Sojourners Magazine: April 2013
EASTER IS A time to be inspired by Christ's example of shedding death's binding shroud—and by his followers' example of listening, as long as it takes to finally understand, to God's message that everything is different now and that we are invited to be part of the change.
Those examples have given strength to many followers of Christ, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as, 50 years ago this April, he penned the "Letter from Birmingham Jail." But his eloquent argument that justice delayed is justice denied has too often been given only lip service. In this issue, we excerpt a thoughtful response to King's letter by Christian Churches Together, a coalition of Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches representing more than 100 million people in the U.S. The joint statement repents of, and calls for an active response to, key areas of racial inequity today, including starkly unequal schools, a criminal justice system that sweeps up a quarter of all African-American men, and the church's frequent choice to "avoid the fiscal, emotional, and spiritual costs of changing our beloved institutions."
What King called our "inescapable network of mutuality" is also known by another name: the Christian commitment to the common good. That millennia-old theme, relevant now more than ever, is reflected in our cover article, adapted from Sojourners editor-in-chief Jim Wallis' new book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good.
The common good stretches to our neighbors far and wide—whether a businessman helping North Koreans struggling against economic and religious oppression, as Sylvia Yu describes in "A Relentless Faith," a Haitian and international team helping Port-au-Prince pursue rebuilding its earthquake-shattered cathedral, as novelist Edwidge Danticat recounts, or a growing realization, as Brooklyn native and former Sojourners summer intern Onleilove Alston writes in the wake of last year's Hurricane Sandy, that climate change is a poverty and immigration issue too. Wherever you are and wherever you serve, we wish you a lively Easter season!