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Dreaming of A New World
IN WALTER BRUEGGEMANN'S first article for Sojourners, published in November 1983, he described the “radical break” we prepare for in Advent as “the Bible’s effort to break our imagination.”
In the decades that followed, Brueggemann’s keen analysis of scripture has called out some of the darkest practices of American empire, including consumerism, gun violence, financial corruption, environmental exploitation, and sexual assault. But while he’s never shied from speaking truth to power, Brueggemann has repeatedly emphasized that the core of the prophetic vocation isn’t merely to rebuke unjust systems, but rather, as he wrote in 1983, “to think a genuinely new thought, to dream of a genuinely new world that will displace the old failed one.”
New & Noteworthy
Faith in the Dark
Indie rock singer and Memphis native Julien Baker examines sexual identity, Christianity, and mental health in her latest album, Turn Out the Lights. Influenced by the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer, Baker’s album is a meditation on empathy and unity. Matador Records
Memoir of Survival
Nadia Murad was just 21 years old when she was forced into the ISIS slave trade in northern Iraq. Now a human rights activist, Murad details her narrow escape in The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State. Tim Duggan Books
Letters to the editor from Sojourners readers
New & Noteworthy
Best-selling author Miriam Horn of the Environmental Defense Fund brings her timely book Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman to life in a new documentary. Narrated by award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw, the film highlights five surprising “conservation heroes” working to protect the land they love. rancherfarmerfisherman.com
A Daily Gift
In Gift and Task: A Year of Daily Readings and Reflections, renowned Old Testament scholar and theologian Walter Brueggemann provides daily reflection on scripture. Beginning with Advent, Brueggemann invites readers to critically consider the “cost and joy of discipleship.” Westminster John Knox Press
Do No Harm
No Place Like Home
DURING THE HOLIDAYS, many of us go home. But home can be a tricky place these days. Pass the coffee and the pumpkin pie, but could we please skip the conversations with relatives who disagree with us about immigration, racism, climate change, and, well, pretty much everything?
Nope, says Katharine M. Preston in “An Experiment in Neighborly Love.” In a time of intense polarization, “talking exclusively with those with whom we agree simply hardens our positions and makes us angrier,” she writes in this issue. Instead, she challenges us to an “experiment”: gathering people with a wide range of ideological views to listen to one another. Some may see this practice as “hopelessly passive, naïve, and a waste of time,” she admits, but building empathy across the partisan divide could go a long way toward ending the cycle of alienation and frustration that makes people susceptible to fear-based rhetoric.
Our cover story offers another kind of homegoing.
What Can Churches Do to Respond to the Opioid Crisis?
In June, Bishop Ed Malesic of Greensburg, Pa., released “A Pastoral Letter on the Drug Abuse Crisis: From Death and Despair to Life and Hope.” In it he outlined several “first steps” that parishes could take in response to the region’s opioid epidemic.
IT'S NOT ONE of the Bible stories people often talk about. The tragedy of Tamar, a young woman who was raped by her half-brother and told to “be quiet” while those in authority refused to seek justice on her behalf, is recounted in 2 Samuel 13. We learn in scripture that Tamar became “a desolate woman.”
Letters to the Editor
New & Noteworthy
Filmmakers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis use their backgrounds as activists and artists to create Whose Streets?, a gripping documentary about the Ferguson uprising. Through scenes of hope and resistance, Whose Streets? reclaims Mike Brown’s story and shows Ferguson through the eyes of those who experienced it. whosestreetsfilm.com
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