Online Editorial Assistant

Joshua enjoys a good story. From the Inklings, to the Beat Poets, to This American Life, the power of narrative connects humanity. Like a good story, Joshua’s years of adventure, struggle, reflection, and questioning have led him to Sojourners. After spending four years at Greenville College (greater St. Louis area) studying English and religion, and serving as Editor-in-Chief of his college newspaper, he comes to DC seeking to be read anew into God’s story of love, justice, and redemption for the entire created order. He is excited to participate in communal life and work towards goals that are continually broadening and making a profound impact on individuals and the larger society. 

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The Faith of Four U.S. Women Olympians

by Joshua Witchger 07-26-2012

The 2012 Olympic games are approaching quickly. This Friday, more than 10,000 athletes will gather in London to celebrate athleticism and competition in 26 sports. While the hype of an event like this may drive athletes to revel in the spotlight, others find it’s the best avenue for an intimate connection with God.

At this year’s games, the United States boasts a plethora of athletes, but alongside incredible athleticism, some are gaining attention for their personal faith.

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 25, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-25-2012

Watch the 30-minute documentary Baseball in the Time of Cholera --- NASA's vegan food plans for 2030 mission --- edible cookie cup for coffee --- which Bryan Cranston character said it? --- new form of social media art. See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 24, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-24-2012

Bruce Springsteen surprises memorial concertgoers in Oslo with a performance of "We Shall Overcome" --- Banksy's controversial Olympic art raises questions in London --- Lord Voldemort's Super PAC --- Ben Gibbard sings ode to ex-Mariners right fielder, Ichrio --- Saturday Night Live plans presidential election specials. See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...

ONE and Funny or Die Team to Fight AIDS

by Joshua Witchger 07-24-2012

The ONE campaign’s mission to fight AIDS has grown wildly since its inception in 2004, and recently, the organization began a new initiative striving to "begin the end of AIDS" by 2015. It’s within our reach, they say, if only we would lend a hand.

In their latest promotional message, they enlist help from the folks at Funny or Die, along with bigger names like Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, and Tracy Morgan. In a video that seems like a sketch straight out of the "internet absurdity" vault, the celebrities take turns musing on the innovations that might be possible in a future age, the year 2015. After dreaming of hybrid animals roaming the planet, cars that fit into your back pocket, they close by mentioning that in the not-so-distant future, AIDS can be on its way to nonexistence, if only people would wake up.

See the video at ONE (but be forewarned, it includes some slightly unseemly language).
And CLICK HERE for more details on ONE's 2015 campagin.

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 20, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-20-2012

What's in the water? A crocodile or a log? — Dancey tune to begin the weekend, from Hot Chip — the art of local coffee — children judge books by their covers — and women are dropping "the F bomb," and hint, it's not what you think. See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 19, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-19-2012

Five guys + one piano --- photo project helping battered women --- The Mirror, a short film on aging --- wine glasses with pitch indicators --- comedians read starting line up at Chicago Cubs game --- cats and Star Wars. See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...

Links of Awesomeness: July 18, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-18-2012

Carpenter Nick Offerman takes another break from his workshop to read tweets from young celebrities --- Pete Seeger stops by WNYC to talk about his new book --- Fictitious Dishes photo gallery features meals from novels -- documentary on bird watching in Central Park. See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...

Mandela: An Audio History

by Joshua Witchger 07-18-2012

In Mandela: An Audio History, the voices of activists, artists, and ordinary citizens unite to tell the powerful narrative of overcoming apartheid through strength and solidarity in South Africa. In this five-part audio documentary, hosted by Desmond Tutu, the weaving of personal interviews, newsreels, and found sounds from Mandela and those around him (both for and against) are highlighted to showcase the watershed story of a 50-year struggle.


Take a listen to Part One: 1944 –1960

President of Women Religious Responds to Vatican on Fresh Air

by Joshua Witchger 07-17-2012

Last month, Sister Pat Farrell, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, traveled to the Vatican to discuss the not-so-favorable assessment of her group.

If you’ll remember, the verdict was that the LCWR – which represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the U.S. – undermines Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality and birth control, while promoting “radical feminist themes.”

Today on WHYY’s Fresh Air, Sister Farrell talks with Terry Gross about how to deal with conflict. She tells Gross that as the sisters prepare for the national assembly in August, they are busy dialoging and gathering perspectives, hoping to “somehow, in a spirited, nonviolent strategizing, look for maybe a third way that refuses to define the mandate and the issues in such black and white terms.”

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 17, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-17-2012

Sax Grams, adventures of a traveling saxophone player --- indie drummer releases solo music --- Detorit native golfs across his city --- wine cork portraits --- Tom Waits narrates life of artist John Baldessari. See these and more on thday's Links of Awesomeness...

QUIRK: PhD Comics Explains "The God Particle"

by Joshua Witchger 07-17-2012

If you’re like me you probably haven’t been following the latest scientific discussions about Higgs Boson (a.k.a. “the God particle"). But today I came across a 7-minute video in which Daniel Whiteson, a physicist at the prestigious European research organization CERN, walks through what the particle means, what it is, how it can be found (if it can be found at all).

But the best part about the whole discussion is that it is animated! The folks at PhD comics “a grad student comic strip,” break down the entire talk with clever visuals and an engaging presentation style.

