Juliet is a freelance writer and consultant and full-time mom. A transplant from New York City, she has lived in DC for over seven years, but still walks too fast and wears too much black.
Juliet holds a BA in media studies from Queens College (CUNY) and an MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. She held jobs at the New York Times Syndicate, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, and Sojourners and the ONE Campaign before joining The Clapham Group as an affiliate and going out on her own as a freelancer. You can sometimes find her on Twitter or speed-walking with her son through Navy Yard and Capitol Hill.
Posts By This Author
God With Us, From This Day Forward
No longer will I be the single woman in my 30s, always a bridesmaid but never a bride. It doesn’t mean that I will not struggle to trust God with my life. But it will be a reminder to me — and to all our witnesses — that God does answer prayer, and all the suffering and sorrow that came before can been remade into something more glorious than it was before.
Love Is Ruining My Life
When we talk about the Advent season, we use the language of longing. But rarely do we speak about the chaos and glorious disruption that follows when this holy Love arrives.
3 Things I Learned About White Supremacy From Watching 'The Birth of a Nation'
James Baldwin, the American author wrote about this white inertia:
“Northerners proffer their indignation about the South as a kind of badge, as proof of good intentions; never suspecting that they thus increase, in the heart of the Negro they are speaking to, a kind of helpless pain and rage -- and pity. Negroes know how little most white people are prepared to implement their words with deeds, how little, when the chips are down, they are prepared to risk. And this long history of moral evasion has had an unhealthy effect on the total life of the country, and has eroded whatever respect Negroes may once have felt for white people.” (The Price of the Ticket, p. 266)
I came away from the film asking the question: Knowing that I have white privilege, what am I willing to risk to further the cause of racial justice?
The 15-Year-Old Wounds Our Hearts Remember
Of course, those places were disappearing even when I lived there — that’s part of the charm of New York City, things come and go. In the city that’s very name has been changed to stay current, old things are constantly made new.
But it never became less jarring to note the Twin Towers’ absence on the horizon.
Weekly Wrap 8.12.16: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week
Editor's Note: This week's Wrap was guest curated by Sojourners contributor Juliet Vedral. Read along for her top stories and notes from the week!
There are 21.3 million refugees, half of whom are children. The crises that typically create refugees last about 26 years and nearly 34,000 people are forced to flee their homes because of conflict each day. In this piece, musician David Crowder explains why providing education for these kids is a moral imperative.
If you're going to read one of the many articles about evangelicals supporting Donald Trump's candidacy for the presidency, this might be the most important.
Brexit: Who's in Control?
Right now the world is in turmoil. People are frustrated with the status quo, fearful for their lives and for the future. God is in control, but our neighbors need our compassion and comfort too. How do followers of Christ live as faithful witnesses to God’s sovereignty in uncertain times, while also being empathetic and compassionate neighbors?
This Ancient Wisdom Will Give You a Perfect Body
So as I sit here and eat my low-calorie string cheese, I feel compelled to stop and contemplate for a moment what it means for me to bear God’s image.
'Last Days in the Desert' Explores the Riddle of Jesus' Humanity
One of my favorite moments in Rodrigo Garcia’s Last Days in the Desert occurs early on in the film. A tired, hungry Jesus (played by Ewan McGregor), nearing the end of his 40-day fast in the wilderness finds himself caught in a windstorm. A leaf keeps blowing playfully, catching him in his hair. In this most human and relatable moments, Jesus becomes annoyed and screams at God.
I’ve definitely been there.
Last Days in the Desert, which opens this Friday, imagines what some of that fast would have been like and explores the riddle of Jesus’ humanity and sonship.
All the Christian Single Ladies
I am a Christian woman in my mid-30s, and I am single. And though I enjoy a life that I would consider abundant — full of friends and family, great professional opportunities, a decent level of financial freedom, and above all else, an extremely deep spiritual relationship with the Creator of the Universe — I recognize that to many younger women, I’m a cautionary tale. Because I am single.
