Juliet Vedral

Juliet Vedral

Juliet is a DC-based writer and self-described "professional church lady." She is a third-generation New Yorker, but has fallen in love with Washington, DC—despite the lack of a really good bagel and schmear.

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 before taking a job with a local church in Columbia Heights. She is the editor of a literary blog called The Wheelhouse Review and a devotional blog called Perissos. In addition to writing for Sojourners, she contributes to The Body Politic and the Shalem Institute's Living Contemplatively blog. You can sometimes find her on Twitter. 

Posts By This Author

This Ancient Wisdom Will Give You a Perfect Body

by Juliet Vedral 05-17-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

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

by Juliet Vedral 05-09-2016

Image via Last Days in the Desert on Facebook

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

by Juliet Vedral 03-04-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

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'

by Juliet Vedral 02-29-2016
An Interview with N.T. Wright

Image via /Shutterstock.com

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

by Juliet Vedral 02-18-2016

RISEN, Sony Pictures

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

by Juliet Vedral 02-09-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

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

by Juliet Vedral 02-01-2016
The Leftovers, created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta. HBO.

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?

by Juliet Vedral 01-13-2016
The View from Ellis Island

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

by Juliet Vedral 12-15-2015

Image via /Shutterstock.com

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?

by Juliet Vedral 12-04-2015

Image via /Shutterstock.com

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.

 

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