Senior Editor, Sojourners magazine
Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Jim Rice is a senior editor of Sojourners magazine. He has also served as editor and managing editor of the magazine, director of Sojourners Outreach Ministry, and coordinator of Sojourners Peace Ministry.

Prior to joining Sojourners, Rice was an organizer for the Center for Peace Studies at Georgetown University. He was founder and co-director of Pax Christi: Washington's Peace Education Program and producer of the multimedia "Anatomy of the Nuclear Arms Race." In addition, Rice served on the founding National Committee, Executive Committee, and Direct Action Task Force of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, and he was treasurer of the Nuclear Weapons Education Fund. Before moving to D.C., Rice was the hunger action coordinator for the Oregon Center for Peace and Justice in Portland, Ore., and he spent two years as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. He has been a member of the national advisory board for Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding and a research fellow for the New Media Project at Union Theological Seminary and Christian Theological Seminary.

Rice, a graduate of Seattle University, is a native of Richland, Wash., the bedroom community of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Rice was a long-time member of Sojourners Community, an intentional Christian renewal community located in inner-city Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Dawn, have two children, Jessica and Adam. He is a member of Hyattsville Mennonite Church outside of Washington.

Selected Sojourners articles by Jim Rice

'Simple is the New Chic'

In John Carr's view, Pope Francis is already shaking up the Catholic Church -- and the best is yet to come.

The Party of No Compromise

GOP attempts to circumvent the health-care law range from the inane to downright bullying.

Our Dolls, Our Selves

Even at their best, toys like the American Girls Dolls send a mix message.

Future's So Bright.

"Given the option of paying more for dirty power or paying less for clean power, what would you take?" May 2013

'A World Without Nuclear Weapons'

The way to stop is to stop. March 2013

Who Speaks for Catholics?

Before the election, several bishops went so far as to threaten their parishioners with eternal damnation if they voted for Obama. January 2013

Our Endorsement for President

The constraints on political engagement by nonprofits can be frustrating for those committed to social change. November 2012

'A Clash of Fanaticisms'

We'll never reach reconciliation between Christians and Muslims until we address root causes—and take on the haters. November 2012

Drones: War Crimes and Misdemeanors

Hey Pres. Obama: The Nobel Peace Prize committee is calling. They want their medal back. August 2012

Fairness for Whom?

Fairness matters, especially for people on society’s margins—and that conviction goes far beyond tax equity to every aspect of public policy. For people of the Book, it’s much more important than politics; it’s a matter of faith. June 2012

Obesity in a World of Hunger

A new definition of malnutrition is emerging, as formerly developing countries are globalized into “fast-food nation” lifestyles. May 2012

Are Voter-ID Laws Racist?

More than 5 million voters could be affected by new Voter-ID laws and (coincidentally?) a disproportionate number of them are people of color. April 2012

Occupy the Future

The Occupy movement has already established its legacy -- by changing the nation's conversation about wealth inequality.March 2012

'Power to the People'

Renewable energy sources aren't just safer than nuclear power -- they're also cheaper. June 2011

'Tear Down This Wall'

An interview with Palestinian Christian activist Sami Awad on why nonviolence is key to Middle East justice. May 2010

Composting with Worms (a “how-to” video)

Sojourners editor Jim Rice and his family have been composting with worms for more than a decade. In this video how-to, he shares 7 steps to composting with worms. December 2009

The Path to Peace in the Middle East

Lessons from Gaza. March 2009

The Meaning of 'Life'

Once thought to be in the pocket of the Religious Right, many American evangelicals today are discovering a deeper understanding of what it means to be pro-life. With Jeannie Choi. November 2008

The Roots of Justice Revival

During the Second Great Awakening, the fruits of conversion included social reform. April 2008

Loving our Neighbors

Christian-Muslim dialogue raises hope - and suspicion. April 2008

Being There

"God's Smuggler" Brother Andrew has an odd way of breaking down barriers between Christians and Muslims. But somehow it works. March 2008

Is Nuclear Power the Answer?

