Betsy Shirley

Associate Editor, Sojourners magazine

Betsy Shirley is associate editor at Sojourners magazine. 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

A New Wave

by Betsy Shirley 07-01-2013

The Evangelicals You Don't Know: Introducing the Next Generation of Christians. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Vehicles for Grace

by Betsy Shirley, by Francisco X. Stork 11-27-2012

Francisco X. Stork

Betsy Shirley talks to author Francisco X. Stork about helping young adults ask the hard questions.

Being Like Deborah

by Betsy Shirley 10-03-2012

What in heaven's name does "biblical womanhood" mean? Rachel Held Evans embarked on a yearlong journey to find out.

Doing it the Hard Way

by Betsy Shirley 05-01-2012

Gamaliel's Ana Garcia-Ashley is the first woman of color to lead a national community organizing network, faith-based or otherwise. And she's pulling no punches.

Practice, Practice, Practice

by Betsy Shirley 11-01-2011

How to deepen our spirituality, one step at a time.

Six Questions for Jose Penate Aceves

by Betsy Shirley 11-01-2011

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

by John Francis, by Betsy Shirley 07-27-2011

Interview with John Francis by Betsy Shirley

The Harry Potter Prayer

by Betsy Shirley 07-19-2011

Ingus Kruklitis / Shutterstock.com

oh yes I amphoto © 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

by Betsy Shirley 06-03-2011

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

by Betsy Shirley 05-16-2011
By the time Egyptian activists in Tahrir square had ousted Mubarak, I'd read more articles labeling it a "Facebook revolution" than you can wave a shoe at.

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