Joyce Hollyday is a co-founder and co-pastor of Circle of Mercy, an ecumenical congregation in Asheville, North Carolina. Her most recent book, Pillar of Fire, is a historical novel that celebrates the extraordinary witness of the medieval mystics known as Beguines. She is the author of other several books, including Clothed with the Sun: Biblical Women, Social Justice, and Us and Then Shall Your Light Rise: Spiritual Formation and Social Witness. She was a founding member of Witness for Peace, a grassroots organization committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience. She was formerly the Associate Editor for Sojourners.
Posts By This Author
A Target of Chemical Warfare
Evidence of Sophisticated Violence
Dawn is still an hour away.
Missing the Mark in the 'Drug War'
Recently the rest of the world discovered what those of us who live in the middle of it have known for years
Close to Home
It had been a particularly hectic day at the Sojourners office, and that evening my husband, Jim, and I were enjoying the simple comfort of our apartment and some conversation
TMI: The Fallout Continues
On Friday, February 3, Frances Skolnick received a phone call from a reporter
It requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get to this isolated and beautiful corner of the earth.
In the Valley of the Shadow
Ten Years After the Accident at Three Mile Island, Controversy Rages
The State of the Union: Perspectives on the Post-Election Political Terrain
Waiting for a Day in the Sun
In a Jam
When my niece Anika turned 2 last August, I gave her a picture book about the circus.
With Courage and Determination
Jesus was too young to understand the excitement that attended his birth.
Fast-food Frankness, Blest Be the Tie That Blinds, and Holy Mackerel!
Symphony of the Sea
If we destroy our air, or our water, or the whales, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
The Church Confronts Apartheid
South Africa. Just to say the name conjures up vivid images and strong feelings. It is a land of such pain and promise. And yet one has to wonder if South Africa is really so unique. Or is this tortured country a stark and illuminating parable of the rest of the world—a place where the issues, divisions, and critical choices facing us all are displayed in sharp relief?
For years we had hoped and prayed to go to South Africa, but we couldn't find a way. Then last spring, unexpectedly, a way opened up for us.
We went to South Africa at the long-standing invitation of Allan Boesak. We were hosted throughout the country principally by the country's black church leadership. That perspective is therefore strongly reflected in these pages.
The issues at stake in South Africa are quite simple and at the same time very complicated. We recognize that to write about them is a risky thing. Our 40-day sojourn had both the personally transforming power of an in-depth experience and all the limitations of a brief stay. While we were treated as friends, we remain outsiders like anyone who does not walk in the shoes of those who must carry on the struggle every day.
Our days were full, intense, and rich in both the breadth and depth of contact with people and events—a rare opportunity. Yet the report we offer is just that—a report on what we saw, heard, did, and felt-and cannot pretend to be a comprehensive analysis. The church leaders themselves, interviewed in depth on these pages, provide the best background, analysis, and vision for the future.
A Portrait of Anguish and Hope
"THE LORD ANSWER YOU in the day of trouble! The name of God protect you!...Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the Lord our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright."
Allan Boesak Jr., age 9, read slowly from Psalm 20 at the conclusion of the family dinner. The words that appeared in the lectionary reading that night were particularly poignant. Just the day before, Allan's father had publicly announced to a packed cathedral that the Botha regime had signed its own death warrant.
Three nights before that, a large brick came flying through the Boesaks' living room window, sending shattered glass in all directions; a death threat over the phone followed. Allan Jr. and his 12-year-old sister, Pulane, had decided to sleep on the floor of the large walk-in closet in their parents' bedroom for a few nights, while a group of theology students kept watch through the night outside the house.
But conversation at the dinner table that evening was anything but somber. In spite of the threats that surrounded it, the Boesak home was full of joy and life. There was fear, to be sure, but laughter was a more frequent expression.
What I remember most about that evening, our second in South Africa, was not the spicy curry or the swelling background music of "Mozart's Hornpipe Concerto," but the faces around the table—the delight on Pulane's, mirrored in her father's; the compassion in Dorothy's; and the warmth from Leineke and Belen. But especially the intent look on Allan Jr.'s face as he read from the psalm the promises of God to us all in a difficult time.
Celebrating the Winter Years
As I write this in early May, the world (at least the parts of it that are interested in such things) is celebrating the victory of the filly in the Kentucky Derby.
Sojourners staff intern Michele Deramo recently sent an origami peace crane to a prisoner in Texas with whom she corresponds.