On the 20th anniversary of her canonization, we have the opportunity to reassess St. Edith Stein’s life and legacy. Instead of remembering her simply as a tragic victim, we can take a deeper look at the work she undertook during her lifetime. Over the course of four decades, Stein dedicated her life to civic engagement and political resistance. From volunteering with the Red Cross in World War I, to participating in the women’s suffrage movement in Prussia, to fighting for equal educational opportunities for women, to writing against the rise of the Nazi regime, Stein is much more than the “Holocaust martyr” – she is the patron saint of political resistance.
Do you feel powerless to challenge and change the deeply entrenched privilege that was on display last week? Don’t give into that feeling. You have the power to change the world. Look at how it’s changing already.
Like Sasse, moderate pastors who don’t want to upset the conservatives in their churches find themselves talking about how “all of us” are broken. How “all of us” are to blame. They talk about how social media is hurting us. How a broken sexual ethic is hurting us. And if the sexual abuse victims sitting in their congregation are anything like me, they are thinking, “No. A man hurt me.”
As a civil rights activist from the civil rights movement of the ‘60s, I continue to believe that everyone has constitutional rights. Thousands of Americans are being denied their civil and human rights because insensitive or politically manipulated legislators are creating policies that are destroying the environment. When profits, rather than the well-being of human and environmental life, determine the survival of the planet, it is a civil rights issue.
Alaska has a “linguistic emergency,” according to the Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker. A report warned earlier this year that all of the state’s 20 Native American languages might cease to exist by the end of this century, if the state did not act. American policies, particularly in the six decades between the 1870s and 1930s, suppressed Native American languages and culture. It was only after years of activism by indigenous leaders that the Native American Languages Act was passed in 1990, which allowed for the preservation and protection of indigenous languages. Nonetheless, many Native American languages have been on the verge of extinction for the past many years.
To be sure, Muslim women are among the survivors of sexual assault and violence. But narratives of oppressed Muslim women suffering from a violent and sexually abusive religion have often functioned as a distraction, a means of keeping the attention of our elected leaders on the presumably greater threat posed by lecherous Muslim men so that they need not come to terms with the full extent of the physical and sexual abuse women in the United States experience, nor with the ways white evangelicals contribute to the conditions facilitating this abuse.
The day when I was a kid, I watched that bird escape and fly away, not once did I consider what the ordeal it must’ve been like for it. How afraid it must’ve been being swallowed up in the darkness. The loneliness it must’ve felt. Confusion. The hurt and anger of being violated and victimized. And what of the consequences had it never returned to the nest. Would its family miss it? Would there be songs to mourn its absence? Were there young that depended on its safe return for survival?
Modern, Euro-American Christianity is deeply implicated in the colonial legacies which have crushed indigenous peoples. Reckoning with this is not easy. The doctrine of discovery provides an example. The doctrine of discovery was a Christian invention which justified dispossessing indigenous peoples of their land, parceling it out among emerging nation-states, and turning it into private property for settlers. In this framework, indigenous peoples are left with either extermination or assimilation.
Every fall, Sojourners welcomes 8 - 10 leaders to our office here in Washington, D.C. for a year-long internship program focused on spiritual formation, professional development, vocational discernment, and communal living. Program members are placed in different departments and work full-time alongside our staff. Throughout the program, interns practice intentional community living: sharing a budget, meals, spiritual practices, sorrows and joys, among many other things.
This weekend, more than 80 faith communities in Maryland will lift up climate justice as part of the fourth annual “Climate in the Pulpits / on the Bimah / in the Minbar” event. Jointly organized by Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVa) and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the event is a multi-faith effort to carry the message of creation care from the pews to policy makers.