My mother once described me as “passionate” to push against the narrative that I was an angry, hot-headed, 5-year-old. She recognized that I did not just get mad when I lost a race to the mailbox (my father knew I wouldn't accept a false win), but I also cried when the poor woodland creatures of Nottingham had their few resources stolen by Prince John in Disney's 1973 animated Robin Hood.
I find myself mildly attached to this descriptor, though with more nuance than I had as a child. Passion, which may strictly be defined as an emotion, is often what drives us to action. This passion is not always wielded in a godly manner, as we have seen this year in insurrections and religiously motivated murders.
But passion can also drive us toward actions that liberate, inspire, or comfort. Passion, when focused inward, can fuel us to share the most intimate, erotic, and vulnerable parts of our lives, as Audre Lorde taught us. Passion can motivate us to bring our comfort foods to others, or to call out capitalist moguls.
The stories below are of passion, sometimes misguided and sinful, sometimes prophetic, and sometimes comforting. These stories can help us recognize our passions, and the ones around us, and to channel (or redirect) them toward the liberation of all.
1. My Texas Roadhouse Pandemic
A Lone Star State native on the restaurant chain that takes her home — even if she’s really in New Jersey. By Jenna Barnett via GrubStreet.com.
2. The Business of Prioritizing White Comfort
The livelihood of marginalized bodies is almost always directly connected to our willingness (or unwillingness) to exist within oppressive workplaces. By Courtney Ariel via sojo.net.
3. Audre Lorde Broke the Silence
In her poems and The Cancer Journals, Lorde fought to name her experience. By Emily Bernard via The New Republic.
4. Lament Is the Appropriate Response to the Reality of Pain
Asian American faith leaders issue a call for solidarity in the wake of anti-Asian hate. By Soong-Chan Rah via sojo.net.
5. Ode to Tortillas
A poem for Sunday: “my people i am poly with the tortillas.” By José Olivarez via theatlantic.com.
6. We Have a Chance to Redeem Voting Rights
Amid state-based rollbacks on voter access, new federal measures could protect the vote — and the imago dei of each voter. By Jim Wallis and Barbara Williams-Skinner via sojo.net.
7. Jay-Z Cannot Deliver Us Into an Era of Racial Equity
Jay-Z cannot deliver us into an era of racial equity. He’s nobody’s savior — not even his own. By LaTesha Harris via bitchmedia.org.
8. May It Become Our Practice to Counter Hate and Fear
A hymn in the wake of another mass shooting. By Carolyn Winfrey Gillette via sojo.net.
9. Can Religion Give You PTSD?
Meet the “exvangelicals” seeking therapy for religious trauma. By Stephanie Russell-Kraft via thenewrepublic.com.
10. Will Trump's Portrait Orange-Wash a Disastrous Presidency?
Presidential portraiture conceals as much as it reveals. By Faith-Marie Zamblé via Sojourners.