December 1994-January 1995

Cover Story

All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful. -Flannery O'Connor
Flannery O'Connor and the healing of Southern culture
Jesus spoke all these things in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. -Matthew 13:34 Story penetrates our souls and is woven into our being.
I discovered O'Connor when I was in college in the North and took a course in Southern writers and the South.



Christmas came early this year, Lord
When I first heard about The Bell Curve, the new book by Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein, I remembered an incident last year at Sojourners Neighborhood Center.
When the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, its drafters specified one exception: prisoners.
For years I scoffed at the idea of violence outside abortion clinics. Sure, plenty of violence was going on inside the clinics-more than 4,000 babies killed every day.
In 1967, two veteran Washington, D.C. police officers confronted a slender African-American man crossing a street...
And you shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the soul of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt. -Exodus 23:9


I guess I am doin' all right. I'm studyin', and like the teacher says, it pays off.
A new day has dawned in our country. Unfortunately, that day is some time in the 1950s.
This fall's elections were indeed a political turning point. The Democrats who say their debacle was only a rejection of politics in general and whoever was in power are just wrong.
It is fitting that this morning, after paying bills and moaning about another increase in our health insurance premium, I came across a Russian proverb in a nutrition magazine

Culture Watch

Public forgiveness and TV Scandal.
Books for pleasure and meaning.
Flannery O'Connor's disorienting fiction
Ordinary experience and extraordinary insight.
Amidst the joy of celebrating the coming of the Child at Christmas, many of us are caught up in the bustle of holiday travels, shopping sprees, and plans to serve those less fortunate.
Small groups and the renewal of the church.
The Vigilantes of Love's views on the American Dream


Three American soldiers committed suicide in the first few months after U.S. forces arrived in Haiti in September 1994.
WHEN I READ Tim Kantzer's letter in your September-October 1994 issue, a quote from the Bible immediately jumped into my mind: Mark 9:40, "For whoever is not against us is for us."
Reflections on the revised common lectionary (November 27 - February 12, 1995)
Providing refuge for homeless families
Hunched over his mop, backbone like knotted cord
When in doubt, have a party. Our editor, Jim Wallis, spent October on the road doing a promotional tour for his new book, The Soul of Politics.