Proponents claim that nuclear energy is the power source of the future - clean, green, and safe. Are they right? Cover feature. August 2007

A Rubicon Crossed

The church consensus is solidifying on the need to save the planet. April 2007

Gandhi For Today

How would Mahatma Gandhi confront terrorism today? And what action would the apostle of nonviolence take in response to the wars waged in the name of anti-terrorism? A review of David Cortright’s “Gandhi and Beyond: Nonviolence for an Age of Terrorism.” December 2006

Hope Amid the Ruins

Out of the carnage of Middle East war, can real peace ever be achieved? September/October 2006

Nonviolence is Our Only Hope

In the Middle East, only justice for all is justice at all. August 2005

Reagan's Legacy

On mourning in America. August 2004

The Burden of Truth. An interview with two former CIA analysts on the lies behind the Iraq war and the heavy weight of conscience. November-December 2003

"School Choice" Passes a Test. A victory for vouchers -- but who wins? September-October 2002

Sins of the Fathers. The deepest guilt is the church's. May-June 2002

Unfoolish Consistency. Moral principles, not politics, guide the bishops. January-February 2001

Core Values. The Broetjes, owners of the largest apple orchard in Washington state, had a crazy idea -- to treat their workers like people. November-December 2000

A Blank Check for China? China is the current battleground -- as Seattle was last fall -- over the rules of global trade. May-June 2000

Sandino Lives! Actually, even in Nicaragua, revolutionary fervor isn't what it used to be. March-April 2000

Rome Not Quite Ready for Women Priests. November-December 1998

Whatever Happened to Lt. Calley? November-December 1998

A Squandered Opportunity. The biggest obstacle to Palestinian Democracy may well be the emerging state's founding father, Yasir Arafat. July-August 1997

Why Play? Contemplation, freedom, and the spirit of leisure. January-February 1997

Bernardin's Most Important Year. November-December 1996

Beyond the Nuclear Test Ban. November-December 1996

Crack, Contras, and the CIA. November-December 1996

With "Friends" Like These. What to do about sleazy TV? May-June 1996

Justifying the Next War. The real-world effects of the just war theory. March-April 1996

Into Bosnia. Mixed motives and good fruit. January-February 1996

Getting Beyond Labels. Serpents, doves, and the Religious Right. March-April 1995

"Cautious Optimism" on Haiti. Reconciliation in Haiti must be preceded by repentance and rooted in truth. November 1994

The Armor of Righteousness. The Christian Right makes its bid for the political mainstream. November 1994

Where Angels Fear to Tread. November 1994

Shifting Terrain in Korea. Without Jimmy Carter's risky pilgrimage, the world would be a more dangerous place. September-October 1994

Too Many People? The unavoidable reality is that where there is severe poverty, adding more people makes the suffering worse. August 1994

Seeking Common Ground on Abortion. July 1994

The Last Comeback of Richard Nixon. July 1994

World Bank/IMF: 50 Years Is Enough. The Bank will not change its economic model without outside pressure. July 1994

When Dignity Is Assaulted. Biblically based Christians must forcefully oppose this deceptive, homophobic campaign of the Far Right. February-March 1994

NAFTA's Fatal Flaws. December 1993

Be Like Mike? Michael Jordan or Madonna may be worth talking about, but they arguably serve no principle beyond themselves. September-October 1993

Saying No to Bigotry. Why the church must stand up for gay rights. February-March 1993

Cultures in Conflict. Inner-city tensions explode on the streets of Washington, D.C. . July 1991

SDI-Lite: Old Wine in New Skins. May 1991

On The Front Lines Of Resistance. Conscientious objectors struggle for recognition. April 1991

Mistakes Were Made…. Will the Nuclear Industry's Post-Cold War PR Campaign Work? January 1991

Posts By This Author

Unions Need Real Church Support, Not 'Rent-a-Collar' Activism

by Jim Rice 09-01-2022

An Amazon Labour Union organizer greets workers outside Amazon’s LDJ5 sortation center, as employees begin voting to unionize a second warehouse in the Staten Island borough of New York City on April 25, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Why the recent surge in union activity? The nationwide shortage of workers is one factor, to be sure, as is the COVID pandemic. But another contagion might be even more important: Hope. “You see it most clearly with the Starbucks campaign where they won those initial two victories, and it was like a switch going off for people: ‘We can do this!’” labor attorney Alex van Schaick told Sojourners. “There was a contagion effect, in a positive sense. Hope is contagious — I think that’s really true.”

