Duane Shank

Duane Shank was Associate Editor for Sojourners magazine and was on the staff from 1995 to 2014. 

Duane has been active as an organizer and administrator in the peace and justice movement for 35 years, beginning as a draft resistance and antiwar organizer during the Vietnam war. He has worked as a community organizer in the rural south, in interfaith coalitions, and in the nuclear weapons freeze and Central America solidarity movements of the 1980s. His positions have included Associate for the National Inter-religious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors; National Coordinator for the Committee Against Registration and the Draft; Deputy Director and Acting Executive Director for SANE/Freeze; and Research Fellow for the Institute for Policy Studies.

Duane attended Eastern Mennonite University. He is a Anabaptist/Mennonite, and currently an active member and serves on the worship leadership team of the Community of Christ ecumenical congregation in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, D.C. His views on faith and politics have been shaped by (among others), John Howard Yoder, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Oscar Romero.

Duane is married to Ellen Kennel. They have a daughter, Celeste, a graduate of Goshen College, IN, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago Divinity School.

In addition to family, church, and work; his passions are baseball (Washington Nationals), blues (Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan) and bluegrass music (Ralph Stanley), and barbecue.


Posts By This Author

Lament and Hope

by Duane Shank 07-10-2015
'The Gospel According to the Blues,' by Gary W. Burnett. Cascade Books.

AN OLD Buddy Guy song is titled “First Time I Met the Blues.” I don’t remember the first time I met the blues, but I do remember that I was captivated by the music. For many years now, two of my passions have been listening to blues and studying the Bible. Gary W. Burnett, a lecturer in New Testament at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and an amateur blues guitarist, shares those passions. This book, he writes in the introduction, is his attempt “to combine in some ways these two passions and to be able to reflect on Christian theology through the lens of the blues.” He succeeds with a well-crafted synthesis of U.S. history, African-American history, the blues, and New Testament scholarship.

Blues music is one of the great contributions of African-American culture to the U.S. While rooted in the oppression of slavery and post-slavery Jim Crow, it speaks meaningfully to the experience of all people. It’s a music that grabs your soul and won’t let go. And Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is central to his message of life in the coming and present kingdom of God. It can also grab your soul and not let go. By juxtaposing blues lyrics with passages from the Sermon, Burnett shows the common themes that emerge.

Tell Me A Story

by Duane Shank 01-06-2015

Short Stories by Jesus. HarperOne. 

No Short or Easy Struggle

by Duane Shank 07-09-2014

Fifty years later, does the political will exist to win the "War on Poverty"?

The Price of Conscience

by Duane Shank 04-03-2014

Pacifists in Chains: The Persecution of Hutterites During the Great War. Johns Hopkins University Press

Fields of Faith and Doubt

by Duane Shank 10-02-2013

Baseball as a Road to God. Gotham Books.

A Revolution of Rising Expectations

by Duane Shank 08-02-2013

Dreams of a better life—and political corruption—spark rising protests around the world.

The Top 10 Stories of August 2, 2013

by Duane Shank 08-02-2013

Quote of the day.
“I’m working as hard as I can. Every time I talk to my boss I ask, ‘Is there any more work?’ I’m trying to go to school so I can get a better job, so I can get off welfare.” Yolanda Williams, Philadelphia, who works part-time and receives Medicaid and food stamps to support her disabled husband and unemployed daughter, while also attending school.
(NBC News)

1. U.S. employers add 162k jobs, rate falls to 7.4 pct.
U.S. employers added 162,000 jobs in July, the fewest since March. The gains were enough to lower the unemployment rate to a 4 1/2 -year low of 7.4 percent.
(Associated Press)

2. Dozens arrested in pro-immigration protest at U.S. Capitol.
Dozens of leaders in the immigration movement were arrested Thursday after they blocked a major intersection near the Capitol in a protest of Republican opposition to an immigration overhaul that would include a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million immigrants who are in the country illegally.
(McClatchy News)

3. G.O.P. rifts lead Congress to spending impasse.
Hours before leaving on summer recess, Congress on Thursday hit a seemingly intractable impasse on government spending, increasing the prospects of a government shutdown in the fall and adding new urgency to fiscal negotiations between the White House and a bloc of Senate Republicans.
(New York Times)

4. House GOP takes another cut at food stamp bill.
House Republicans are proposing to double their food stamp savings to nearly $40 billion by rolling back waivers for able-bodied adults and targeting funds to states that are willing to impose greater work requirements on the parents of young children.

5. Unions get creative to halt decline in membership.
With union membership on the decline, labor leaders are getting more creative — and some say more desperate — to boost sagging numbers and rebuild their waning clout.
(Associated Press)

6. Global warming, more wars? Climate could spark more conflict.
Peacemakers are likely to be in great demand by 2050 if global warming proceeds unabated. That is the implication of a new analysis exploring the links between climate change and conflict.
(Christian Science Monitor)

7. Kerry says Pakistan drone strikes could end as bilateral talks resume.
The U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, and his Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz, said on Thursday the two countries will resume high-level negotiations over security issues. Kerry suggested that disputed drone strikes could end soon.

8. Iran assails house sanctions bill.
Iran reacted angrily on Thursday to the overwhelming approval of harsh legislation on sanctions by the House of Representatives, saying the action would further complicate stalled negotiations aimed at resolving the protracted dispute over the Iranian nuclear energy program.
(New York Times)

9. U.S. says Egypt restoring democracy.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said Egypt's military was "restoring democracy" when it ousted elected President Mohammed Morsi last month. Mr Kerry said the removal was at the request of "millions and millions of people."

10. Spree of prison breakouts stirs fear of new Al Qaeda threat.
In less than a week, more than 2,000 prisoners, many of them Islamic militants trained by Al Qaeda, have been broken out of detention in Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan in spectacularly violent raids.
(Chicago Tribune)

Editor’s note:


I am transitioning into a different role at Sojourners, so after nearly 7 years, today is the last Daily Digest I will do. Sojourners will continue to bring you the news you need to know, although the format may change. I have thoroughly enjoyed producing the Digest, and I have always been grateful for the emails with your appreciation, suggestions, and critiques.

Thank you.


The Top 10 Stories of August 1, 2013

by Duane Shank 08-01-2013

Quote of the day.
“I wanted to be part of creating a community where survivors and hard-living people could feel welcome.” Don Durham, founder of Healing Springs Acres, a community farm in North Carolina that provides people a means of serving their neighbors by growing thousands of pounds of produce for area feeding ministries.
(Associated Baptist Press)

The Top 10 Stories of July 31, 2013

by Duane Shank 07-31-2013

Quote of the day.
“What this research reveals above all is that poverty is hugely complex and controlled by myriad forces. The interconnectedness of the world through globalisation means the poorest and most marginalised face negative pressures from all quarters making it harder and harder to sustain a livelihood." Neva Frecheville, post-MDGs policy analyst for the Catholic aid agency Cafod, on a new report that the wellbeing of many poor people has deteriorated over the past 15 years as a result of factors beyond their control.

The Top 10 Stories of July 30, 2013

by Duane Shank 07-30-2013

Quote of the day.
"Remaining silent is not an option because it''s nearly impossible to survive on $7.25 an hour." Kareem Starks, a McDonald''s worker in Brooklyn, as hundreds of low-wage workers at fast food chains protested in New York, starting a week of demonstrations in several major cities demanding the federal minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour.
(Chicago Tribune/Reuters)