Senior Editor, Sojourners magazine
Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Invite Rose to Speak

Rose, who lived in Washington, D.C. for 35 years, lives in Oak View, Calif. She has been on Sojourners staff since 1986.

For more than 35 years, Rose has rooted herself with Sojourners magazine and ministry. She is author of Bending the Arch: Poems (2019), Drawn By God: A History of the Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries from 1967 to 1991 (with Janet Gottschalk, 2012), and Who Killed Donte Manning? The Story of an American Neighborhood.

In the course of a 35 plus-year career in faith-based activism, advocacy journalism, and pastoral leadership, Rose has proven to be a skilled organizer, exceptional writer, visionary pastoral leader, and innovative teacher of biblical literacy.

With Sojourners, Rose has worked as an organizer on peace and environmental issues, internship program director, liturgist, community pastor, poetry editor, and, currently, as a Senior Editor of Sojourners magazine, where she writes a regular column on spirituality and justice. She is responsible for the Living the Word section, poetry, Bible studies, and interviews – and oversees the production of study guides, discussion guides, and the online bible study Preaching the Word. She is also a religion reviewer for Publishers Weekly and a Huffington Post commentator. Her work has appeared in National Catholic Reporter, Publishers Weekly, Religion News Service, Radical Grace-Oneing, The Merton Seasonal, U.S. Catholic, and elsewhere.

Rose has a veteran history in social justice activism, including: organizing inter-religious witness against the Keystone XL pipeline; educating and training groups in nonviolence; leading retreats in spirituality and justice; writing on topics as diverse as the “Spiritual Vision of Van Gogh, O'Keeffe, and Warhol,” the war in the Balkans, interviews with black activists Vincent Harding and Yvonne Delk, the Love Canal's Lois Gibbs, and Mexican archbishop Ruiz, cultural commentary on the Catholic church and the peace movement, reviews of movies, books, and music.

A founding member of a small creative writing group, Rose Berger has taught writing and poetry workshops for children and adults. She’s completed her MFA in poetry through the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. Her poetry has been published in Sojourners, The Other Side, Radix and D.C. Poets Against the War.

Rose grew up in the Central Valley of California, located in the rich flood plains of the Sacramento and American rivers. Raised in radical Catholic communities heavily influenced by Franciscans and the Catholic Worker movement, she served for nine years on the pastoral team for Sojourners Community Church; five as its co-pastor. She directed Sojourners internship program from 1990-1999. She is currently senior editor and poetry editor for Sojourners magazine.

She has traveled throughout the United States, and also in Ukraine, Israel/Palestine, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosova, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and El Salvador visiting primarily with faith communities working for peace in situations of conflict.

Rose’s articles include:

She lives in Oak View, Calif., in the Ventura River watershed on traditional Chumash lands.

Posts By This Author

Good Government?

by Rose Marie Berger 05-01-2000
Scripted hope in "The West Wing"

Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing is a wonk-world of pure imagination. It’s compelling, intelligent, fast-paced, and seductive.

NBC’s new Wednesday night poli-drama has the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) up in arms in response to episode two, when fictional president Josiah Bartlet (played with ego-centered magnanimity by Martin Sheen) wants to bomb Syria off the map for downing an unarmed U.S. Air Force jet. Says ADC president Hala Maksoud, "By creating a fictional story that blames a real nation and people for such a heinous crime, NBC has slandered an entire nation in the most unfair manner possible."

This episode, titled "A Proportional Response," shows the impact of Just War theory in limiting the military response of the powerful. The president is finally talked down by his chief of staff (played brilliantly by John Spencer), who reminds Bartlet that a more reasoned response "is what our fathers taught us." While it is a far cry from active nonviolence (activist-celeb Sheen’s preferred mode), it is nonetheless a sharp new architecture in the exurbs of network TV.

Sorkin, the creator of another talk-box hit, Sports Night, is known for his frenetic literary dialogue, quick quips, and tight emotional maneuvering. Perhaps his swill of choice, Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink, gives him the edge.

Emmy-winning director Thomas Schlamme sparks the small screen with a rich visual field. The Oval Office (thanks to visual consultant Jon Hutman) looks like the real thing. When Air Force One isn’t really Air Force One (and it often is), it’s a very good Virgin Atlantic 747 imitation. The deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) totes Elizabeth Drew’s current Beltway bible The Corruption of American Politics: What Went Wrong and Why under his arm.

Knock, Knock. Who's There.

by Rose Marie Berger 03-01-2000
Census 2000 and a changing America.

Why I'm Walking to Work Tomorrow

by Rose Marie Berger 01-01-2000

Putting a price on pollution.


by Rose Marie Berger 01-01-2000
Capturing sorrow with hope.