Taking a Stand on Behalf of Peace

by Jim Rice 08-02-2022
Former heavyweight boxers, the Klitschko brothers now face the fight of their lives.
An illustration of Ukrainian climate activist Ilyses El Kortbi holding a sign painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag that reads, "We see Ukraine as one of the first climate wars."

Ukrainian climate activist Ilyses El Kortbi / Illustration by Maya Nguyen

DURING THE “KLITSCHKO ERA,” the first decade and a half of this century, Vitali Klitschko and his brother, Wladimir, reigned over the world of heavyweight boxing—The Ring magazine listed both of them on its list of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Today, the brothers are engaged in a battle with much higher stakes than anything they faced in the ring. Vitali is now mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine. Soon after Vladimir Putin’s forces stormed into Ukraine, the brothers issued a call on social media for religious leaders and others to visit their embattled country as a sign of solidarity and support.

Are Military Chaplains Serving Two Masters?

by Jim Rice 06-29-2022
Chaplains aren’t free to oppose military doctrines or actions, even if they contradict the teachings of the church.
Illustration of a golden American eagle standing above a broken shepherd's crook

Illustration by Matt Chase

PUTIN'S CARNAGE IN Ukraine has given us a horrendous window into the immorality of modern warfare. We may feel one side is an innocent victim and the other an egregious aggressor, but the images from bombed-out civilian sites give us daily, gruesome reminders that the waging of war today is anything but “just,” typified by indiscriminate killing, high civilian casualties, and military actions that are in no way last resorts—and behind all this brutality, the very real threat from even-more-devastating nuclear “weapons of mass destruction.” War is hell, and it always has been, but modern weaponry, tactics, and attitudes make it perhaps more hellacious than ever, especially for civilians.

In this context, who can serve as the outside moral voice, raising questions around the ethics of modern warfare? Who can bring to bear the church’s teaching on war and hold the warriors, particularly those who profess faith, to account? Who can challenge the moral framework of a war and how it is waged? The answer to those questions is probably not “military chaplains.” Tom Witt, a longtime activist and former head of the Lutheran Peace Fellowship, is concerned about the fact that military chaplains are in the military chain of command. “When chaplains are hired by, under the command of, and getting paid by the military,” Witt told Sojourners, “there’s not much chance they can be anything other than cheerleaders, or people who affirm whatever kind of war that we’re in, even if it’s not a so-called ‘just war.’” What we have, Witt said, “is a military chaplaincy rather than a chaplaincy to the military”—and such “embedded” chaplains aren’t free to oppose military doctrines or actions, even if they contradict the teachings of the church.

Why Does It Matter That We Get Mary Magdalene Right?

by Jim Rice 06-29-2022
The way the church has treated her says more about the church than it does about Mary.
Illustration of Ayesha Barenblat surrounded by sewing tools and her quote "Without human rights and without gender justice, there really cannot be a sustainability movement."

Ayesha Barenblat is founder of Remake, a global advocacy organization working to create a more ethical and just clothing industry. / Illustration by Damayanti Blankestijn

THE NEW TESTAMENT stories of Mary Magdalene—and the way the church has treated her since biblical times—tell us a lot about the church today, and perhaps even more about our still-patriarchal society in general. In scripture, and in other contemporaneous documents, Mary is portrayed as one of Jesus’ closest confidants; after his resurrection, Jesus appears to her first and commissions her to tell the others (John 20). But, as Kyndall Rae Rothaus explains in this issue, the church has had a difficult time accepting the biblical portrait of Mary as one of Jesus’ closest and most faithful disciples. Instead, beginning most notably with a 6th- century papal sermon that called her a prostitute, Mary has been portrayed as a “fallen woman” in need of repentance or, sometimes, as Jesus’ lover, but not as the “apostle to the apostles” she became by merit.

