The Power and the Story: What Our Editors Are Reading | Sojourners

The Power and the Story: What Our Editors Are Reading

Billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos and pioneering female aviator Wally Funk emerge from their capsule after their flight aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket on the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight near Van Horn, Texas, July 20, 2021 in a still image from video. Blue Origin/Handout via REUTERS.

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There’s more than one way to tell a story. As journalists, we know this well. As readers, you know this well. The news this week gave us ample opportunities to remember that stories can be told with different — sometimes even contradictory — purposes.

Jeff Bezos went to space, and he took Wally Funk — now the oldest person to go to space — with him. NASA, with its gender-restrictive policies in the 1960s and ‘70s, did not allow Funk and her fellow Mercury 13 pilots to become astronauts. Now tell me, is this an example of benevolence and kindness? Was a dream achieved through technological advancement? Is Funk's record the silver-lining in the dystopian universe where a man is rich enough to blast himself into space? Or, is this co-optation? Is this a a purely cosmetic accomplishment? Is this an attempt to pacify greater concerns about the injustice and inequity?

President Joe Biden released another person who had been detained in Guantánamo (despite never being charged with a crime), transferring him to a quasi-parole in Morocco. Is this an advancement of the Obama administration’s project to end Guantánamo, a small step toward ending an especially shameful part of the United States’ so-called “War on Terror”? Or is this far too little and far too late, considering that 28 of the 39 remaining people detained have not yet been charged with a crime?

These are just two examples of stories that can be told in different ways. Not every telling is just, fair, or godly, but we should understand and consider the alternate tellings.

1. The U.S. Blockade on Cuba Must End
For 60 years, the United States has aimed to strangle Cuba’s economy and inflict misery on the Cuban people. By Branko Marcetic via

2. Will U.S. Christians Atone for Church Boarding Schools? Indigenous Leaders Are Skeptical
Indigenous people have suggestions for how, after centuries of abuse, Christians can begin to make restitution for these crimes. By Gina Ciliberto via

3. These Christian Lawmakers Are on the Offensive Against Abortion
That National Association of Christian legislators has made the so-called “Texas Heartbeat Bill” the basis for its first piece of model legislation. By Mya Jaradat via

4. The Fatal Fanaticism of Drug Prohibition
Drug users don’t need a War on Drugs, they need support. By Timothy McMahan King via

5. Wally Funk’s Church Celebrates Her Blue Origin Spaceflight
About 300 members of White’s Chapel turned out Tuesday morning at the church to view a livestream of the launch making the pioneering pilot the oldest person in space. By Emily McFarlan Miller via

6. Before Blasting Off, Bezos Checks in With Wendell Berry
“So, you’re going to outer space to connect with your underpaid and overworked employees?” A work of humorous fiction. By Jenna Barnett via Sojourners.

7. Biden Administration Transfers Its First Detainee From Guantánamo Bay
The Biden team picked up where the Obama administration left off with the repatriation of a Moroccan man, reducing the prison population to 39. By Carol Rosenberg and Charlie Savage via The New York Times.

8. Indigenous Boarding Schools and the Responsibility We Inherit
We must understand how Christian beliefs allowed the schools to exist. By Patty Krawec via

9. Grad School Blues
100 reasons why I didn’t go for a Ph.D. By Daniel José Camacho via

10. Julie Rodgers Quit Trying to ‘Pray Away’ Who God Made Her To Be
A new memoir and Netflix documentary detail her journey from ex-gay ministry to LGBTQ affirmation. By Guthrie Gravez-Fitzsimmons via