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Have you ever noticed how certain things seem to have a life of their own? Let me explain: From time to time, a piece of art, a song, a book, or even a face unexpectedly receives universal approval and then there seems to be no end to how it can be referenced, advertised, TikToked, or memed. Some might say this phenomenon is a testament to that thing's popularity or virality (despite living through a pandemic, I didn’t know “virality” was a word until this week). The cynical take is that, because we live under racial capitalism, “popularity” is determined by that which is deemed profitable.
Okay, that’s enough of my Marxist diatribe. A more lighthearted take is that humans, and the things we create, have the potential to touch other people’s lives even after we’ve gone the way of all flesh. I think that’s one of my favorite things about being a writer and an editor: Long after I am gone, the words I have labored over and the relationships I have forged will continue into kingdom come. Below are stories from this past week that have taken on a life of their own. Who knows where they will go from here.
1. You Can’t Relationship Your Way Out of Racial Capitalism
How are Christians supposed to love their neighbors in an economy like this? By Adam Joyce via sojo.net.
2. What Happens When Your Favorite Thing Goes Viral?
A 2002 song by the Mountain Goats about a doomed divorce is suddenly big on TikTok. Why? By Rebecca Jennings via vox.com.
3. Is Pope Francis a Liberation Theologian?
The first Latin American pope has a reputation for supporting the poor and confronting systems that oppress. But does that make him a liberation theologian? By Dean Dettloff via sojo.net.
4. The Afterlife of Rachel Held Evans
When the beloved Christian thinker died, at thirty-seven, she left behind a legacy of constant spiritual questioning — and an unfinished memoir. By Eliza Griswold via newyorker.com.
5. Here’s How Your Church Can Help Survivors of Domestic Violence
Practical ways faith communities can recognize and prevent domestic violence while supporting those experiencing it. By Maryclare Beche via sojo.net.
6. Evacuated Afghans Need More Aid, Say Advocates, Faith Leaders
Despite resettlement efforts, at least 55,000 Afghan refugees remain at military bases in the United States. By Ali McCadden via sojo.net.
7. The Idolatry of Loving Nation More Than Neighbors
We must practice disassociating from our national identities in order to fully embrace our identity in Christ. By Stephen Mattson via sojo.net.
8. Street Papers Want To Help Homeless People. Do They?
Since the ’90s, street papers have sought to provide job opportunities and better advocacy for people experiencing homelessness. By Madison Muller via sojo.net.
9. Kaepernick’s Resilience Shines Despite Artistic Flaws in New Show
‘Colin in Black & White’ shows the complex upbringing of the man whose kneeling protest became a symbol. By Rebecca Riley via sojo.net.
10. Boogiein’ in the Dark With Critical Race Theory
Critical race theory and intersectionality help us see that "whiteness" keeps everyone in bondage. In the undercommons and ghettos of the Black radical tradition, there are voices crying out in the wilderness, imagining new ways of relating to one another before it’s too late. By Josiah R. Daniels via christiansocialism.com.