Jenna Barnett is an associate web editor for Sojourners.
Jenna was born in San Antonio, Texas, and has found home in California, Georgia, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. She has a B.A. in sociology and religion from Furman University, and is studying Literary Reportage at New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Before joining the Sojourners team, Jenna managed the International Rescue Committee’s large urban gardens in San Diego, and worked as a Peace Writer for the Women PeaceMakers Program at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, where she used creative nonfiction, interviews, and conflict analysis to tell the life story of Pauline Dempers, a human rights activist and torture survivor from Namibia. The narrative, Tell Them Our Names, is available online. It's a life goal of Jenna's to continue uplifting the stories of women who are cooler than she is.
Posts By This Author
Pass Me Anything But the Peace
ON A RECENT Sunday, my pastors asked the congregation to show up for Zoom church with “something to consume during communion.” And let me tell you, if you’ve never had a tortilla chip as the bread and chipotle salsa as the wine then you might be experiencing a lower tier of consecration. Even my dog—who not only considers the lilies, but also pees upon them—ate from the crumbs of my Tostitos and knew something beautiful and mysterious had transpired.
In other words, Zoom church, even with its lag time and pixilation, has had its perks—but one perk, specifically, above all other perks: While the absence of commutes and underwire bras has been noteworthy, the absence of churchy small talk has been paramount.
My trifles with the Passing of the Peace predate and rival my newer fears of the Passing of the Germs. At the age of 8, I had what my therapist called “separation anxiety” and what my older sister called “OHMYGOD Loosen Your Grip on My Forearm, JENNA.” I did not know what to say if the kind, adult Presbyterians asked me, “How’s school?” or the even more terrifyingly open-ended: “How’ve you been?”
Our Father in the Skies: What Our Editors Are Reading
Waiting for the "baptizer to appear in the wasteland."
Inconsistent Miracles: What Our Editors Are Reading
Reimagining policing alongside poetry.
The Math of Grief: What Our Editors Are Reading
Numbers like 500,000, hard as they are to grasp, are necessary for grieving.
Homesick For a Frozen State: What Our Editors Are Reading
It’s hard to be far away when tragedy hits close to home. (Well, maybe not for Ted Cruz.)
Questions Worth Cursing About: What Our Editors Are Reading
For instance: "What does it mean to look at oneself through the gaze of one's own history?"
The Elusive Soul of America: What Our Editors Are Reading
We’ve heard an awful lot of talk about the soul during this inauguration week. Which is not all that surprising, given that President Joe Biden described the 2020 campaign season as a “battle for the soul of America.”
9 Books Our Editors Loved This Year
Reading was the safest way to travel this year — sometimes to another decade and another brand of violence, sometimes to a different continent or a different galaxy altogether. Below are Sojourners' editors' favorite books of the year. Most of these books came out years ago, but by reading them through the lens of 2020, we found new wisdom, escape, resonance, and hope.
A Word Cloud for 2020: What Our Editors Are Reading
2020, which allegedly ends later this month, has made us mourn, and within that and despite that, it’s made us creative. Below are 10 articles about how we survived, how we didn’t, and how we still could.
Begrudgingly Thankful: What Our Editors Are Reading This Week
De-politicizing refugee resettlement, virtual Thanksgiving, and other stories our editors are reading.
No Unity Without Justice: Sermons from the Sunday After the Election
In president-elect Joe Biden’s acceptance speech on Saturday he “pledge[d] to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify. Who doesn’t see red and blue states, but a United States.”
Yet over the weekend, some social media users used their platforms to warn pastors not to conflate peace-building and unity with forced reconciliation.
Counting Votes and Blessings: What Our Editors Are Reading
It’s been a week of record highs: 143,855,830 people voted for Joe Biden or Donald Trump, and counting; 121,888 new daily cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and counting.
The Vote Will Go On: What Our Editors Are Reading
Conspiracy theories, pizza, and voting where Celine Dion once sang.
Most Americans Fear Post-Election Violence, New Study Finds
According to new polling data from PRRI, 86 percent of Americans are concerned that there will be widespread violent protests in the aftermath of the upcoming election, revealing that both Republicans and Democrats share this fear.
For the Love of Faith, Justice, and Broccoli: What Our Editors Are Reading
Praise-band superspreaders, the Supreme Court, and God as Gardener.
5 Bible Verses About Flies
Last night’s vice presidential debate left viewers with many questions: Would Mike Pence aid in a peaceful transition of power should Donald Trump lose the election? Why do Kamala Harris and Joe Biden like fracking so much? Why was Susan Page denied a mute button? And why was that fly so drawn to Pence, plexiglass be damned? Perhaps it was the vice president’s hairspray, or his chilling stillness, or his pinkish eye. We may never know for sure. But in my search for answers, I turned to the Bible.
Thoughts, Prayers, Mixed Feelings
As news spread that Donald and Melania Trump have contracted COVID-19, thoughts, prayers, and tweets have started pouring in from across the U.S.
Hope in Dissent: What Our Editors Are Reading This Week
It was hard to remain hopeful this week — this year, really. We’re living in an age of dissent.
Hazed and Confused: What Our Editors Are Reading This Week
We’ve been running out of places to put all this smoke, all this bad, bad news. So we share it, and hope that collectively we can hold it as we fight for a more just reality.
Tragic, Hopeful, Silly: What Our Editors Are Reading
While Oregon wildfires consumed nearly a million acres in just 72 hours, domestic and international powers looked for ways to alter the results of the upcoming election. But somehow, joy has also continued, mainly because it must.