Editor’s Note: This year was a lot — so much, that some of the events that marked 2018 feel like decades ago. Amid tragedy, there was hope. And amid some of our nation’s worst moments, churches and people of faith stood up. Take a look back on some of this year’s biggest news and join Sojourners editors and writers as we looked beyond the headlines to get to the soul of the stories.
1. This Is How #MeToo Will End
In 2018, we saw mass response to the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements, as many looked for response from our supposed places of refuge: the church. These responses were amplified amid the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings and the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and many women collectively looked for ways to express their outrage, as Nancy Hightower writes in 2. A Woman’s Rage Can Be a Holy Thing.
And while there was much to be desired from many within the church — as report after report came out of abuses committed within these sacred communities — these pastors stood up to offer words of support and a commitment to accompany survivors: 3. Faith Leaders Have a Message for Survivors
4. ‘This Is Not a Crisis. This Is a Long-Term Disaster’
This year saw many of the president’s immigration-related campaign threats come to fruition. That came to a head in the late spring and early summer of 2018 as the administration implemented a policy of separating children from their parents at the border as they arrived to claim asylum. But, as Sojourners notes here, this crisis point was just one of many ongoing eruptions at our Southern border.
5. A Shared Theology of Sanctuary
Amid such horrors in immigration policy, churches throughout the country stepped up in a resurgence of the 1980s-era Sanctuary Movement. In addition to accompanying immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement appointments, training for interaction with ICE agents, and other active support measures, many churches — and synagogues and other houses of worship — are opening their sanctuaries to house people at risk of deportation.
So much happened in 2018, it’s hard to remember that it was just the past February that 17 students and staff were killed at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla., marking the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. Many called this shooting a turning point, as students from the high school organized and led voter turnout events, trolled politicians who refuse to act on gun violence, and led a historic march in Washington, D.C. Sojourners went to the rally and talked to some of the kids who were marching for their lives.
7. Denying Climate Change Is Not Just Political — It’s Deadly
The 2018 U.S. climate assessment — which paints a dire future in light of an onslaught of climate threats — proved overwhelming to many. As we’ve seen in the California “Camp Fire,” and other climate disasters throughout the country and world, our dangerous climate future is now.
But activists, some recently elected politicians, and many faith communities, are committed to offering solutions through a moral lens: 8. From Grassroots to Government: A Climate Assessment Presents a Moral Opportunity
9. Why a Southern Church Is Hosting Socialist Meetings
As millennials are moving into their 30s still plagued with student debt, a gig economy, a dire future amid climate change, and an elder ruling class that all but completely broken our politics, more and more are looking to alternatives to the dominant capitalist system — even in church. Which brings us to another question …
...10. Can Someone Who Owns 10 Yachts Enter the Kingdom of God?
Asking for a friend.
11. The Lasting Trauma of White Nationalist Violence in Charlottesville
August 2018 marked the one-year anniversary of the largest white-supremacist rally in the U.S. in decades. White supremacist James Fields killed counter-protester Heather Heyer and injured nearly 40 other people. The year also saw Fields, 21, convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, but just over a year since the rally, the wounds and trauma of the event remain. Sojourners looked at how the activists and faith leaders involved in the original counter-protest are moving forward.
12. Reclaiming Jesus in a Time of Crisis
Throughout all of this year’s inflection points, some in the faith community have been watching — and committing to action. Over Holy Week 2018, elders from across Christian denominations joined to pray and offer witness during some of the darkest times they’ve seen. What resulted was a declaration of action, a massive prayer service and candlelight vigil at the White House, and an ongoing commitment to hold leaders accountable.