Silently Singing Amid the Noise: What Our Editors Are Reading | Sojourners

Silently Singing Amid the Noise: What Our Editors Are Reading

Oil painting of Thelonious Monk by Roman Nogin

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I used to sing Christian songs all the time when I was growing up in church. Now, on the rare occasion I do attend church, I don’t sing. Gone is the faith of my youth.

Despite the emptiness I feel in Christian songs, the world is a noisy place: COVID-19 numbers are rising, cops keep beating the shit out of people, the United States is desperately trying to blame the Taliban for problems the U.S. created. The world’s noise is loud in me.

I’ve found that the only solution to this noise from the world is good noise from people who are attuned to the world’s hurt. It’s sad to say, but Christians — especially Christian musicians — often seem unable to tune in to this pain. The same cannot be said about jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, who was well acquainted with the world’s infirmities. Uninterested in confining music to the Western scale, Monk’s compositions are often sound-full but dissonant, hopeful but apocalyptic. When I listen to Monk’s instrumental interpretation of the hymn “Blessed Assurance,” I find the strength to silently sing the words. This week’s recommended reading is best accompanied by Monk’s noisy version of that Christian song.

1. House Passes John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
Despite support of faith leaders and other voting rights advocates, the bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate without overhaul of the filibuster. By Mitchell Atencio via

2. Critical Theory for Political Theology 2.0: Cedric Robinson
Vega focuses on three Robinsonian concepts that are useful for political theology: racial capitalism, Black radical tradition, and African metaphysics. By Matthew Vega via

3. What Does Catholic Sisters’ Apology for Racism Mean?
“The question remains whether or not the Catholic Church can become a truly anti-racist institution,” Shannen Dee Williams said. By Gina Ciliberto via

4. Let’s Not Pretend That the Way We Withdrew From Afghanistan Was the Problem
Our ignominious exit reflects the failure of America’s foreign policy establishment at both prediction and policymaking. By Ezra Klein via

5. How Voting Rights Became a Privilege For Some, Not a Right for All
On Tuesday, the House Passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, not a single Republican member voted in favor of it. By Adam Russell Taylor via

6. How One Company Helped Parents Get 21 Gallons of Breast Milk Back from the Tokyo Olympics
Milk Stork became a key service for staff at the Olympic Games who couldn’t bring their nursing babies to Tokyo. Now, it plans to do the same for the Paralympics. By Barbara Rodriguez via

7. Now If You’re Looking for a Savior, That’s Not Lorde
In 'Solar Power,' Lorde takes a different path from the rock messiahs of generations past. By Sergio Lopez via

8. A Pilgrimage To Meet Germany’s Last Beer-Brewing Nun
As part of NPR's summer travel series, Rob Schmitz takes us to a remote corner of southern Germany, where a nun has been brewing Bavarian beer for nearly five decades. By Rob Schmitz via

9. Mutual Aid is Changing the Way We Help Each Other
Mutual aid is not based on giving from one person’s excess, but practicing solidarity within a community. By Gina Ciliberto via

10. The Real Reason Black Mothers Are Being Pushed to Breastfeed
Efforts to close the racial breastfeeding gap are more complicated than they appear. By Jennifer C. Nash via