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My favorite place in the Sojourners’ Fellowship house is the chair by the window. Each morning, I tiptoe through the dark house, flip on a lamp, and turn on the kettle. I center myself in the lingering darkness of the previous night.
Soon my housemates stir awake one by one and settle into their own patterns of stretching and reading and drinking something warm before the day begins. These moments begin in silence until one of us looks up from our book and causes a ripple of laughter. e.e. cummings mused that “if day / has to become night / this is a beautiful way.” From my perspective, if night has to become day, this is a beautiful way. These rituals are how I’ve measured my time in Sojourners’ year-long fellowship program – in sunrises, cups of tea, and laughter. Somewhere between this silence and laughter, darkness and light, the day begins and we’re off to the Washington, D.C., office (or desks spread out throughout the house depending on how hard COVID-19 is raging), where some of us — like me — work as editorial assistants, fact-checking and brainstorming article ideas, and others for SojoAction, circulation, and advertising.
After work, a few of us start cooking. Tonight Ottogi curry is on the menu. We’ll gather around the dining room table and offer a blessing for rest and guidance before digging in.
Once, when we were discussing what each of us envisioned as possible vocations after the fellowship year, I said, half jokingly, that I was going to drink one cup of tea at a time and eventually I would find out. The fellowship program welcomes this slow journeying toward the next thing. We welcome the unknowns, uncovering lessons as we slow down and rest.
At the fellowship house, we turn to singing. We end each time of worship with the doxology. In the soft light from our Christmas decorations that we don’t want to take down, our singing occasionally intermingles with laughter at no particular thing but at the sheer joy of worshiping together in our journeying year. We sit in darkness, awaiting the growing light. Here are 10 stories to stir you awake.
1. Blessing for a Rest
A poem on rest. By Kate Suffling via Geez Magazine.
2. What Does ‘Christian Nonviolence’ Actually Mean?
A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence offers eight different ways Christians have answered this question — and they don’t all agree. By Mitchell Atencio via sojo.net.
3. The Case for Keeping Up Your Christmas Tree Until March
Or even May. By Charlie Warzel via theatlantic.com.
4. Priests We Arrest, Priests We Don't
What the life of Daniel Berrigan and the documentary Procession reveal about violence, religion, and justice. By Jenna Barnett via sojo.net.
5. Nothing Sacred: These Apps Reserve The Right To Sell Your Prayers
Prominent venture capitalists are flocking to invest in Christian worship apps. The apps say users’ prayers are a business asset. By Emily Baker-White via BuzzFeed News.
6. How To Get Beyond Punitive Thinking in a Pandemic
Our leaders have responded to COVID-19 with insufficient half-measures. Now we need accountability — not punishment. By Hannah Bowman via sojo.net.
7. Jan. 6: A Timeline in Prayers
These are some of the prayers said in and around the Capitol that day, collected by Religion News Service from videos, public documents, interviews and news reports. By Jack Jenkins via Religion News Service.
8. California Redwood Forest Returned to Native Tribal Group
The descendants of Native American tribes on the Northern California coast are reclaiming a bit of their heritage that includes ancient redwoods that have stood since their ancestors walked the land. By Brian Melley via AP News.
9. Marginalized People Need More Than a Seat at the Table
Society is placing a bigger emphasis on representation. But where does structural change fit in? By Amar D. Peterman via sojo.net.
10. Actually, ‘They’ Is a Beautiful Pronoun for God
We need more expansive language to describe the fullness of God. By Chloe Specht via sojo.net.