The Church Is in a Process of Radical Transformation

by Jim Rice 06-06-2022
Three articles in our July issue show how God is exchanging the old wineskins for new.
An illustration of Kehinde Wiley with his quote, "Art is one of those few spaces where we can ask unresolvable questions."

Kehinde Wiley is an American portrait painter based in New York City. / Illustration by Blane Asrat

THREE ARTICLES IN this issue examine the various ways the church is in a process of radical transformation. In our cover feature, Peter Chin looks at the likely cataclysmic disruption ahead—particularly for the institutional church—as growing numbers of pastors consider leaving ministry. In our Commentary section, sociologist Michael O. Emerson draws on extensive research and concludes that many white U.S. Christians repeatedly place being white ahead of being Christian—so much that they’re practicing, in effect, a “religion of whiteness.” And Lexi McMenamin explores how some Christian colleges and universities continue to treat LGBTQ students as second-class citizens, and how alumni are stepping in to support equal rights and affirming spaces for all students.

We Need to Talk About Military Spending

by Jim Rice 05-09-2022
Moral analysis does not wait for the correct, acceptable, poll-tested moment.
Illustration of many fish swimming one way with an Ichthys or "Jesus Fish" swimming the other way

Illustration by Pete Ryan

THIS SPRING, THE Biden administration announced it was pursuing a military budget for next year that exceeds $813 billion, an increase of $31 billion over last year (which saw an increase of $32.5 billion from the year before). Among the Pentagon’s priorities, according to a Reuters report, is the expenditure of billions on new and upgraded (and nuclear-equipped) ballistic missile submarines, land-based missiles, and bombers. The Reuters reporter noted, “The budget would benefit the biggest U.S. defense contractors including Lockheed, Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N), and General Dynamics Corp.” That it will. Whether it will benefit the rest of us is another matter altogether. As President Dwight Eisenhower put it in his warning about the growing influence of what he called the “military-industrial complex,” these obscene levels of military spending are “a theft from those who hunger and are not fed.”

But ... is now the time to raise questions about military spending, in the context of Putin’s brutal adventurism in Ukraine? Shouldn’t we just hold our tongues at a time like this, even if we are deeply concerned that such spending makes the United States, and the world, less secure? Even as we see our infrastructure crumble due to an alleged lack of resources, our schools struggle to reach a minimally acceptable level of support, and so many other domestic programs and activities (the kinds of things that build real security) suffer from insufficient funding—while Lockheed/Northrop et al. are doing quite well, thank you very much? Shouldn’t we remain silent, even as we see the Pentagon billions supporting not “defense” of the people of the U.S. but rather the projection of empire around the globe?

From the Editor: June 2022

by Jim Rice 05-09-2022
The Mother Emanuel 9 were studying the parable of the sower on the night of the tragic shooting. Seven years later, we have more to learn from this passage.
Illustration of Layli Long Soldier with her quote "People are poems, in themselves."

Layli Long Soldier is a poet, writer, author of Whereas, and citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. / Illustration by Eugene Smith

ON JUNE 18, 2015, 350 leaders “committed to changing the world through faith and justice” came to Catholic University in Washington, D.C., for Sojourners’ annual gathering, The Summit. The planned sessions that day included “Criminalization of Blackness, Poverty, and Youth,” “Implicit Bias 2.0,” and “An Examination of Restorative and Transformative Justice Models.” As we gathered, we began to hear news of a horrible tragedy that had occurred the night before at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. We learned that nine church members were killed by a white supremacist during a Bible study. Our gathering became a time to hold one another in prayerful lamentation and shared grief.

From the Editor: May 2022

by Jim Rice 03-23-2022
Mutual aid helps us to live out the central commandment "Love one another as I have loved you."
Illustration of Dean Spade with quote "Elite solutions to poverty are always about managing poor people and never about redistributing wealth."

Dean Spade is a lawyer, trans activist, professor at Seattle University School of Law, and author of Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next) / Illustration by Becki Gill

IN OUR COVER article, Mennonite pastor Isaac Villegas looks at communities of people taking care of one another in examples of “mutual aid.” As Villegas explains, Anabaptists—the ethnic and spiritual forebears of several Christian denominations, including Mennonites—have a long history of such mutual care, tracing back not only to the Radical Reformation of the 16th century but to the earliest Christian communities, as portrayed in the New Testament book of Acts.

