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Magazine

Sojourners Magazine: April 2014

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IN EVERY AGE the church must present itself in new ways lest it become irrelevant to the people who need it most. Following Jesus to the social and cultural edges often fosters creative worship and unique ministries among those most in need of what sacred community has to offer. In this issue, we look at two examples of ways churches are reaching out.

Nadia Bolz-Weber has attracted national media attention, often focusing on her religious tattoos or her stand-up-comic wit. But underneath the tattoos is a pastor deeply committed to a theological and liturgical orthodoxy. That traditionalism has led to a diverse congregation—the House for All Sinners and Saints—whose worship service on a given Sunday might feature Eastern Orthodox icons or Latin hymns. As she puts it, “You have to be rooted in tradition in order to innovate with integrity.”

When wars eventually come to an end, along with the physical wounds, they leave those who fought with unhealed emotional and spiritual scars. In what is now diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan experience a range of emotions from withdrawal to depression to anger. Often these are interwoven with guilt and shame over what was done—or not done—in extreme situations.

Some veterans have found that faith communities can be places of solace and support. Churches—even those that opposed the wars in the first place—have important roles to play in serving as advocates and healers.

As we celebrate Easter this month—the resurrection into life of the One who makes all things new—may we continue to follow him in new ways of service to God and to humanity.

Cover Story

Nadia Bolz-Weber is a hipster pastor with a medieval soul. And her church—House for All Sinners and Saints—is practicing ancient Christian arts in a post-modern world.

Feature

How the U.S. became a torturing nation—and how to make it stop
Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch: A Bible study
Christians have a presumption against war—as well as an obligation to help heal those who suffer its consequences.
For many Millennials, getting involved in causes is a trendy thing to do. We're called to go deeper than that.

Commentary

The myth of redemptive violence
New studies reveal the effects of mountaintop removal mining on the people nearby.
While the battle for immigration reform continues, more than 1,000 people are deported every day.
The growing militarization of Honduran society is fueled by U.S. support.

Columns

Counter to the stereotypes, a new study shows that African-American men are exceptional fathers.
An "all of the above" policy is in fact no policy at all.
It's only New Jersey. So fugetaboutit.
Changing the world requires the leadership of women.

Culture Watch

"This Day: New & Collected Sabbath Poems," Counterpoint
From galleries to the street, artist Nora Howell is unafraid of tough topics.
"Creating a Scene in Corinth: A Simulation," Herald Press
He didn't just sing for the audience. He got them to sing for themselves.
"Radical Jesus: A Graphic History of Faith," Herald Press
Without conscious resistance, the flattened culture of entertainment globalization is going to continue to dominate.
Four April 2014 culture recommendations from our editors

Departments

Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary, Cycle A
First, thanks to Peg Conway, Bob Blackburn, and others who voiced their concern about how I represented the Pharisees in my article on hell. 
Letter to the Editors

Web Extra

The United States maintains 33,400 beds and spends nearly $2 billion a year on the detention of immigrants under the dubious banner of "security."   
What does it take to educate and parent African-American children, all while maintaining family values?
For some veterans, PTSD rages on as "the war within."
Nadia Bolz-Weber, pastor of the House of All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colo., talks to CNN.
Rev. Joy Carroll Wallis, one of the first women ordained in the Church of England, is the real-life vicar of Dibley.
Nadia Bolz-Weber's church, House for All Sinners and Saints, is not your typical Lutheran church. 
A poetry reading from Wendell Berry's "This Day"