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Last week, I told my colleagues that I never struggle to write these introductions. As you can predict, that meant this week’s introduction became extremely hard to write — as I deserve. The job of this introduction is to briefly whet your appetite, give you some connecting thread for our recommended stories, and maybe say something profound. I'm learning, however, that not every story needs a moral.
This week, I’m looking at the list of stories below and feeling that no commentary will do. In one moment, I’m seething with anger at how my faith was used by Urban Meyer and his goons to try and comfort themselves while they covered up domestic violence. Then I’m in awe of the resilience of those who honestly and humbly share their changing beliefs despite the many risks. I’m encouraged by resilience and activism, then reminded that resilience is exhausting.
This week’s recommendations offer a reminder that all of this is complicated; there are no clean and clear lines. There are contradictions that we must all navigate for ourselves, but never alone. All I have is a collection of stories, columns, and essays that are truly incredible, gripping, and worthy of your attention, but maybe that’s all I ever have.
1. Courtney’s Story
Three years ago, college football was rocked by a domestic violence scandal at Ohio State University. This is the story of Courtney Smith, the woman who said she had been abused for years by OSU assistant coach Zach Smith. By Diana Moskovitz via defector.com.
2. Maybe There’s No Moral to the Story
A conversation with Kate Bowler on her new book, No Cure For Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). By Sandi Villarreal via sojo.net.
3. Musician Audrey Assad Seeks ‘Permission and Freedom for All to Feel at Home’
On March 3, musician Audrey Assad quietly dropped a bomb that rippled through Catholic spaces when she announced that she’s no longer Christian. By Stephanie DePrez via ncronline.org.
4. Despite Senate Parliamentarian, Advocates Keep Pushing for Immigration Reform
“The Senate parliamentarian ruled against including a pathway to citizenship in budget reconciliation, but we’re not done,” said Rep. Chuy Garcia. By Mitchell Atencio via sojo.net.
5. In Louisiana, We’re Tired of Being Resilient
Louisianans are recognized for braving natural disasters and persevering against tough odds. In the age of climate change, resiliency won’t be enough. But holding industry accountable, coupled with decisive action, might be. By Jonathan Olivier and Camille Lenain via bittersoutherner.com.
6. In Praise of Calvin's Total Depravity
We can’t defeat racism by “being good” or “feeling guilty.” By Lucas Kwong via sojo.net.
7. 4 Years After Hurricane María, Will We Finally Listen to the Voices of Survivors?
Survivors of one of the worst storms in Puerto Rico’s history share their stories and how they resorted to mutual aid in the face of government neglect and incompetence. By Ricia Anne Chansky Sancinito via yesmagazine.org.
8. The Parable of the Federal Budget
Congress could learn a lot from Jesus’ story about the good Samaritan. By Lauren W. Reliford via sojo.net.
9. Defending Nature Is a Form of Social Justice
If citizens in construction-besotted Nashville can find the political will to preserve their trees, any city can. By Margaret Renkl via nytimes.com.
10. As a Pastor, I Can’t Define Life's Edges. Neither Can Lawmakers
The anti-abortion movement wants to replace my wonder at life’s origins with draconian, misogynist laws. By Melissa Florer-Bixler via sojo.net.