Ryan Rodrick Beiler was the Sojourners web editor from 1999 to 2010. He currently works as a freelance photojournalist based in Oslo, Norway. 

Posts By This Author

A Punishing Decade

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 05-01-2000

The U.S. prison population passed the two million mark in February, provoking vigils and protests in more than 40 U.S. cities.

Cutting Classes for Christ

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 05-01-2000
Youthful idealism can grow into life-long commitment to justice.

Ariel, the son-in-law of the Guatemalan couple that hosted me when I traveled to Central America in 1997, spoke nostalgically of his days in the student movement—even though it had gotten him roughed up and shot at by security forces. He left such dangers behind when commitments to wife, children, and church became his highest priorities.

Though most U.S. activists risk far less than Ariel, often the same kinds of commitments push justice work to the back burner—or off the stove entirely. These commitments don't excuse "grown-ups" from doing activism, but awareness of them points out the importance of encouraging the radical impulses of those who often are without such pressing responsibilities—such as, for example, students.

Compared to Ariel's risks, getting arrested for protesting the U.S. Army's School of the Americas (SOA) in Georgia—the school that trains the soldiers who've caused so much suffering in Latin America—was the very least I could do. Last November, students from more than 232 colleges and universities made the same choice and did civil disobedience to protest the School of the Americas. Interrupting my "busy" academic schedule for such events was not only possible but, in the big picture, an even higher priority than classes.

SOA Watch and other emerging student movements are impressive for their "love thy neighbor" attitude. Many of the most popular causes—sweatshop labor, a living wage, and freeing Tibet—defend the rights of others. And though passions may wane after graduation, youthful idealism can grow into life-long commitment to justice.

Easy Listening It Ain't

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 03-01-2000

Music to afflict the comfortable.

Resources for Study and Action

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 03-01-2000

Adopt-a-What?!

Plowshares vs. Depleted Uranium

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 03-01-2000

Four Plowshares activists led by Philip Berrigan entered an Air National Guard base in Essex, Maryland, in late December to disarm A-10 Warthog aircraft

Churches Continue Discussions on Scripture, Homosexuality

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 03-01-2000

A recent consultation among United Methodist Church officials on the "authority of scripture and the nature of God’s revelation" acknowledged that the most divisive debates of the church hinge largely on one’s view of the nature and authority of the Bible. 

Deja Vu in Colombia

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 03-01-2000

U.S. military assistance to Colombia is reaching levels comparable to the aid given El Salvador in the 1980s, as the Drug War replaces the Cold War in the rubric of national security.

Briefly Noted

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 03-01-2000

On New Year’s Eve, 310 of the more than 500 activists gathered at the Nevada Test Site committed civil disobedience, calling for the abolition of nuclear arms.

Pentagon Plans SOA Whitewash

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 03-01-2000

In response to mounting opposition to the U.S.

New Voices Against the Death Penalty

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 03-01-2000

Ninety-eight people were executed in the United States last year—30 more than in 1998 and the most since 1951.

Jubilee Progress

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 01-01-2000

On September 29 President Clinton announced that the administration would erase 100 percent of the debt owed to the United States by 30 heavily indebted poor countries.

Sowing in the Corners

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 01-01-2000

Founded by a handful of Oklahoma farmers in 1903, family-owned First Bethany Bank & Trust recalls some of the finest traditions of small-town business.

Briefly Noted

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 01-01-2000

An estimated 10 million Colombians—a quarter of the country’s population—took to the streets this fall in protests demanding an end to 40 years of armed conflict t

Resources for Study and Action

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 01-01-2000

50 Years of Good News (on the Radio)

Insult to Injury

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 01-01-2000

While the U.S. military has spent more than $30 million on its fortress-like base in Kosovo—complete with a Burger King—Kosovars themselves are left with a war-ravaged homeland...

Action on Sudan

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 01-01-2000

The U.S. State Department this fall cited Sudan as potentially subject to economic sanctions under the International Religious Freedom Act for its persecution of Christians and other religious groups.

Justice Remains Elusive in Guatemala

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 01-01-2000

Celvin Galindo, the prosecutor investigating the murder of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi, has fled to the United States for fear of his life.

Resources for Study and Action

by Ryan Rodrick Beiler 11-01-1999

Coffee for a Cause