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Sojourners Magazine: August 2012

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FROM FICTIONAL bloodsuckers to all-too-real super PACs, the diseases of our society’s relationship to wealth are unpacked in this month’s Sojourners—along with some suggestions for hope and healing. Looking at the real-life body politic, Nick Penniman’s cover story, “Rotten to the Core,” tells us just how badly our broken campaign finance system has corrupted democracy; he also points to specific strategies a “strange-bedfellows army” is using to tackle the problem. Surveying the U.S. economy as a whole, Gar Alperovitz’s “More Bullish Than You Think” explains how, though wealth inequality has literally gone medieval in scope, the “new economy” movement is demonstrating change in many ways, from credit union membership to worker-owned businesses to land trusts.

In our CultureWatch section, Kathryn Reklis describes how, far from being pure escapism, the vampire and zombie stories so popular today help to unveil the addictive and ultimately mindless desire fostered by consumer society. While the sexy, powerful protagonists of True Blood and other contemporary vampire fare make lust look glitzy and appealing, the mindlessly hungering zombie, emptied not just of self-control but of self and of human connection, is its true endpoint.

How do you fight vampire-like forces of corruption? Let God’s sunshine in.

Cover Story

With political integrity drowning in big money, it's too late for small tweaks. The whole system needs a reboot.

Feature

If we want a democracy that represents the public interest, we'll need a system where politicians are no longer bought and paid for by the highest bidders.
Near the end of his life, Howard Thurman was called "one of the greatest spiritual resources of this nation." He was also a pioneer in environmental theology.
Want some economic good news? Credit unions, employee-owned business, public banks—the "new economy" is breaking out all over.
The Lakota people of South Dakota are building bonds with the Taizé brothers from France. The result? Spirituality that spans the ages, and a promise of reconciliation.
Preaching for social transformation requires an abundance of courage, moral credibility, and the virtue of precision.

Commentary

State voter-suppression measures go beyond ID laws.
Will Congress cut food stamps, conservation, and the farmer safety net—or fail to pass a Farm Bill at all?
Faith leaders and others protest a planned military base on a South Korean island.

Columns

Remind me again what lawyers do. I forget.
Our call from God is to offer hope where nobody else does.
What explains our moral leaders' mealy-mouthed silence on climate change?
Hey Pres. Obama: The Nobel Peace Prize committee is calling. They want their medal back.
The author during her first August in the Hamptons, 1971.
The spiritual connection between the slow rhythm of August and the Sabbath

Culture Watch

"Concrete, Steel, and Paint," directed by Cindy Burstein and Tony Heriza
Tom Morello's approach to politics is as unique and incisive as his best guitar solos.
"The Dictator," amid its crudity and over-the-top stereotypes, asks us to reimagine democracy.
Four August 2012 culture recommendations from our editors
"Forged in the Fiery Furnace: African American Spirituality" by Diana L. Hayes
"99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It" by Chuck Collins
What vampires can teach us about consumer capitalism and human desire

Departments

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change
Letter to the Editors
Reflections on the Common Lectionary, Cycle B

Web Extra

Did you know that there are more than 10 million Americans involved in worker-owned companies? Take a look.
http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?safesearch=1&search_language=en&search_sou
Big money has corrupted our politics, and We the People want it fixed.
Learn how to preach for social transformation with these excellent resources.
Experience the Lord’s Prayer in Lakota.