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Sojourners Magazine: April 2015

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THE MERCILESS BRUTALITY of ISIS jihadists—from the beheading of 21 Egyptians to the burning alive of a Jordanian soldier—is a moral outrage and a deepening concern for the world’s political powers. While debate rages about military answers, another under-the-radar response has emerged inside of ISIS-held territories: Nonviolent resistance.

Maria J. Stephan, a senior policy fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, explores this underreported movement energized by peace activists in both Syria and Iraq, activists who have not given up hope for their countries. From individuals, such as Soaad Nofal and her courageous public stand against ISIS in Raqqa, Syria, to long-standing organized groups committed to peace, a grassroots wave of resistance is countering violence with hope. And Sojourners contributing editor David Cortright writes about the limits of a military response to terrorism and the alternatives that, in the long run, can promote outcomes of lasting peace.

Stateside, Virginia Gilbert studies the increasing burden of education debts on college graduates, which has created a type of indentured servitude that for many proves difficult to escape. And the government has become the collection agency.

Our Beatitudes series continues with a confessional account from author Josh MacIvor-Andersen, one that informs the calls for mercy in our own lives today. “Lord have mercy” is both a cry for healing in a broken world and a call for God’s intervening hand. 

Web Extra

Education debt is crippling students, and America's response gets a failing grade. 
War hasn’t been able to destroy Syria’s sacred music.

Cover Story

Image via Flickr / Alisdare Hickson / CC BY-SA 2.0
A military-only strategy won't defeat ISIS, and may even make things worse. 
Image via Flickr / Aram Tahhan / CC BY-NC 2.0
Surprisingly, acts of civil resistance in Syria and Iraq have shown success against the so-called Islamic State. 

Feature

The high cost of U.S. education loans is causing a new form of indentured servitude. 
Part of "setting captives free" is helping see the invisible bonds of structural racism. 
Nelson Mandela was one of the 20th century's greatest leaders, but the long walk to freedom in South Africa is far from over. 
In the gospels, at least, not a sparrow falls to the ground without God's attune. 

Commentary

Pope Francis is restoring relations with Latin American liberation theologians. 
What it looks like when we go to Dick Cheney's "dark side" 
Two countries lumped together in the "axis of evil" have few similarities. 

Columns

These national uprisings are part of an ongoing black liberation narrative. 
As servants of a Lord who was tortured to death, we must commit to healing the wounds we have inflicted. 
If we are closed to faith language, we may find ourselves burned up and frozen out. 
Saints (and sinners) around the water cooler

Culture Watch

"Where the Cross Meets the Street: What Happens to the Neighborhood When God is at the Center," IVP Books
Four April 2015 culture recommendations from our editors
Democracy requires universal access to the means of communication. 
How a punk-rock drummer came to love ancient Syrian spiritual music
If the purpose of art is to help us live better, then to have integrity, storytellers who feature characters who behave badly have a responsibility to illuminate their motivation and context. 
"It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing Into Rebellious Motherhood," OR Books
"This is My Body: From Obesity to Ironman, My Journey into the True Meaning of Flesh, Spirit, and Deeper Faith," Convergent Books