‘A Nuclear War Cannot Be Won and Must Never Be Fought’

by Jim Rice 03-01-2022
Peace activists rally in suburban Detroit, demanding that the United States sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weaspons, on Jan. 22, 2021.

Peace activists rally in suburban Detroit, demanding that the United States sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weaspons, on Jan. 22, 2021. Jim West/Alamy Live News

President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Sunday that he had ordered Russian nuclear forces to high alert (he called it a “special mode of combat duty”) brought to mind some of the most dangerous days of Cold War brinkmanship. For four decades, bellicose Soviet and American rhetoric and actions — from the Cuban missile crisis to Reagan administration talk of a “winnable” nuclear war — kept the world at very real risk of annhilation. (The Biden administration, to its credit, responded this week to Putin’s provocations by asserting, correctly, that “A nuclear war cannot be won, and must never be fought,” as a White House offical put it to Reuters, and declined to escalate the U.S. nuclear alert status.)

What's in a Name?

by Jim Rice 02-28-2022
When the Washington Football Team announced its new name in February, some longtime activists were less than impressed.
Illustration of a burgundy and gold football helmet with a question mark on the side

Illustration by Matt Chase

WHEN THE WASHINGTON Football Team announced its new name in February, some longtime activists were less than impressed. “The way the franchise and its fans act like the past half-century never happened,” responded Amanda Blackhorse, a member of the Navajo Nation, “like we’re supposed to cheer for something that should have happened decades ago.” For Blackhorse and many others, a symbolic step like a name change—which the team’s leadership was forced to take, “kicking and screaming,” in the face of a campaign that began in the 1960s—“feels hollow” without genuine action to back it up, beginning with acknowledging the damage and making real efforts to repair the harm done to communities.

But getting rid of offensive names, while not a replacement for reparative, structural change, isn’t without significance. And it’s not only about sports franchises—many religious institutions have their own work to do, often involving legacies that go back centuries. Princeton Theological Seminary confronted just such a case earlier this year concerning its chapel named in honor of Samuel Miller, the seminary’s second professor.

From the Editor: April 2022

by Jim Rice 02-28-2022
Disability justice—like all justice work—is a gospel imperative.
Illustration of Patricia Berne with her quote, "It should be abundantly evident that we are beautiful and powerful."

Patricia Berne is an artist, disability rights activist, and co-founder of the disability justice-based performance project Sins Invalid. / Illustration by Jonathan Soren Davidson

OVER THE PAST four or five decades, many Christians have provided leadership and active support for movements to end U.S. wars in Vietnam and Central America, to oppose the nuclear arms race and apartheid in South Africa, and to fight for the rights of racial minorities and immigrants—standing on the side of peace and human rights for a wide variety of people. But not for everybody. Aleja Hertzler-McCain explains in this issue that individual congregations have stepped up on behalf of disability rights, but the broader church has sometimes fallen short.

From the Editor: March 2022

by Jim Rice 01-28-2022
Lydia Wylie-Kellermann wrestles with one of the central dilemmas of parenting: the tension between protecting our children and empowering them for action.
Illustration of Tiara Cooper with her quote, "My goal is to set the captives free."

Activist and community organizer Tiara Cooper's faith informs her work for those impacted by mass incarceration. / Illustration by Gabi Hawkins

IN THIS MONTH'S cover feature, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann wrestles with one of the central dilemmas of parenting: the tension between protecting our children and empowering them for action. That tension is made more pointed, and the stakes elevated, by the crises we face—including, perhaps most urgently, climate change. Though I imagine that balance has been one of the more challenging aspects of raising children since the invention of parenthood.

The Truth May Set Us Free, But Not Without a Struggle

by Jim Rice 12-28-2021
Our nation's checkered racial history is reflected in our own family stories.
Illustration of Matthias Roberts with the quote "Being cut off from intimate relationship affects every other relationship in our lives."

