This Month's Cover

Sojourners Magazine: December 2012

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IN THIS ISSUE, we’re privileged to hear from an elder of the Sojourners community, Bob Sabath—one of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School students who helped start Sojourners (then called The Post-American) way back in 1971. These days, Bob splits his time between honing Sojourners’ website architecture and being part of the Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Community, tucked into the mountains of West Virginia. In our cover story, he offers his deeply rooted reflection on spiritual growth, of both communities and individuals. Though the interplay between personal and communal journeys involves tensions, its very messiness is spiritually fertilizing. “We are all broken, as individuals and as institutions. But what is broken is also part of our beauty and our gift,” Bob says. (Will Bob ever write a spiritual reflection on “website as cathedral”? We can only hope.)

In a companion article, C. Christopher Smith tells us about Slow Church, a conversation devoted to “recovering the joys and goodness of Christian faithfulness in a local church community.” Eschewing the temptations to go solo or to focus only on global change, Slow Church reminds us to see God’s abundance all around and God’s unique gift in every person.

We here at Sojourners have been blessed this year by the presence not only of elders, but of two very new people: James, born this June, and Gramercy, who arrived in August, courtesy of proud Sojourners moms. Although neither of these littlest Sojourners has offered to work on the website yet, they definitely foster community, producing impromptu staff gatherings whenever they pay a visit to our office. We’ve got our eye on them for the Sojourners intern class of 2034!

As Advent draws near and the mystery of God choosing to pitch a fleshy tent among us is once again made real, we wish you rich and abundant blessings, wherever you are in life’s journey.

Cover Story

As individuals, we have to slow down to find our spiritual center. But that doesn't make a very good business plan.
Why it's time for a conversation about Slow Church


Putting Americans behind bars is becoming an increasingly lucrative business.
Ex-offenders confront the for-profit prison industry.
In New York City, an activist group of homeless and formerly homeless people challenges the powers that be.


Advent marinates us as we prepare to taste Christ's arrival.
Canadian churches repent for running Indian Residential Schools.
We know how policymakers can fight unemployment. They're just not doing it.


It's frustrating to be constantly represented by violent thugs and to be asked to explain their actions.
With a warm hen under my arm, I remembered Jesus' plea over another empire-ridden city.
Get used to the idea of a married Jesus.
Take heart! A new generation is ready to lead.

Culture Watch

"Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War," Palgrave Macmillan
Four December 2012 culture recommendations from our editors
It's a mark of the moral complexity of "The Master" that it can critique the damage done by demonic religion while honoring the best hopes of its angelic shades.
Caroline Herring makes truth-telling a mission in her music.
Excerpt from "A Thicker Jesus: Incarnational Discipleship in a Secular Age," by Glen H. Stassen
Should America reconsider our open market in bigoted ideas?


Letter to the Editors
Reflections on the Common Lectionary, Cycle C

Web Extra

"The social justice singer-songwriter of her generation."
Center yourself during this busy holiday season with our top 10 Advent resources.