Wes Granberg-Michaelson

Wes Granberg-Michaelson is the author of From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church and Future Faith: Ten Challenges for Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century (Fortress Press). For 17 years he served as General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America, and has long been active in ecumenical initiatives such as the Global Christian Forum and Christian Churches Together. He’s been associated with the ministry of Sojourners for 40 years. He and his wife Karin now live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Posts By This Author

What the Church Can Learn from Pilgrimages

by Wes Granberg-Michaelson 08-14-2018
Alexandre Rotenberg / Shutterstock.com

Tired pilgrim statue at Plaza Rey San Fernando in Burgos, Spain. Alexandre Rotenberg / Shutterstock.com

The great temptation for the church is to remain settled in its comfort zone, doing the same routine. While it may be on the course to a slow death, it can get by and not feel much pain. But the people of God are never meant to be settled; they are called to join in God’s transformational mission in the world, bringing God’s intended justice, healing, and reconciliation to a wounded creation. This requires an intentional commitment by the church to embark on a pilgrimage.

Buen Camino: A Journey Toward a Future Faith

by Wes Granberg-Michaelson 08-12-2018

Pew Research just released results of a major survey on why Americans go, and don’t go, to church today. Not surprisingly, the number of those attending religious services regularly is declining, with numbers of younger people the highest. But among these, there is a surprise: Of those who cite a reason other than lack of belief for not attending, 70 percent say that religion is important in their lives. When asked why they do not regularly attend religious services, the most frequently cited reason is this: “I practice my faith in other ways.” That’s what intrigues me about the Camino.

Remembering Peter Borgdorff

Peter Borgdorff, Photo courtesy Wes Granberg-Michaelson

We at Sojourners were especially blessed to have Peter’s leadership for 26 years on the board of Sojourners and, before that, Call to Renewal, which we and he helped to found on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable. That was a deep passion for Peter, for those left outside that Jesus told us to bring inside.

An Open Window On a Mutilated Body

by Wes Granberg-Michaelson 05-02-2018

Meanwhile, the growth of the world-wide church surges in the global South. Gina Zurlo, Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, explained today’s facts. Two-thirds of all Christians now live in the Global South. During the lifetime of most those gathered in Bogota, Christians in Africa have grown from 134 million in 1970 to 621 million today, making that continent home to more of world Christianity than any other region. Almost as many Christians are in the continent of Latin America where we met. Pentecostalism drives much of this growth. But the complexity, divisiveness, and conflicts between churches in these regions as well as globally clouds the picture projecting Christianity’s future. 

Asking ‘Which Jesus?’ in 2018

by Wes Granberg-Michaelson 03-26-2018

Image by Robert Rognlien / CreationSwap.com

Isn’t that the question that the thousands gathered in Jerusalem for Passover, and the small circle of disciples and friends, were asking on that first Palm Sunday, and in the fateful week that followed? Who is this Jesus? And is it the Jesus we want to follow? The one we thought we were following? Or the one we now end up denying and rejecting? Which Jesus?

Enclaves of Hope

by Wes Granberg-Michaelson 03-09-2018

There is a tragedy happening within U.S. denominations and religious institutions that cripples the witness of the church in the wider society. Bonds of Christian fellowship are being torn asunder by the debate over the inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church, creating untold pain and suffering for many LGBTQ people and others, while sharpening disunity in Christ. And all this is unnecessary, and unfaithful. 

When Seminary Becomes a Threat

by Wes Granberg-Michaelson 12-20-2017
In 1935 Dietrich Bonhoeffer founded an underground seminary of the Confessing Church.

Bonhoeffer with students in 1932. Federal Archives, Photo 183-R0211-316 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

THE FORCES SHAPING, and misshaping, the world today include chauvinistic nationalism, growing economic inequality, deeply embedded misogyny, destabilizing climate change, unprecedented forced migration, and increasing militarization and violence.

Crucial to our response to all this, however, is a fundamental question: Are we confronted today simply by another set of vexing economic and social developments that require our attention? Or is something deeper at stake? Are we facing forces that constitute a spiritual assault on the integrity and truth of Christian faith in today’s world? Is this a time when our response, however well intended, will be inept unless it is grounded in a spiritual resilience that confesses faith in Jesus Christ, through the power of the Spirit, who unmasks and defies powers that would subdue and crush the public integrity of the gospel in the world?

This is, in truth, the crucial question for us to discern. And it is deeply serious. I’d pose it this way: When rising forces of nationalistic exclusivism are fueled by racial bigotry, when a naked global struggle for money and power shreds bonds of human solidarity, and when unbridled greed threatens planetary survival, is the truth and integrity of our faith at stake? Is the only response capable of addressing the roots of this crisis one of spiritual resistance and renewal rooted in what it means to confess Jesus Christ as Lord? In other words, is it a kairos moment calling us to a clear discernment of what it means, in this present context, to confess our faith? And must such a confession then shape the communities of those who believe the gospel? In my view, the answer is yes.

Artificial Litmus Tests and the Threat to Christian Unity

by Wes Granberg-Michaelson 11-10-2017

Differences in the body of Christ over ethical and theological issues have been with the church since its inception. The letters of the New Testament and ministry of its first leaders were focused on how we live together in the face of inevitable tensions. Our call is to display an outpouring of humility, a commitment to the well-being of other brothers and sisters, and a self-giving love that builds a community truly shaped by the Spirit and acting as a corporate body infused with the love of Jesus.

I Worked for the Senate During Vietnam. PBS' 'The Vietnam War' Is a Must-Watch.

by Wes Granberg-Michaelson 10-02-2017

Image via manhhai/Flickr

 At no point did I see a Niebuhrian “just war.” The entire enterprise was a moral disgrace.

What U.S. Christians Miss About North — and South — Korea

by Wes Granberg-Michaelson 09-22-2017

Two realities here in South Korea seem unknown or underappreciated in the U.S. First is the fact that the Korean War has not ended. There’s no treaty, and no permanently recognized peace — only an agreement 60 years ago to cease actual hostilities. 

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