Beth Cooper-Chrismon is director of individual giving at Sojourners. (You may have received emails from her; she crafts every one of them lovingly by hand.)
Beth has worked at Sojourners since April 2015 and has served as the donor services associate, database administrator, and supervisor of the donor services team. Previously, she worked as a major donor prospect researcher for political and nonprofit clients.
Beth is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, where her studies focused on the role of religion in 20th century Middle Eastern-European relations. While attending Georgetown, she enrolled in one of Jim Wallis’ courses, and this experience led her to seek out further involvement in Sojourners’ mission, ministry, and advocacy.
Beth lives in Washington, D.C., where she enjoys weightlifting, loud guitar music, Dungeons and Dragons, and critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV.
Posts By This Author
Powerlifters for Christ
I LIFT WEIGHTS and I am a Christian, which means every day I have to ignore the norms of what makes a “good Christian” and a “fit person” and instead follow my own compass and live how I choose. But what if I didn’t? What if instead, through the power of televangelism and protein powder, I turned into the pinnacle of both conservative Christianity and weightlifting culture: a white male Incredible Hulk, a powerlifter for Christ?
What follows is a dispatch from the alternate reality in which this transformation occurred. Look upon it with awe and dread. Don’t let this happen to you.
I AM A POWERLIFTER for Christ. My reps and my PRs ascend to the highest heaven. My delts are for the Divine, my pecs for the Promised Land, my triceps for the Trinity. (Truly I tell you, this makes my triceps confusing.)
Were you to ask: “Do you lift His name on high?” I would answer, “Yes, my brother in Christ, bring it in.” And we would embrace like true godly men, slapping each other’s backs to remind each other and ourselves that we are violent and therefore heterosexual.
It is written (upon my workout shirts): “Reps for Jesus,” “Hallowed Be Thy Gains,” “Jesus Lifts.” So, to you I must ask: Wherefore art thy gains?
Getting to #Blessed in 5 Easy Steps
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “How to keep going,” you may ask? I’m fine, you may say. The increasingly fraught political landscape, the ominous signs of climate change, the erosion of voting rights, the crushing “invisible hand” of global capitalism, and a lack of space to collectively process any of the above — these are all things that are totally fine and normal and do not bother you. Your eye is not twitching right now as you say this.
Hush, you. I made a list of five easy steps to help you keep on keeping on. Read it and weep. I mean, stop weeping.
Now More Than Ever
DECEMBER IS A stressful time for fundraisers, as a significant percentage of most nonprofits’ annual revenue comes in during the holiday season. We made a mistake this month when we asked Beth, who does much of Sojourners’ online fundraising, to write a humor column for this issue. Instead of a humor column, she sent us the following, in an envelope with a return address of “a cave in the woods; do not look for me.” We hope she’s doing okay. — The Editors
Dear Potential Supporter,
Now more than ever. This holiday season. In this moment, this urgent time, the most crucial of moments that all of us are in, right now. (Yes, you too.) Now — today — more than ever — Sojourners needs your year-end donation.
Did you know that the average American hears the phrase “now more than ever” 500 times a day? Did you know that all other organizations who use the phrase “now more than ever” are copying us, and we used it first? (Did you know that I, a fundraising professional hiding inside a cave, am both deeply normal and a trustworthy source of information?)
I Tried Mindfulness, the Wonder Drug
READERS, I AM here to tell you about My Mindfulness Journey, but not in an annoying way, guaranteed or your money back. (Please keep reading. It’ll be different this time.)
But, before we get to mindfulness—aware of Carl Sagan’s comment, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe”—we will need to invent my brain, or at least take some major psychological detours. Which is appropriate, since ADHD is all about detours.
Oh, wait. Got ahead of myself there. Let’s start at the beginning.
My 2020 experience was a typical one, in that I spent 100 percent of it in my home and/or in untenable personal and professional situations. Switching to working from home utterly destroyed my routines and support systems. The accompanying collapse of my productivity, mood, and mental health prompted my therapist to ask if I’d ever considered that I might have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder, or ADHD.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects attention regulation, executive function, working memory, and a host of other issues—seemingly designed with the express purpose of embarrassing me in front of my boss.
In the months following my diagnosis, I analyzed my habits with the eye of a quality control inspector, dumbstruck by the breadth and scope of this particular unit’s malfunctioning. “How have I survived all this time?” I wondered almost daily. “And surely one of these ‘normal’ people could give me a scrap of their extra dopamine? For a good cause?”
At the same time, I realized: You know what would be a great way to help me learn to live with an overactive and unpredictable brain? Mindfulness.
The (Not So) Great Reintegration
AS MORE AND MORE more of us who are still working remotely receive the COVID-19 booster, and as more effective treatments are developed and omicron fades into distant memory (one can always hope), the threat of returning to “normal life”—offices, restaurants, bars—looms on the horizon. White-collar workers across the nation are looking upon their professional shoes and slacks with fear and dread. Are we as a country capable of abandoning sweatpants, after all they’ve done for us?
We have grown accustomed to a softer, smaller world, a comfortable and blanket-filled cocoon of our own making, but soon we will reenter a world that is both freer and crueler. A world where people see our faces when we walk by and (God forbid) try to start conversations with us. A world where people hug us without asking first. A world where, for some reason, we are expected to make small talk. Calvinists and non can surely agree that this is depraved.
It will be difficult to return to professional lives that involve arduous and near-mythical rituals of the before-times such as “commutes” and “dress codes” and “supervisors who know how late we sleep in.”
Grief and Cheap Grace in ‘WandaVision’
Grief is a powerful, disorienting thing, as so many can attest this second Lenten season of a global pandemic that has claimed more than 2.5 million lives. “I’m so tired,” says Wanda Maximoff in the penultimate episode of Disney+ and Marvel Studios’ hit show WandaVision. “It’s just like this wave washing over me again and again. It knocks me down, and when I try to stand up, it just comes for me again. And I … it’s just gonna drown me.” Wanda is referring to the loss of her twin brother, Pietro, but the picture of grief is familiar.
'Avengers: Endgame' Is a Love Letter to Human Imperfection
The first line of Avengers: Endgame is “Do you know where you’re going?” And the story that follows, the final chapter of a saga 11 years in the making, is an attempt by the deeply flawed, deeply human protagonists at wrestling with that question — what is our path, do we know it, and can we change it?
I Gave Up Social Media For Lent, and I'm Here to Tell You: That Was a Great Choice
May this insight be useful to you all. And may you feel minimally conflicted when you share it on Facebook.
The Oppressive Whiteness of Taylor Swift's 'Wildest Dreams'
Taylor Swift’s controversial new music video, “Wildest Dreams,” is intended to evoke awe of the “wildest” of African landscapes: pure natural beauty, “undiscovered” and “untarnished” — and entirely without Africans.
Perhaps because this video launched soon after Ms. Swift’s recent race- and privilege-related feud with Nicki Minaj, or because at the time of writing, the video has reached nearly 25 million views since its release on Aug. 30, response to the video has been intense. Reading articles on both sides was a conflicting experience, as a young white woman raised on fashion magazines, classic cinema, and the idealization of “old Hollywood.” Can we love and appreciate those films without endorsing that oppression? Is it possible to create an homage to them without endorsing them entirely? In short — how can we free ourselves from the cognitive dissonance of outwardly condemning racism, misogyny, and colonialism while still internally glorifying images and ideals that are built upon them?
The answer to this question may lie in other, more nuanced, portrayals of midcentury American culture.