In the past few months I have visited 28 cities, speaking at more than 40 different events, not only connected to the release of my book Christ in Crisis: Why We Need to Reclaim Jesus, but as a way of ministering to the Sojourners community around the country.
At Sojourners we have had a long relationship with the word “community.” It can mean many things, but it’s a phrase we cling to as part of our calling. A theme that we hear from so many people is that Sojourners helps them feel connected to a community of people of faith who care about social justice. As one attendee at a talk I gave in St. Louis said to me, “Sometimes I feel so alone in my concerns about how Christianity is being used and abused. Even in my own church, there are those who don’t understand my point of view. Sojourners helps me feel a sense of community. I came here feeling weighed down and discouraged, but am leaving with a renewed sense of hope and purpose.”
Our dedication as Christians is to never lose hope, even in the face of adversity. We are instructed over and over in the scriptures to be persistent and not to let fear control us.
In a reflection on John 17:13-23, I once wrote:
The power of the Christian life is joy and hope in the face of discontinuity. The churches have never accepted this easily. Endless theologies have been constructed to ease the discontinuity, to reduce the conflict, to find some accommodation between Christ and the world, to affirm the world on its own terms, to find our hope in the world after all and to secure a more comfortable place in it.
Let me repeat that again for emphasis:
The power of the Christian life is joy and hope in the face of discontinuity.
Does that resonate with you? It did with many Sojourners magazine readers when it was originally published in May 1978. This is as true today, as it was then.
Sojourners has spent the entirety of our nearly 50-year history dedicated to speaking prophetic truth in the name of social, racial, gender, and environmental justice. Our desire is not only to expose the conflicts between the gospel and the world that must be made clear in our day, but also to provide for a whole way of life that demonstrates the meaning of being a faithful follower of Jesus.
In the past year, we have nurtured communities around the world through writing, speaking, and standing alongside a diversity of faithful witnesses: helping to reunite families at the border, giving testimony to Congress on the impact of climate change, convening faith leaders at our annual Summit and in our new training program for pastors, and standing up for the virtue of truth in a society that blatantly refuses to acknowledge it.
Woven throughout is our commitment to building bridges with people at various places along their faith journey. I watched with thanksgiving as the editors of Christianity Today stood with resolve in their call for the removal of a president whose words and actions stand in opposition to the kingdom of God we are all working to bring about on earth as it is in Heaven. I have believed that the evangelical Religious Right would rise and fall with Donald Trump. Now I am hopeful that the courage of CT in calling for a national conversation can distinguish a true and morally balanced evangelical witness in politics from the Religious Right’s morally blind support of Trump.
We are a community, building a movement to create a more loving and inclusive world, as Jesus taught us in word and deed. Will you join us?