A Laboratory of Reconciliation

by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-1999

The war in Kosovo is over. The question now: How to build peace? Their neighbors in Bosnia might just have the beginnings of an answer.

Why Did You Come Here?

by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-1999

Camp Rakovica, Sarajevo—There were 1,500 Kosovar refugees in this camp on the dusty outskirts of Sarajevo. They had come by bus, car, and on foot.

Spiritual Reconstruction in Kosovo

by Rose Marie Berger 11-01-1999

Pristina, Kosovo—At the Macedonia-Kosovo border, kids on the roadside are selling Coke and fresh brown eggs.

Glimpses of God Outside the Temple

by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-1999
The spiritual vision of Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O'Keefe, and Andy Warhol.

Begin with Disillusionment

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1999

What lessons for the future can we learn from Kosovo?

Praying For Peace in Yugoslavia

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1999

Starting on Sunday, May 16, thousands of people of faith around the United States, Europe, and Yugoslavia have held candlelight prayer vigils on local bridges and overpasses as a witness for peace in Yugoslavia...

The World as God Intends

by Rose Marie Berger 05-01-1999
Yvonne Delk has always done more than live beyond the boundaries - by her witness, strength, and perseverance, she's helping to render them obsolete.

Truth in Flower and Song

by Rose Marie Berger 03-01-1999
Ancient music for the contemporary church

Learning From Each Other

by Rose Marie Berger 03-01-1999
Organizers Carol Richardson and Heather Dean, mother and daughter, talk about how the movement to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas became a family affair.

A Cure for Kosovo?

by Rose Marie Berger 01-01-1999
Orthodox reformers forge path of peace.

Resisting a Bitter Harvest

by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-1998
Despite anti-union violence, the United Farm Workers persevere in organizing strawberry pickers.

Putting Pen to Paper

by Rose Marie Berger 09-01-1998
The intimacy and poignancy of writing letters.

The Classic Con

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1998
'Star Wars' just won't go away.

I have to confess a deep and abiding respect for the old-fashioned flimflam man, the confidence man, that knave and schemer who can bilk you out of billions (or just your retirement fund) and have you thanking him as he tips his hat in exit.

Take Stanley Huntington of Farmington, New Mexico, for example. He pulled the classic con. Huntington’s smooth, sincere sales pitch offered citizens a chance to help the government and preserve the environment at the same time. He was selling "California red super-worms"—genetically developed for the digesting of nuclear waste. For only $500, you get four pounds of super-worms to raise at home until you double or triple your total worm population and your initial investment when you resell your super-reds to the local nuclear waste burial facility. According to Huntington (and his completely false but very official-looking contract with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant), the government will pay top dollar for these "rad-reds." You’ll make millions!

Who says Americans have lost our creative edge! We may not think much of the fine arts, or even the avant-garde, but we still shell out for the con arts.

Languages and People Disappeared

by Rose Marie Berger 07-01-1998
The danger of "men with guns"

Rough hands gripped mine. I stared down, uncomfortable, at the yellow and silver Formica table. "Tat nupal," the voices began, "tey tinemi tic ne ylhuicatl." In a run-down tract house in the weedy suburbs of Washington, D.C., five Salvadoran refugees began their evening blessing over our meal. "Our Creator in heaven," they pray in Nahuat, one of the indigenous languages of El Salvador. As a poet in a time when languages are being lost at a rate equivalent to the rain forest, I clung to the edges of the words, the narrowness of their sound, their rhythm like wind in high trees, never expecting to hear them again.

John Sayles’ newest film, Men With Guns, not only includes dialogue in Nahuat, but in Tzotzil, Maya, and Kuna, as well as Spanish and English. "Language is one of the main gaps between people," Sayles says about his characters. "If everyone was speaking English, the story wouldn’t make as much sense." (The subtitles, by the way, are clear and excellent.)

In his understated way, Sayles’ movie mission is about making sense. He does so not in a rational, superficial, or always socially recognizable way, but on a very human and spiritual level, digging at the question of how to shore up faith and uncover meaning in daily life.

Sayles characteristically uses a guide, an outsider, someone who leads the viewer through self-discovery in the story. In The Brother From Another Planet (1984), the guide is a black mute extraterrestrial who beams down in Harlem; in Matewan (1987), a union organizer; in The Secret of Roan Inish (1994), a young girl. In Men With Guns, our "escort" is Humberto Fuentes (Argentinean actor Federico Luppi), a wealthy doctor approaching retirement who has never paid any attention to the political realities of his unspecified country. He considers his greatest achievement to be his participation in an international health program in which he trained students to work as doctors in the poorest villages.

Of Love's Risen Body

by Rose Marie Berger 03-01-1998
The poetry of Denise Levertov, 1923-1997

Tibet or Not Tibet

by Rose Marie Berger 01-01-1998
Hollywood visits China.