Online Editorial Assistant

Zachary Lee (he/him) is from Chicago’s North Side (he feels the need to clarify he’s actually from the city). In 2020, he graduated from Cornell University where he studied English, specifically focusing on creative writing and science fiction, and minored in Spanish. His senior thesis focused on how Asian American science fiction is inherently a genre of reconciliation, one where authors can prototype better worlds that are not solely rooted or constrained by present hardships.

An avid writer, Zachary served as editor-in-chief, editor, and writer for Claritas, Cornell’s journal of Christian thought, and contributed to his school’s newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun. While he studied abroad at Oxford, he co-founded Through a Glass Darkly, Oxford's very first student journal in Christian thought and art. He loves to write about the intersection of faith and media, slyly finding ways to use writing projects as an excuse to stay up to date on pop culture by writing for sites like Think Christian. For two years after graduation, Zachary served as the content and communications fellow at Chesterton House, a Christian study center which, like the Sojourners Fellowship Program, had an emphasis on intentional residential Christian community.

Zachary credits his participation in Rooted & Radical Youth Poetry Festival (he knew it then as Louder than a Bomb), Chicago’s annual slam poetry festival, as first sparking his interest in justice work, specifically the way authors use writing to imagine better worlds while decrying present injustices. He’s excited to continue to press further into the way words can be tools for justice as online editorial assistant at Sojourners.

With his spare time, Zachary happily evangelizes about and logs films on Letterboxd, collects and poses action figures, and often writes down the funny and/or profound quotations the people around him say (that they’ve probably forgotten about). While hope characterizes much of his writing and vocational interests, the one place where he’s given up hope is catching up on his ever-expanding book list (he’s currently on book nine of 92+). That doesn’t mean he won’t try, though.

Posts By This Author

10 Films To Experience the Holy Disruption of Horror

by Zachary Lee 10-18-2022
A back-lit woman stands at the top of basement stairs, looking down.

In Barbarian, Tess (Georgina Campbell) finds that a house she rents has been accidentally double-booked by someone else. (20th Century Films).

I’ve watched the recent horror films below with one (sometimes both) eye(s) closed, but also with a posture of curiosity and hope: What might my disturbed feelings reveal? May watching these films lead to, as author Brandon Grafius writes, “an openness to what the experience of horror might be able to teach us.”

Why Watching ‘Elvis’ Made Me Think of Megachurch Pastors

by Zachary Lee 07-07-2022

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley in 'Elvis.' Warner Bros. Pictures

Above all else, Luhrmann displays Elvis as a man-turned-god who was exhausted trying to make peace with his paradoxes.

In ‘Fear,’ the Hosts — Not the Refugees — Are the Real Threat

by Zachary Lee 03-30-2022

Svetlana Yancheva and Michael Fleming in 'Fear'

The Bulgarian town where director Ivaylo Hristov’s latest film takes place is never named, but the movie’s title offers a suitable stand-in: Fear. This coastal village on Turkey’s border reeks of terror, but not the kind one might expect.

The Truth Will Set You Free. Are We Ready for That?

by Zachary Lee 03-01-2022
'The Green Knight' puts a magnifying glass to our natural responses to truth, while 'The Power of the Dog' articulates our tendencies to flee from the truths that will expose us.
A robed figure stairs through a bright opening in the trees of a dark forest

From The Green Knight

WHEN I FIRST read Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “truth” early last year, I did a double take to make sure it wasn’t written in 2021. The 1987 poem personifies its titular subject as a living being that can knock its “firm knuckles / Hard on the door,” whose arrival brings an equal mix of anticipation and apprehension. Brooks describes multiple responses one can have to the arrival of truth. For those who have made peace with lies, the truth can be threatening: “Shall we not dread him, / Shall we not fear him / After so lengthy a / Session with shade?” Even for those who have longed for truth’s arrival, blissful or willful ignorance seems to be a better alternative than the terror of having to engage truth head on: “Shall we not shudder?— / Shall we not flee / Into the shelter, the dear thick shelter / Of the familiar / Propitious haze?” Regardless, Brooks makes one thing clear: The question is not a matter of if truth will come, but when. The most important question of our lives then becomes, how are we to greet it?

In the poem, Brooks doesn’t name the truth that haunts her—although since she first published it in 1949, as the stage for the civil rights movement was being set, one possibility might be the systemic mistreatment of Black people and white people’s willful obliviousness to it. I found the poem to be a peculiar comfort in this time as we try to adjust to an ever-shifting landscape of new realities and reckon with truths about ourselves we might otherwise prefer remain hidden.

Similarly, several films offer insight into how people receive truth’s advent.