students were shot and four killed by the Ohio National Guard during a Vietnam War protest after the invasion of Cambodia. On that day, I was a student up the road at Michigan State University, helping lead Vietnam protests there. It all felt very personal. It still does.

Eric Minton 5-07-2020

Image via REUTERS/Mike Segar

Normally, in moments very unlike our present, I could sit and laugh with extended family without fearing that my presence will expose them to an early death. I could get takeout without having to surgically remove the food from its packaging in a designated clean room like it’s a rupturing spleen. I could even venture to a quiet park where I’m passed too closely by a jogger or family of five without having my existential ire erupt out of me like a sermon, delivered only to my weary family on the way home. Most days I was able to have a tough day at work without having to forage for canned beans and toilet paper in surgical gear at our local Kroger as a nightcap.

Brittini L. Palmer 5-06-2020

Jan. 13, 2019: Protesters gather in Hurt Park, Atlanta to protest and make demands in response to Brian Kemp being elected as the Governor of Georgia. Credit: Shutterstock

Governor Kemp's COVID-19 response, and the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, replay a longer history. 

Rev. Sharon Risher 5-05-2020

Image via Reuters/Kanishka Singh

We must urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has had Rep. Clyburn’s House-passed bill to address this loophole sitting on his desk for a year, to act. And, for the duration of the pandemic, we must urge governors to close this loophole at the state level to give law enforcement enough time to complete background checks. In doing so, we can save countless lives and prevent countless families from experiencing the suffering and heartache that I feel every day.

5-05-2020

Marie Dennis, senior advisor and former co-president of Pax Christi International, and Rev. Jim Wallis analyze the importance of government social programs to provide true security to our nation.

Christina Colón 5-05-2020

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

In the 18 hours after President Trump publicly mused at a news conference about treating the coronavirus by injecting disinfectants such as bleach and Lysol, 30 calls were made to New York City’s poison control about toxic exposure to household cleaners.

J. Dana Trent 5-05-2020

Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

COVID-19 amplifies a tenuous holiday, especially among people of faith.

Jim Simpson 5-05-2020

Women prepare meals to hand out to children at the nonprofit YWCA in San Fernando, near Los Angeles. April 28, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the dark and disturbing injustices and inequities that have always existed in our health care, economy, and government. Though the virus may not discriminate, our humanmade systems and structures do. And in the United States this means that those who are feeling the impact of this disease most acutely are those who have been historically, structurally, systemically, and politically marginalized and oppressed.

5-01-2020

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, the founder and senior pastor of the Ray of Hope Christian Church, talks with Rev. Jim Wallis about the need to observe the sabbath during this time of the COVID-19 crisis.  

Lee Leviter 4-30-2020

Crosses marking Christian homes. 1929. Wikimedia Commons. 

How will progressive Christians react to rising anti-Semitism in this pandemic? 

Amy Kenny 4-30-2020

But the church peddles ableist ideas in devious ways: It proclaims to be pro-life but mirrors the world’s messaging that productivity and health are drivers of worth. It weaponizes prayer as a foot-soldier in its ableist theology, reducing God to a slimy vending machine churning out miracles upon request. It limits our imaginations for how abundant life should look, confining prosperity and happiness to a singular mode of living. 

Jim Wallis 4-30-2020

A sign indicating proper social distancing measures is displayed in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., April 23, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing more than ever who is most vulnerable to contracting and dying of this new disease — and it’s a function of often very old and deeply embedded societal structures that create and perpetuate grotesque racial and economic inequity. 

Fran Quigley 4-28-2020

People wait in line to receive free food at a curbside pantry in the Brooklyn, New York. April 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Sega

Samuel Cruz didn't want to choose between faith and politics. Then he found liberation theology.

4-28-2020

Peggy Flanagan, Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, talks with Rev. Jim Wallis about state and federal responses to the coronavirus.

4-24-2020

How the coronavirus pandemic has further revealed the structural and racial inequalities embedded in our nation.

Jason Ashe 4-24-2020

Health care workers load a person into an ambulance outside of the Elmhurst Hospital center in Queens, New York. April 5, 2020. REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz

Our faith in God is tied to experiences of health and sickness. 

Kaitlin Curtice 4-24-2020

Board Certified Chaplain Bill Simpson comforts a patient under investigation for coronavirus at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital in Shawnee, Okla., April 23, 2020. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

In this global COVID-19 pandemic, we are reeling from individual and collective grief. We are trying to figure out what life looks like on the other side, hoping for something “normal” but unsure of what that even means.

Jim Wallis 4-23-2020

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Nobody wants our society, economy, government, schools, or our families to stay on lockdown. Everybody wants our lives to re-open. But in order to do that in a way that protects health and lives, three biblical principles are necessary: truth, unity, and solidarity.