Matthias Roberts, psychotherapist, author of Beyond Shame, and host of Queerology / Illustration by Raz Latif

THE REVISIONIST VERSIONS of Jan. 6—some would call it gaslighting—began soon after the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol a year ago. One Republican member of Congress likened it to “a normal tourist visit.” Others called the rioters “peaceful patriots,” and still others claimed that, no, they weren’t Trump supporters at all. These apologists for sedition seemed to want people to forget that, um, it’s all on video. It quickly became painfully evident that the Jan. 6 insurrection, like the big lie it was based on, was not only an attack on constitutional processes, but on truth itself.

Is ‘Social Justice' a Heresy?

by Jim Rice 12-28-2021
Attacks on activism by church hierarchs give organized religion a bad name.
Illustration of a groovy fist emerging from a megaphone to bump another fist

Illustration by Tiarra Lucas

FOR ARCHBISHOP JOSÉ Gomez of Los Angeles, social justice movements are “pseudo-religions.” In a November speech, Gomez said that “today’s critical theories” are “profoundly atheistic,” that they spring from a “Marxist cultural vision,” and that they “resemble” heresies in church history. He even blamed social justice movements for “causing new forms of social division, discrimination, intolerance, and injustice.”

Black Catholic theologians and others responded to Gomez’s remarks with a petition that read, in part, “Your speech was particularly painful and offensive to Black Catholic advocates in the United States who have organized for racial justice in the face of indifference and even hostility from many white Christians.” The National Black Sisters’ Conference pointed out that “BLM is not a pseudo-religion; nor is it a ‘dangerous substitute for true religion.’ It is a movement very much in the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.” And someone ought to introduce Archbishop Gomez to Pope Francis who, in his message for World Youth Day this fall, encouraged young people to “Arise! Uphold social justice, truth, and integrity, human rights. Protect the persecuted, the poor and the vulnerable, those who have no voice in society, immigrants.”

From the Editor: January 2022

by Jim Rice 11-17-2021
Technological advances must be coupled with a commitment to community.
An illustration of Tricia Hersey with her quote, "It's more than a nap; it's a pushback and disruption to help make people see themselves as divine human beings."

Performance artist, activist, and theologian Tricia Hersey founded The Nap Ministry in 2016. / Illustration by Hazel P Mason

“MACHINES, WHETHER MECHANICAL or digital, aren’t interested in truth, beauty, or justice. Their goal is to make the world a more efficient place for more machines.” So argues journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, paraphrasing Jacques Ellul’s seminal The Technological Society. “Their proliferation combined with our growing dependence on their services inevitably led to an erosion of human freedom and unintended consequences in every sphere of life.”

A Pledge to Resist Climate Change

by Jim Rice 10-19-2021
Christians are among those asking (if, for some, belatedly): 'What can I do?'
Illustration of a person walking on water away from an oil rig

Illustration by Pete Ryan

FOR MANY OF us, this summer felt like a cosmic wake-up call about climate change. Fire, floods, hurricanes, and other cataclysmic signs of our rapidly heating planet seemed to offer near-apocalyptic warnings that we’re approaching a make-or-break point, especially for those already vulnerable because of poverty or geographic location. We almost didn’t need the scientists—such as those who produced the dire U.N. report in August—to once again sound the alarm, as they have done so many times over the past several decades, nature already having done the job in her impossible-to-ignore fashion.

Anger seems an apt response to global warming, given that the world’s climate crisis isn’t an unavoidable act of nature; rather, it’s rooted in intentional actions by people seeking power and wealth. The main perpetrators—including ExxonMobil and its GOP enablers—knew about the causes of climate change more than four decades ago and, as Scientific American put it, “spent millions to promote misinformation” and manipulate public opinion. Some might call such duplicity “crimes against humanity” and “indictable behavior.”

From the Editor: December 2021

by Jim Rice 10-19-2021
Cole Arthur Riley's @BlackLiturgies offers ‘food for hungry souls.’
Illustration of Chanda Prescod-Weinstein and her quote, "Access to a dark night sky - to see and be inspired by the universe as it really is - should be a human right, not a luxury for the chosen few."

