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New & Noteworthy: September/October 2018

by The Editors 07-31-2018
Four September/October culture recommendations from our editors.

Dan Reynolds, subject of the documentary, Believer.

Singing in Exile

On A Liturgy for the Perseverance of the Saints, Taiwanese-American artist SueAnn Shiah reimagines hymns “for those who have been driven out of the church because of their race, gender, or sexuality.” With warm vocals and spare arrangements, Shiah invokes hope for those currently “stranded in the wilderness.” sueannshiah.bandcamp.com

Faith and Imagination

In A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle, Sarah Arthur digs deep into the personal journey of the influential and sometimes controversial A Wrinkle in Time author, revealing what L’Engle can continue to teach us. Zondervan

Letters: September/October 2018

by The Editors 07-25-2018
Letters to editors from Sojourners readers.
Everett Historical / Shutterstock

Everett Historical / Shutterstock 

Letters to editors from Sojourners readers.

Turning Off the Friday Night Lights

by The Editors 07-25-2018
Injustice anywhere, including on the fields of competition, cries out for response.

FORMER SAN FRANCISCO 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was presented Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience award this spring—previous winners have included Nobel Prize winners such as Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai—for “his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination.” Kaepernick’s “take a knee” protests against police violence sparked a movement, across football and other sports, and they rest upon a rich tradition of athletes who have stood up for justice in the broader society.

Our cover feature this month looks at one of the pre-eminent justice issues for the players themselves, particularly in football: brain injuries. We talked with Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who discovered pervasive brain trauma in NFL players. Omalu, whose research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, was chronicled in the 2015 Will Smith movie Concussion, argues in his latest book, Brain Damage in Contact Sports, that no child under 18 should play football.

Letters: August 2018

by The Editors 07-03-2018
Letters to the editors from Sojourners readers.
Everett Historical / Shutterstock

Everett Historical / Shutterstock 

Letters to the editors from Sojourners readers

New & Noteworthy: August 2018

by The Editors 07-02-2018
Four culture recommendations from our editors.

Image via Cora Edwards Photography/ Facebook

Time to Test

The documentary film I Am Evidence sheds light on the growing number of untested rape kits in the U.S. Featuring testimonies of survivors, prosecutors, and advocates, the documentary investigates why this backlog exists and calls attention to those fighting for justice. HBO

Beyond Redemption?

Fifteen years ago, Bryan Bliss witnessed an execution that propelled him to seminary, a stint teaching classes at correctional facilities, and, ultimately, into writing We’ll Fly Away. This young adult novel tells the story of two friends, Luke and Toby, through Luke’s letters from death row. Greenwillow Books

Holy Grief

by The Editors 06-29-2018
We cannot divorce the gospel—Jesus’ suffering and redemption—from the history of violence against black people.

EARLIER THIS YEAR, we lost theologian James H. Cone. “Yes, he was a world historical figure in contemporary theology, no doubt about that,” said professor Cornel West at Cone’s funeral, “a towering prophetic figure engaging in his mighty critiques and indictments of contemporary Christendom from the vantage point of the least of these ... But oh,” West added. “I think he would want us to view him through the lens of the cross—the blood at the foot of that cross.”

More than any other theologian, Cone taught us that we cannot divorce the gospel—Jesus’ suffering and redemption—from the history of violence against black people in the U.S. “Until we can see the cross and the lynching tree together, until we can identify Christ with a ‘recrucified’ black body hanging from a lynching tree, there can be no genuine understanding of Christian identity in America,” wrote Cone in The Cross and the Lynching Tree, “and no deliverance from the brutal legacy of slavery and white supremacy.”

The same week Cone died, the Equal Justice Initiative opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the more than 4,400 victims of racial violence, including lynching, between 1877 and 1950.

New & Noteworthy: July 2018

by The Editors 06-07-2018
Four July culture recommendations from our editors.

Septiembre, un llanto en silencio (2017)

Dignity in Displacement

Struck by the tragic stories of immigrants trying to enter eastern and southern Europe, Patrick Chamoiseau, a French author from Martinique, explores what it means to be a global community in a time of mass displacement in Migrant Brothers: A Poet’s Declaration of Human Dignity. Yale University Press

Silent Grief

Based on real events, September (originally released as Septiembre, Un Llanto En Silencio) depicts the coming-of-age of Theresa, a young girl who loses her hearing during a guerrilla terrorist bombing in Guatemala. Guatemalan director Kenneth Müller captures Theresa’s struggle as she navigates a grieving nation. Netflix

Letters: July 2018

by The Editors 05-30-2018
Letters to the editors from Sojourners readers.
Everett Historical / Shutterstock

Everett Historical / Shutterstock 

Seeking Alternatives

Conversations Worth Having

by The Editors 05-30-2018
Jesus, nonviolence, and justice.

EVERY SUMMER, we pause our magazine work to spend a few days at The Summit for Change, a gathering of faith and justice leaders hosted by Sojourners. Held at historic Gallaudet University, The Summit is Sojourners’ homecoming for old friends and new and also a time to practice two overlooked justice activities: honoring and blessing.

The first group of people we honor at The Summit are elders, leaders who’ve paved the way for us to follow. The elders we’ve honored over the years—including Rep. John Lewis, Marie Dennis, Walter Brueggemann, Ruby Sales, John Perkins—are heroes. We thank them for their pioneering leadership, learn from their wisdom, and ask for their blessing on our own work.

But we also honor new leaders—folks whose names may not be widely known but whose commitment to social justice is unmistakable. We recognize them for their efforts to create a more equitable and peaceful world before we offer our blessing on their work that lies ahead.

Is It Okay to Punch a Neo-Nazi?

by The Editors 05-30-2018
Misconceptions and musings on nonviolence.

NEO-NAZIS AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS are marching again. Counterprotesters are opposing and disrupting. Where do Christians stand? In April, Sojourners senior associate editor Rose Marie Berger launched this question on social media: Is it okay for a Christian to punch a Nazi? A lively conversation followed, eventually generating nearly 100 replies—and about as many different understandings (and misunderstandings) of Christian nonviolence. Excerpts from the conversation below are edited and used with permission. —The Editors

Rose: Is it okay for a Christian to punch a Nazi? Discuss.

Maureen: Last time I checked it is not okay to punch anyone, no matter who you are. Right?

Nate: Yes. Pacifism doesn’t work against genocide. You have to have an opponent who can feel shame. Nazis call for the extinction of my people and have proven they are willing to try and carry that out.

Rose: Is pacifism the same as organized unarmed resistance?

Nate: In my head it has the same results against Nazis. Nazis are my only punching exception.

Larry: Ask Dietrich Bonhoeffer ...

Nate: Show me where Bonhoeffer succeeded in stopping the Nazis. I’ll wait.

Larry: He didn’t, but he didn’t resist passively.

Korla: Choosing to accept death for yourself is substantially different from choosing to accept it for other people, particularly from a position where you’re incredibly low on the list of targets. That’s cowardly and colonial.

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