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New and Noteworthy
When God Seems Hidden
Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel Silence tells of the persecution of Christians in 17th century Japan. Japanese-American artist Makoto Fujimura uses this novel as a springboard for an exploration of faith, art, trauma, and cultural heritage in the book Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering. IVP Books
The undergraduate choir of Trinity College Cambridge, directed by Stephen Layton, released a new live recording of Herbert Howells’ Collegium Regale. Recorded in Coventry Cathedral, it is a beautifully dynamic and spiritual rendition of an Anglican masterpiece. Hyperion
Beating the Green Blues
For Inspired Sustainability: Planting Seeds for Action, theologian and former Earth Institute Fellow Erin Lothes Biviano spoke with members of diverse faith communities to uncover the moral, spiritual, and practical motivations (and barriers) to transforming ecological concern into inspired, sustained action. Orbis
Letters to the Editor
Wrestling with Jesus
“Who Is This ‘Jesus’?” (Belden C. Lane, April 2016) is a beautiful and challenging reflection by one of the most authentic and honest voices of faith writing today. I keep wrestling with this same Jesus, whoever he is, because the struggle itself places me on a path that’s increasingly merciful and just. Thank you for this!
Don’t Leave Out Native Americans
Anne Courtright made a very important point about the treatment of Native Americans in her letter (“The Original ‘Original Sin’”) published on page 5 of your April issue. Sadly, on page 7 Jim Wallis omitted them when he speaks of “powerful voices.”
Are they simply not powerful because there are not so many of them? Ought we to be asking why they are not so numerous? Because we exterminated so many of them or isolated them on reservations.
I’ve lived and worked in rural Montana, Alaska, and Wyoming most of my life among different tribes. I care deeply about black lives mattering, but I grieve at the omission of the profoundly powerful voices of Native Americans. Don’t leave Native Americans out of the conversation when it comes to multiracial truth-telling.
New and Noteworthy
Classical pianist Hélène Grimaud’s live album Water is a musical and spiritual reflection on the life-sustaining, yet too-often limited, resource. It is a beautiful compilation of compositions that celebrate the power, beauty, and rhythm of water, with a hope that it encourages ecological awareness. Deutsche Grammophon
For All Ages
Ronald J. Sider and Ben Lowe dialogue in The Future of Our Faith: An Intergenerational Conversation on Critical Issues Facing the Church. Each chapter has sidebar reflections from other leaders, including Christena Cleveland, Gabriel Salguero, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Jenny Yang. Brazos Press
New & Noteworthy
Strings with Wings
Performing as Kishi Bashi, violinist Kaoru Ishibashi’s pop songs swirl together indie, classical, and prog rock. It’s not religious music (though lyrics sometimes hint at a church upbringing) but can transcend through pure exuberance. On String Quartet Live! he performs backed by a chamber ensemble. Joyful Noise
If Your Back’s Not Bent: The Role of the Citizenship Education Program in the Civil Rights Movement is civil rights leader Dorothy F. Cotton’s story of a key, but unsung, grassroots advocacy training program for disenfranchised people throughout South. Insights for then and now, newly released in paperback. Atria Books
A Way Forward
Thank you for publishing Jim Wallis’ excerpt “Crossing the Bridge to a New America” in the February 2016 issue. It has injected in me some much-needed optimism and energy. The idea that racism is, indeed, America’s original sin is a powerful one that imbues in our fight against it a new hope. That we can and need to repent from this awful and systemic plague is both challenging and encouraging. With the murders of so many people of color—including Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland, among too many others—it becomes easy to slip into resigned indifference. But Wallis reminds us that we, as both a nation and as a church, need to accept and act on the truth, for it is the only way forward.
Manchester, New Hampshire
The Original ‘Original Sin’
Regarding the excerpt of Jim Wallis’ America’s Original Sin in the February issue, it seems to me that our treatment of Native Americans is just as much our “original sin” as our treatment of slaves.
New and Noteworthy
Take an informative and engaging trip in the documentary film The Secret Life of Your Clothes. Presenter Ade Adepitan follows the trail of garments donated to charity to the biggest importer of secondhand clothes, Ghana, revealing the intersections of consumption culture, Ghanaian fashion, and globalization. www.bullfrogfilms.com
The People’s Work
How can intercultural music and liturgy prepare us for the work of reconciliation and justice? Experienced worship leader and trainer Sandra Maria Van Opstal explores the pragmatic and profound challenges and blessings of multiethnic worship in her book The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World. IVP Books
Letters to the Editor from Sojourners Readers
Opening a Sacred Text
HARPERONE'S RECENTLY released The Study Quran (following The Study Bible and Commentary on the Torah) promises to be a needed resource in a time of religious turmoil: A new English translation, it is also the first to provide extensive, line-by-line commentary by scholars on meaning and context drawn from hundreds of years of Islamic tradition. Included are several essays on specific themes—including war and peace, science, and human rights.
The process used to shape this work was unique as well. The team of editors led by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., strove to include perspectives and interpretations from the broadest range of Muslim communities—Sunni, Shia, and others—without lifting one above the others. The team’s goal was to create an in-depth, accurate, and accessible translation for use by Muslims, scholars, students of religion, and anyone else wanting to rise above today’s media chatter and explore this sacred text.
From the introduction:
The Quran is the constant companion of Muslims in the journey of life. Its verses are the first sounds recited into the ear of the newborn child. It is recited during the marriage ceremony, and its verses are usually the last words that a Muslim hears upon the approach of death. In traditional Islamic society, the sound of the recitation of the Quran was ubiquitous, and it determined the space in which men and women lived their daily lives; this is still true to a large extent in many places even today. As for the Quran as a book, it is found in nearly every Muslim home and is carried or worn in various forms and sizes by men and women for protection as they go about their daily activities. ... The Quran is an ever present source of blessing or grace ( barakah) deeply experienced by Muslims as permeating all of life.
New and Noteworthy
What We Need
My Little Book of Big Freedoms: The Human Rights Act in Pictures , illustrated by British writer-illustrator Chris Riddell, is a pocket-sized booklet with winsome illustrations of 16 freedoms and protections we might take for granted, including life, freedom, justice, belief, thought, togetherness, love, and mercy. Amnesty International U.K.
How can families of all shapes and sizes nurture human dignity, service, and the common good in the home and society? In Schools of Solidarity: Families and Catholic Social Teaching, Mary M. Doyle Roche offers practical, joyful guidance, with questions and activities for discussion and reflection. Liturgical Press
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