Theoretical physicist, feminist theorist, and author of The Disordered Cosmos Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein / Illustration by Hazel P Mason

JEANIA REE V. MOORE, a Sojourners columnist since 2019 who’s working on her doctorate at Yale, explains why she thinks Cole Arthur Riley’s @BlackLiturgies, featured in this issue, is so important, especially now: “At a time when social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic precluded most forms of Christian liturgy and threatened to make permanent the temporary church closures,” Moore writes, “Riley traversed the digital divide and rerouted traditional channels for spiritual expression.”

From the Editor: November 2021

by Jim Rice 09-21-2021
The first issue of what became Sojourners magazine addressed topics that are still very relevant. 
An illustration of Megan Rohrer with her quote "I wanted to find a way to translate God's unbreakable love to people"

Megan Rohrer, bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is the first openly transgender bishop in a mainline U.S. Christian denomination. / Illustration by Abby Giuseppe

THE FIRST ISSUE of what became Sojourners magazine, published 50 years ago this fall, addressed topics that are still very relevant in 2021. Volume 1, No. 1 brought a vibrant faith in Christ to a range of issues, from a theological reflection on Black Power (“Black Power functions as an ideological base of spiritual awareness for those Blacks who realize the spiritual dimension of their humanity, but who cannot identify or intimately associate with what they conceive to be a white, blue-eyed Jesus”) to a biblical critique of enculturated liberalism (“The liberal believes that the tendency for progress is incorporated into the very nature of our institutions. Thus he or she is forced to believe that continual progress is being made, even while poverty, starvation, militarism, and racism are on the increase.”)

From the Editor: September/October 2021

by Jim Rice 07-19-2021
What models can help guide us as we go about the work of building something new?
Jesuit priest, peace activist, and president of the Columbian Truth Commission Francisco de Roux / Illustration by Johnalynn Holland

Jesuit priest, peace activist, and president of the Columbian Truth Commission Francisco de Roux / Illustration by Johnalynn Holland

AS WE WORKED on the three feature articles in this issue, a common theme became clear: Each of the authors, in distinctive ways and from varied points of view, was grappling with related questions: How do we take the next steps in constructing a more just church and society? What models can help guide us as we go about the work of building something new?

In an excerpt from his new book A More Perfect Union, Sojourners President Adam Russell Taylor looks to the southern African philosophy of ubuntu—interdependence—as offering wisdom that goes far beyond one-on-one relationships to a paragon for society itself. Colleen Murphy, a law professor in Illinois and an expert in issues of transitional justice, explains why making progress on racial justice requires facing the hard realities of our past. And associate editor Christina Colón talked with pastors about how their churches will be different as they enter the post-quarantine era. In their own unique ways, each author is wrestling—as all of us are called to do—with questions of what it means to put our faith into action in an uncertain world.

From the Editor: August 2021

by Jim Rice 06-22-2021
When it comes to people of faith in public service, not all religions are created equal.
An illustration of Mayra Rivera. She has dark brown hair and glasses and is smiling, with a quote that says, "The flourishing of creatures may well depend on this capacity to welcome the wonder before the weight of reality."

Mayra Rivera, Puerto Rico native and professor of religion and Latinx studies at Harvard Divinity School / Illustration by Jordan Kay

EVEN APART FROM the fabricated battles of the culture wars, seeking the proper balance between church and state in U.S. public life has always been a contentious matter. The Constitution prohibits governmental establishment of any religion and protects the free exercise of all religious belief. But, as Da’Shawn Mosley explains in this issue, when it comes to people of faith in public service, not all religions are created equal.

Since the Puritans’ “city upon a hill” and before, Christian imagery and beliefs have been cornerstones of American self-understanding, and the so-called “separation” of church and state has been arguably more honored in the breach, as evidenced by the nearly unbroken line of Christian presidents. Almost all Americans—including, it is hoped, most Christians—would strongly oppose a religious litmus test for public office. But the real challenge, as Mosley points out, seems to be whether those beliefs hold true when Muslims join citizens of other faiths and no faith in seeking the keys to the city on the hill.