“If you had told me at 25 that anybody would be celebrating my sexual orientation, I would not have believed you,” Rev. Kim Jackson said of recently becoming the first out LGBTQ person elected to the Georgia State Senate.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts like that lately: If you had told me last December that spending time with family would become the subject of major public health debate, I would not have believed you. Or that stores would run out of flour and yeast because everyone started baking bread? Nah. That calls to “defund the police” would move to the political mainstream? Be realistic. That we’d have to explain to adults it wasn’t safe to drink bleach? Unbelievable.
By contrast, when an angel swoops in and tells Mary about her unbelievable future as the mother of God in the first chapter of Luke, she only asks one question (sensibly: “How can this be?”) before she nods to Gabriel saying, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Really, Mary?
And yet, believe it or not, here we are. Things that once seemed impossible have happened and the trajectories of our lives have changed as a result. In the 10 stories below, you’ll see people wrestling with — and sometimes accepting — all the changes life throws our way.
1. Faith Leaders: Trump’s Rushed Executions Show ‘Blatant Disregard’ for Life
The Trump administration has accelerated federal executions since the November elections. By Lexi McMenamin via sojo.net.
2. The Danger of Assuming That Family Time Is Dispensable
Americans who are desperate to see their loved ones need advice that goes beyond “Just say no.” By Julia Marcus via The Atlantic.
3. No, a Hanukkah Bush Is Not a Thing
And other things you have to navigate as a queer Jew in December. By Molly Conway via sojo.net.
4. Understanding America: Is There a Connection Between Faith and Firearms?
New research sheds some light on where religion figures into the 2020 surge in gun sales. By Mya Jaradat via Deseret News.
5. Biden Is a Pro-Choice Catholic. Will He Expand Reproductive Health Care?
After four years of policies driven by fierce opposition to abortion rights, especially from Christian conservatives, faith-based reproductive rights advocates hope the Biden-Harris administration will turn the tide. By Stephanie Russell-Kraft via sojo.net.
6. My Twisted Fantasy of White Jesus
How my proximity to evangelical Christianity was really a proximity to white supremacy. By Melody Liao-Chamberlain via Inheritance.
7. Kim Jackson: The Black Lesbian Pastor Headed to Georgia’s State Senate
“If you had told me at 25 that anybody would be celebrating my sexual orientation, I would not have believed you,” said Rev. Kim Jackson. By Mitchell Atencio via sojo.net.
8. Why Universities — and the Rest of Us — Need Religion Studies
If we let universities strip away their commitments to religious diversity, we are actually making our communities less safe. By Simran Jeet Singh via Religion News Service.
9. Biden’s Climate Agenda Is Ambitious, But Clergy and Activists Want More
“We have to end fracking. Biden knows it,” Rev. Fletcher Harper said. By Gina Ciliberto via sojo.net.
10. A High School Football Team’s Wartime Resistance
In ‘The Eagles of Heart Mountain,’ Bradford Pearson renders the lives of incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II in three dimensions. By Reid Singer via High Country News.