Betsy Shirley is managing editor, sojo.net. She rejoined the editorial staff of Sojourners in 2015 after previously serving as an editorial assistant from 2010-2011. She holds an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and a B.A. in English from Butler University.
Betsy began writing narrative nonfiction at the age of 6, though she now writes less stories about cats than she did back then. These days she prefers to focus on stories that delve into the complexity of contemporary religion—faith, doubt, scandal, schism—and the ongoing tension of believing in an unseen reality while living in this one. She’s especially interested in stories about gender, sexuality, evangelical history, and interfaith collaboration.
Betsy’s articles and essays have appeared in Religion Dispatches, Religion & Politics, OnFaith, Reflections, UTNE Reader, and of course, Sojourners. She is a member of the Religion Newswriters Association and a 2015-2016 recipient of the Handa Fellowship in Interreligious Communication. She can be found on Twitter @betsyshirley.
When she’s not cooking up story ideas for an award-winning magazine of faith and social justice, Betsy enjoys historical walking tours, board games, and sitting around campfires.
Posts By This Author
Six Questions for Jose Penate Aceves
1. What led you to start an intentional community ministering to gang members? Gangs have a really strong sense of community: They fight and die for their homies and they support each other. Other programs offer job skills or anger management, but don’t offer community. We offer a community like the community they have. After many years working with them, we realized that was attractive to them—they feel at home.
Interview With John Francis
Interview with John Francis by Betsy Shirley
The Harry Potter Prayer
photo © 2007 Laura Askelin | more info (via: Wylio)Though I like a rousing round of ave maria's as much as the next person, the past few centuries of church prayer trends have eschewed Latin in favor of the vernacular -- that is, the language of the people. And to the tune of 450 million copies in more than 70 translations (and counting), it's clear that people the world around speak the language of Harry Potter. Or rather, the story of Harry Potter speaks to them.
So as I watched the final Hogwarts Express depart from Platform 9¾ in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II this past weekend (slightly teary-eyed, I confess), I started to wonder: What might it sound like to pray in the language of Harry Potter -- language that clearly resonates with folks around the world? Would it be cheesy? Probably. Profane? Perhaps. But I figured the God who relied on earthly parables about wineskins and fig trees to explain the Kingdom would understand.
Six Questions for Inez Killingsworth
Bio: Founded Empowering and Strengthing Ohio's People (ESOP) to stop predatory lending and home foreclosures. Website: www.esop-cleveland.org.
Facebook, Freedom Riders, and Other Lessons in Nonviolent Activism
Osama, Obama, and Twitter
Benedictine women in Wisconsin are practicing new (and ancient) ways to save the earth, starting with the home front.
Extended Interview with Enuma Okoro
Enuma Okoro grew up in four countries, including Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, and describes her religious education as "doses of Roman Catholicism washed down with long gulps of multiflav
Worship's Joys and Dangers
Author Enuma Okoro talks about life and liturgy.
'Have You Tried Washing Their Feet?'
Indiana Immigration: Hoosier Neighbor?
7 Essential Tips for Fitting in With the Christian Literary Underground Scene Near You!
While perusing everything from Amish fiction to Zondervan's latest publications at the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing this past April, I discovered what we here at Sojourners affectionately call the "Christian Literary Underground" -- a small group of literary magazines and independent book publishers that have "staked a cl
Climate Refugees: A Cordial Introduction
[Editor's Note: On October 10 (10.10.10), 350.org is coordinating 2700 events in 150 countries to address the concerns of climate change together as a planet.