Jenna Barnett

Associate Web Editor

Jenna Barnett is an Associate Web Editor for Sojourners who loves writing and editing on culture, religion, and gender.

Jenna was born in San Antonio, Texas, and has found home in California, Georgia, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. Jenna has a B.A. in sociology and religion from Furman University, and will study Literary Reportage at New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the fall.

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.

You can follow Jenna on twitter @jennacbarnett and see what she’s writing at jennabarnett.com.

Posts By This Author

ICE Detains Pastor, Leaving a Wisconsin Community Reeling

by Jenna Barnett 05-17-2019

“In a representative democracy, if our legislators are not legislating in accordance with the moral law that we’re given by God, then it’s really on us to select representatives who will legislate in accordance with that law,” she said.

Advocate for Maternal Health this Mother's Day

by Jenna Barnett 05-09-2019

Photo by Jeremy Paige on Unsplash

In response to rising maternal mortality rates in the U.S., congress has introduced several pieces of legislation in the past several months aimed at saving the lives of women during and immediately after pregnancy.

The Equal Rights Amendment Inches Forward: A 100-Year Fight for Gender Equality

by Jenna Barnett 04-30-2019

Jimmy Carter Signing Extension of Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Ratification, Nov. 20, 1978. Wikimedia Commons

The House Judiciary Committee today held the first hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment in 36 years. The ERA affirms that, “Women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” If the ERA passes, the word “women” would appear in the Constitution for the first time in history.

11 Women Shaping the Church

by Jenna Barnett 03-08-2019

Every International Women’s Day, Sojourners has the honor and challenge of selecting the women who are most inspiring us in the ways they are leading the church, and through it, the world. This year’s group of women includes pastors and artists, professors and activists, lawyers and painters. Collectively, they are shaping the church into a more inclusive, daring, honest, and action-oriented community of believers. We thank them for it. Below, learn why their work is so important, and pray along with these leaders as you receive their blessings for 2019.

New Study: Largest U.S. Churches Are Unclear on Women's Leadership

by Jenna Barnett 01-30-2019

Rev. Dr. Stacey Cole Wilson at a prayer event to end the government shutdown. 

I spent the first 18 years of my life blissfully assuming all Protestant churches allowed women to preach. At my home church, a tiny Presbyterian (USA) congregation in San Antonio, women spoke from the pulpit as often as they brought lukewarm casseroles to Sunday potluck. But when I left home for college, another first-year ambushed me in the dorm kitchen with his mouth full of 1 Timothy, bursting my egalitarian bubble. While I have since memorized the scriptural justifications for my equal existence and participation in the church, a new study by Church Clarity reveals that I am still far from living in a world where all Protestant churches allow women to lead.

Women and Children Feel the Most Impact of the Shutdown. Here's Why

by Jenna Barnett 01-09-2019

Capitol Hill is seen as a partial U.S. government shutdown continues in Washington. Dec. 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Young

In Donald Trump’s address to the nation last night, meant to emphasize his desire for a physical barrier to close off the southern border, he stated, “Women and children are the biggest victims, by far, of our broken system.” He referenced high rates of sexual assault on the journeys up the southern border and the brutal rape and murder of a California resident by an undocumented immigrant and a U.S. citizen (though he failed to highlight the ladder assailant). I agree with Trump that women and children are the biggest victims of the broken system, though not in all the ways that he had in mind.

Can ‘Locker Room Talk’ Be Redeemed?

by Jenna Barnett 12-19-2018
Four top athletes break down what it means to be a man.

WHEN I WAS a high school soccer and basketball player, locker rooms were a sanctuary for me. I remember elaborate pregame handshakes and earnest debates over whether it was okay to pray for a win. I chatted with teammates about defensive strategy, physics homework, and crushes. But I do not remember anyone ever bragging about sexual assault.

Donald Trump excused as “locker room talk” his vulgar boasting about kissing, groping, and trying to have sex with women during the infamous 2005 conversation caught live by Access Hollywood and released during the 2016 campaign. Trump’s lewd remarks still loom large for me, because I refuse to normalize having an admitted sexual assaulter in the Oval Office and also because UltraViolet, a creative women’s advocacy organization, periodically plays that videotape on a continuous loop in front of the U.S. Capitol. Tourists, members of Congress, and everyone else get a regular reminder of who is in the White House.

However, as UltraViolet’s action and the flood of #MeToo testimonials demonstrate, it is not enough to shine a light on the prevalence of sexual violence. Revelation alone does not beget liberation. We can’t simply hold up a mirror to our cultural misogyny and expect the image to change. For real transformation, we must project a true image—an imago dei —rather than our current distortion.

'I Believe You': Church Leaders Respond to Survivors

by Jenna Barnett, by Jim Wallis 09-27-2018

Photo by Jachan DeVol on Unsplash

On Thursday Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recounted her experience of sexual assault before a committee comprising mostly older white men. Women and other victims of abuse held their collective breath. The details were familiar. The resulting trauma — anxiety, fear of flying, claustrophobia — resonated. Survivors listened — and they recalled their worst experiences.

This Is How #MeToo Will End

by Jenna Barnett 09-20-2018

Photo by Jared Arango on Unsplash

I, too, have felt the thickness of the past 341 days. Because time doesn’t fly in the midst of a long awaited cultural change — it crawls. Time pauses to ask God, “Why?” It stops to lament each child abused by a priest and each survivor silenced to preserve the legacy of a charismatic pastor. 

Cardinal McCarrick Removed from Ministry After Sex Abuse Allegations

by Jenna Barnett 06-21-2018

FILE PHOTO: Archbishop of Washington Theodore E. McCarrick during a Mass in Washington. Jan. 22, 2001. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

The Vatican has decided to remove Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick from ministry after finding allegations that he sexually abused a minor to be “credible and substantiated.” Cardinal McCarrick is one of the most prominent Catholic leaders to ever face such accusations. He is the former Archbishop of Washington, but the abuse in question occurred during his time as a priest in New York 47 years ago.

Subscribe