Let the Good Vibes Roll: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

by Joshua Witchger 07-17-2012
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Image via the band's website.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Image via the band's website,

This summer I’ve been a little lax on monitoriing my musical radar as closely as I usually do, but one album that’s been in constant rotation around my turntable is Here, the first of two albums that Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros –  a 10+ member collective from Los Angeles – plans to release this year.

As I listen to Here,  flowery vibes flood my mind with peace and goodwill. It's the psychedelic dream of a bygone era I never knew. But as a Millennial pursuer of peace, justice, and equality, these tunes perfectly fuel my endeavors and also, I believe, the larger work we do at Sojourners. And they’re pretty damn catchy, too.

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 16, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-16-2012

Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and others protest fracking in new song --- kites identify pollutants in Chinese sky --- artists gather in radio studio to play and honor Woody Guthrie on his 100th birthday --- animals with misleading names --- indie star creates African mixtape. See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 13, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-13-2012

How to prepare for an outdoor movie – famous people caught wearing Bill Cosby sweaters – Abraham Lincoln band aides – famous art recreated from torn magazines –how to impersonate Barack Obama. See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 12, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-12-2012

95 seconds of 90s television nostalgia – Mike Birbiglia and Ira Glass prepare for the release of their first feature film Sleepwalk With Me – Arrested Development set to film in one month – Earnest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms releases with 47 alternate endings. See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 11, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-11-2012

John Hodgman reads a story of aliens buying the rights to all of humanity's music – Face Math – The United Shapes of America – rising R&B star Frank Ocean – 1,000 parachuting teddy bears for free speech – super heroes spoof the Golden Girls – and Cookie Monster parodies the hit of the summer "Call Me Maybe." See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...

Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: July 2, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-02-2012

"Sun Boxes" a solar powered outdoor art installation of music – life size Hot Wheels track earns World Record –belt buckle flask –summery fruit sculptures –man plays typewriter in symphony –realistic names for common snack foods – and eleven months of hard work finally pays off in this stunning video of a used engine rebuilt. See today's Links of Awesomeness for all the details...

QUIRK: Ten of the Most Bizarre Laws Effective July 1, 2012

by Joshua Witchger 07-02-2012
Look out. There's a new sheriff in town. Image via Katrina Brown / Shutterstock

Look out. There's a new sheriff in town. Image via Katrina Brown / Shutterstock

We’ve reached the halfway point of the year, which means states across the nation are adopting a variety of new laws at state and local levels. While most of the new provisions and amendments were about taxes, health, education, bullying, sexual harassment, etc., a few may cause you to raise an eyebrow. Here for your amusement, we present ten of the quirkiest new laws that we’ve stumbled upon…


An Indie Call to Worship

by Joshua Witchger 07-01-2012
Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices, by The Welcome Wagon

IN THE 17TH century, Thomas Brooks published the devotional Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, which he hoped would serve as a “salve for sores” and a “remedy against malady,” to provide those who face hardship with nourishment, support, and cheer to continue God’s work in themselves and the world.

It’s no coincidence that The Welcome Wagon borrows Brooks’ title for its second LP. In unsettling economic and political climates, the married gospel-folk duo of Vito and Monique Aiuto write songs that offer a balm of spiritual medicine to heal their congregation and wider audience.

Before the Aiutos gained a musical presence, Vito worked at a Presbyterian church in Manhattan and was a minister to students at New York University. Six years ago he helped found Resurrection Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Brooklyn, where he and Monique continue to serve a young, diverse congregation.

In their ministry at Resurrection, they released their first album in 2008 (Welcome to The Welcome Wagon); close friend and indie music icon Sufjan Stevens helped record and produce it. The album was met with high acclaim and sounded like a natural extension of Stevens’ own catalogue. With a popular musical ally and an overtly spiritual foundation, The Welcome Wagon yielded an unlikely coupling: the hip and the religious.

In a New York Times article titled “A Congregation in Skinny Jeans,” Vito confronts this, saying that while he may fit the “cool” bill, it’s an unhelpful way to describe a church community. Despite his tweed jacket and gentleman’s cap, he’d prefer to be known for his personhood and for speaking honestly.

Beer & Hymns: Imagining Christianity

Wild Goosers worship in the "Beer & Hymns" tent Saturday. Photo by Cathleen Falsani/Sojourners.

As we attended workshops and concerts, met new people, and tried to make sense of the larger impact this gathering might have beyond us, we kept coming back to that statement we heard early on about Walter Wink. What is Christian imagination? How do we imagine Christianity? Whatever it means, imagining Christianity is exactly what happened at Wild Goose.

Here's an example: Throughout the weekend, Fullsteam, a craft brewery in nearby Durham owned by an alumnus of Wheaton College (yes, that Wheaton) sold selling beer to quench the thirst of Goosers during late night sessions and performances (a la Homebrewed Christianity, etc.). And on Saturday afternoon — call it an early evening happy hour — a group of rag-tag musicians, armed with a few folk instruments, a trumpet and percussion, led a jolly crowd of more than 100 in Sunday School choruses and old-timey spirituals. They called it, “Beer and Hymns."

There, caught up in a holy wind of hops and hope, we reimagined what church might be during an ad hoc version of “He’s got the Whole World in His Hands.” We the motley worshippers alternated “He’s got the whole world” with “She’s got the whole world,” proudly singing at the top of our lungs, “She’s got the liberals and conservatives / the gays and straights / and a big ole mug of beer/ in her hands.”