'All Human Governments Are Intended by God to Do Justice and Mercy'
God will himself one day hold all humans, and all human governments, to account, but the church has the responsibility in the present to speak words of truth and judgment in advance of that final holding-to-account. This is where John 16 comes in — the Spirit will hold the world accountable on the issues of sin, righteousness, and judgment. And the way the Spirit will do that is through God’s people following the example of Jesus in John 18 and 19, and speaking the truth to power.
'RISEN' Offers Audience a 'Glimpse of Jesus:' Q&A with Film's Lead Joseph Fiennes
I think the component of introducing a non-believer takes [away] the curse of trying to get it right for everybody, because he’s a non-believer. So let’s see how this works out. But we’re not portraying Christ head-on. We’re coming at them at such an angle that it’s easier to absorb and not be either threatened or challenged or for a lot of people that might not be what it is in Scripture, or their portrayal or their image of Christ or that moment it might not be what the filmmakers have done. … It’s a gentle way in, because you could find him an awful, destructive, murderous Roman soldier. You don’t have to like him; he’s not set up to be liked. … I just think that angle stops it being too head-on for people and then it grows out of that. Just getting a glimpse of Jesus makes us want to get there again and see it again. It’s kind of like in our lives … it’s kind of like faith is strong one day and it’s weak the next.
'RISEN' Interrogates Disciples' Hope, and Ours
Seeing Bartholomew and Mary’s trust in the risen Christ made me want to raise my hands and trust him with all of my hopes. If Christ could master death, what limits could there be to what he could do with them?
Seeing the gracious way in which Jesus shows Thomas his wounds, provides fish for his followers, and restores Peter made me remember all the ways he’s lovingly cared for me. He’s not just a vague myth or a good idea — he’s alive.
All That Remains
I FIRST BEGAN watching The Leftovers, HBO’s drama based on a novel of the same name by Tom Perotta, when it debuted in the summer of 2014. Like many viewers, I was fascinated by the premise: On Oct. 14, 2011, 2 percent of the population suddenly disappears in a rapture-like event. The show begins three years after what is called the “Sudden Departure,” and rather than explaining the metaphysical meaning of this mysterious event, it focuses on how the members of one family process their grief.
Throughout the show’s first season, we’re introduced to an array of characters who deal with the Sudden Departure in different ways. Some want to continue with life as it was on Oct. 13, 2011, before the world changed. Some are tortured by the mystery of the Departure and why they weren’t “taken.” Some seemingly well-adjusted people join the cults that have sprung up since the event. One group in particular has gained the most traction, the Guilty Remnant. The group exists to be “living reminders” of God’s judgment; they make it their mission to make people remember, but offer no comfort. Another cult features a messianic leader who promises to absorb the pain of anyone who hugs him, but offers no spiritual or intellectual balm for the hurt and confusion post-Departure.
The novel on which the show is based was written as a response to the way the world changed after Sept. 11, so it was particularly poignant that the attacks in Paris occurred as I watched the second season of The Leftovers. Certainly it’s grievous to see violence occur anywhere, but as with Sept. 11, the attack on Paris brought with it a shocking cognitive dissonance: That kind of thing doesn’t happen in places like this—Western, cosmopolitan, relatively safe. Before the attack in Paris, before the Twin Towers fell, there was always the possibility that something tragic could occur on a random Friday night or Tuesday morning. But perhaps to many of us who live in relative comfort and ease, violence and tragedy are what happens to other people, in other places. It is this cognitive dissonance and the subsequent question of how to live in uncertain times that the second season of The Leftovers explores. It is also what makes it worth watching.
What Is an American?
January 1 marked the 124th anniversary of the opening of Ellis Island. Years later, in 1916, the immigrant inspection station was opened. Over the course of 60 years, more than 12 million immigrants came through the island.
Almost all of my great-grandparents were among that number, although, according to a sister who has been researching our history on ancestry.com, we can’t find any records. A fire destroyed the original station in 1897. It’s likely that our family’s records went up in flames with so many others’. Although — like many New Yorkers — I’ve never been there (who really has the time to schlep over there except tourists or class trips?), the island looms large in our collective self-understanding. Yes, we are Americans, but for us “American” meant “immigrant.”
