Web traffic slumps in mid-December; that’s just the way the internet works. And we — the people who make the internet, or at least, Sojourners’ humble corner of it — don't mind much because we assume it means you are busy doing wholesome things like baking cookies, building snowfolk, or calling your elected officials to voice your support for the newest bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill.
(And, if we’re honest, those of us making the internet might prefer to be doing those things, too. Especially the part about cookies.) But we promised you a weekly list of ten articles and, by golly, we won’t let you down — especially not in 2020. As always, we hope these ten stories inform and inspire you; this week, we also hope they add a touch of light and wonder to this strange and difficult season. And if you decide you’d rather go walk in the snow, we won’t be offended.
1. From Tertullian to Disney: 2,000 Years of Godparenting
While “godparents” originated in a Christian context, today they’re found inside a range of spiritual traditions and communities — and Disney movies. By Cathleen Falsani via sojo.net.
2. The Gate of Heaven Is Everywhere
All happy religious families are alike; each unhappy religious family is unhappy in its own way. By Fred Bahnson via Harper’s Magazine.
3. ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’: A Beautiful, Gutting Tragedy
Though the story takes place in 1927, it touches on wounds in the Black experience that are still fresh today. By Rebecca Riley via sojo.net.
4. What Black People Really Think About the Police
Pollsters keep tripping over contradictions in how communities of color talk about cops. By Shom Mazumder via The New Republic.
5. The U.S. Undercounts People In Poverty—By 106 Million, Advocates Say
Economists and advocates want President-elect Joe Biden to change how the U.S. government measures poverty. By Cassie M. Chew via sojo.net.
6. ‘We Just Want to See Our Son’: Refugees Hope for Family Reunification After Biden Takes Office
Biden has promised to raise the refugee admissions ceiling to 125,000 — more than 10 times the current level — sparking hope among families who haven't been able to bring close relatives to the U.S. amid deep cuts to the resettlement program during the Trump administration. By Hannan Adely via NorthJersey.com.
7. ‘Tis the Season for Family Boundaries
Four tips for navigating difficult relationships over the holidays — without compromising on dignity. By Jes Kast via sojo.net.
8. Going Numb: Why We’re Ignoring the Rising Death Toll From COVID-19
Google searches for “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” peaked in the spring and have been on a downward trend ever since. By Shannon Osaka via Grist.
9. True Justice Reform Can’t Ignore People Convicted of Violent Crimes
The Bible offers alternative approaches to justice that do not rely on retribution. By Yazmine Nichols via sojo.net.
10. The Earth Dreams in Ritual
My uncle claims he can tell if someone is a Protestant or a Catholic by looking at the length of their toes. By Christina Nichol via n+1 .