Michaela Bruzzese, a Sojourners contributing writer, teaches theology at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, N.M.
Posts By This Author
From the Archives: May 2005
HOLY REST challenges our individualism: It reminds us that we need each other. The manual for discipleship, if it existed, would come with a warning: Do Not Try This Alone. Christianity is fundamentally expressed in community. Jesus formed a community of disciples, he sent the disciples forth in groups, and he promised that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). The Holy Spirit descended in community, creating church. And our continuous process of conversion is both realized and expressed in community, for, as Tony Kelly writes in The Force of the Feminine, “to be converted, turned out of oneself toward that Universal Love revealed in Christ, is to be turned toward others who, one way or another, support or occasion one’s growth in conversion.”
Beyond Teaching Tolerance
IN THE 2016 ELECTION, white Catholics and evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump and the Republican party’s “pro-life” platform. Since Trump’s election, the United States has also seen an unprecedented rise in hate speech and action, such as the Charlottesville rally, and other incidents aimed at minorities, immigrants, and Jews.
The Anti-Defamation League reports a 67 percent rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. over 2016; anti-Semitic incidents in K-12 private, public, and parochial schools have more than doubled, including harassment, vandalism, and physical assault. These trends are the very opposite of the pro-life platform white Catholics and evangelicals held as a centerpiece for their voting choices.
The challenge of how to respond to a rising tide of hate is not a new one for Christians—nor is the complicity of churches in spreading it. While individuals and a few churches confronted hate speech and actions against Jews in the years of Nazi power in Germany, most supported the state. If we hope to do better today, we must educate our students not only about the end result of complicity and silence—genocide—but also about the stages of bias and hatred that are fertile ground for brutal, systemic violence.
A Garden Toolbox for Schools
Rooted in Faith
BALLS THUMPED against the walls, jump ropes scraped the asphalt, and shrieks filled the air: The kindergarten and first-grade students of Holy Ghost Catholic School in Albuquerque, N.M., were at recess on a chilly December day. The sun was shining and the kids bumbled around in their jackets, oblivious to the cold. Also oblivious were the rows of leafy greens in the two raised-bed gardens just outside the classroom windows. The sun, plastic covers, and just enough water (which the students figured out after a failed crop or two) made for a perfect little garden oasis in the midst of winter.
Seeing me headed toward the gardens, dozens of children made a beeline for the structures, simultaneously shouting “Miss! Can I see?” “Miss, I’ll water them!” They helped me lift the cover to reveal a jungle of rainbow chard, kale, spinach, salad greens, a few radishes, and basil—a kaleidoscope of greens, golds, pinks, and yellows.
“Miss, can I have chard?” Mateo looked at me hopefully, chubby fingers pointing to the rainbow chard. “Sure!” I exclaimed, gently breaking off a leaf. “If you can name it, you can taste it!” Suddenly there were 15 hands in front of me, along with a litany of names: “The pink one!” “Chard! Chard!” “Can I have that spinach?!”
Not everyone was as enthusiastic. “Yuck,” Lenaia said when I offered her a piece of spinach. “I don’t want to eat it, but I’ll water it.”
All in the Family
Multigenerational households are becoming more common, by choice or by necessity -- and these expanded family circles have both benefits and perils.
Our Redemption Draws Near
An Unconventional Messiah
From Bread to Body
A Prophet Without Honor
Be Still and Know
Christian Community 101
Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary for May.
Believing What's True
Alone with God
'Listen to Him!'
Claiming Our Inheritance
The Sabbath Promise
To follow Jesus more deeply, we must learn to stop and rest.
A 'Holy Alliance'
A Great Cloud of Witnesses
Six months after Ash Wednesday, we are gifted with another month of reminders of its most basic and important lessons. Once again we have an opportunity to recognize our false idols - especially the most persistent: wealth, power, and ego - and to turn back to God, the source of true power and a love so great that we neither need nor yearn for the temporary fix of things. We are warned against greed, "for one's