Harry Potter and the Advent Devotional
But perhaps the reason why the darkness cannot understand or overcome the Light is because it will not and cannot imagine reducing itself or condescend to be like its enemy in order to overcome it. Scripture describes an adversary who wanted to be like God, but doesn’t seem to understand that God’s very nature is “gentle and humble and heart.” The nature of darkness is not a generous one. It doesn’t offer light or heat or allow other things to grow. It isolates.
What Are We Waiting For?
I wonder if God calls us to celebrate waiting because the lie we’re all most susceptible to is that if we just get what we want, we’ll be ok. When this is our mentality, we actually forget to live. We become so future-oriented that we can ignore the presence of God in our midst and the signs of the Divine work in this world. We can miss out on the good things he provides daily, hourly.
To Whom Does God Offer Refuge?
I’ve thought about this obedience to vulnerability in light of the current conversation our nation has been having about the refugee crisis, in particular since the attacks in Paris this weekend. The fearful calls to close our border have been disheartening, especially as we begin to enter the season of Advent. Jesus, as God incarnate, saw our sin and flaws and darkness — our hostility even — to the Light and still made himself vulnerable to live among us and die at our hand. Through the cross he offered a generous hospitality to us while we were still enemies of God — a feast of himself, for us to taste and see that God is good.
It should not be any different for us as followers of Christ. As any Christian knows, being part of the Body of Christ is often a dangerous proposition. We are in danger of getting hurt any time we come into contact with another person. We will sin against each other, we will experience conflict, and if we’re doing it right, we’ll bear each other’s suffering. We are knit together with people we may not typically associate, people who view the world in ways we may find misguided at best and dangerous at worst. It doesn’t matter — we’re still invited to the same feast and we’re still joined together in the same family, drinking out of the same cup the way family members and close friends do.
'Room' Shows Us Our Own Stories
There’s a beautiful moment in Lenny Abrahamson’s Room (now in limited release) in which the character Ma explains the reality of their situation to her bewildered son. Contrary to what she had taught up until that point — that they were the only people in the entire realm of existence, which was limited to the room in question — she explains that they are actually held hostage in a small garden shed in their captor’s backyard. Sensing that Old Nick, her kidnapper and Jack’s father, might kill them because he will lose his house, Ma enlists her son’s help in an escape plan.
In shock and denial he says, “I want another story.”
Ma replies, “This is the story you’ve got.”
When God Is Like an Italian Grandmother
I still recall that moment when I first heard the words of the liturgy:
“The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.”
I had never considered the Lord’s Supper as feeding on Christ. Growing up in a charismatic, non-denominational church and then embracing my faith as an adult at a Presbyterian church, I found this to be a foreign (and admittedly strange) concept that didn’t fully take root in me until after I began attending an Anglican church on Capitol Hill.
As I grappled with unemployment those first months in D.C., feeding on Christ in my heart by faith became more real to me: I didn’t have a seat at the proverbial table, but here was a table prepared for me, full of all the goodness and joy and love and peace and grace I could imagine, because it was Christ who was on offer.
Celebrating the Vote
I've done it in booths at a New York City public school, and the 92nd Street Y. I've done it on a small, enclosed counter in DC. But you never forget the first time you voted.
My first time at the polls was not particularly spectacular — it was an off-year for elections, so I voted on a referendum. Since then I have voted every year except twice. Once was on another off-year — I was in grad school for public administration and had to finish a statistics assignment. And for the other, I’d just become a DC resident, too late to vote in the special election that year.
In case it’s not obvious, voting is important to me, and I’m kind of a dork about it. And when I consider the hard fight for women’s suffrage, I feel that the best way to honor the women who fought hard for that right is to responsibly exercise it.
So it’s disheartening to hear women say that they don’t really pay attention to politics or take the time to vote. And as a DC resident whose interests are determined by the legislators of other states, it’s hard to watch anyone take for granted their right to vote.