Inside Story

The Editors 5-30-2017

“SEEK THE WELFARE of the city.” In recent years, Jeremiah 29:7 has been the mantra of urban church planters. Yet, as D.L. Mayfield points out in our cover story, these mostly white, missional-minded Christians “talk a lot about moving in and contributing to the flourishing of a city, but say little on the negative disruption that these moves can make in the existing community.” Ask a church planter to share their theology of gentrification, says Mayfield, and you’ll likely get blank stares.

It’s a personal story for Mayfield. Despite her missionary training and experience living among the urban poor, Mayfield felt helpless when gentrification hit her low-income neighborhood. “I can love my neighbors with my entire heart and soul, but what does that mean when every month more are driven away by increasing rents?” she writes. “How is our gospel good news for anyone but the gentrifiers themselves?”

And it’s a personal story for us, too. In 1975, the Sojourners community moved from Chicago to Columbia Heights, then one of the poorer neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. For the next three decades, we loved the neighborhood as best we could: We opened a daycare center, engaged in tenant organizing, and ran “freedom schools” with our low-income neighbors. And we tried to learn from those who’d been there long before we showed up.

But when developers began eyeing the neighborhood in the early 2000s, we realized our good intentions couldn’t protect our most vulnerable neighbors. Our mere presence—a couple dozen mainly white, middle-class people—gave the appearance of a neighborhood already “safe” for those with higher incomes. Property values rose, Starbucks moved in, and long-term residents were pushed out.

Mayfield’s article is a challenge to Christians making new church homes in urban areas. As we know well, trying to walk humbly and do justice in the city is a long, often-difficult journey.

The Editors 12-01-2011

Even while Occupy Wall Street and the worldwide movement it has helped ignite captured the public’s attention this fall, some observers claimed not to understand what the protests were all about.

The Editors 9-01-2011

Loving our neighbors is usually easier in the abstract. The members of Heartsong Church, just outside of Memphis, Tennessee, made that love very real last year in a concrete act of welcome. An Islamic faith community was moving in nearby, and their new center wasn’t going to be ready in time for Ramadan. So the members of Heartsong, in a simple act of Christian hospitality, invited their neighbors to use the church building during the Muslim holy month.

The Editors 8-01-2011

Mohandas Gandhi was keenly aware of the root causes of hunger, and he knew that the problem was not a lack of resources on God’s good earth.

The Editors 7-01-2011

Using online and wireless communication to organize large, diverse groups of people has been a key component of the nonviolent Arab Spring uprisings.

The Editors 6-03-2011

Every gun that is made is, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed.

The Editors 12-01-2008

The economic crisis presents particular challenges and questions for people of faith: What is the appropriate Christian response?

The Editors 11-01-2008

God is always on the side of the marginalized, the people who are the weakest and poorest.

The Editors 9-01-2008

You may recall that the cover of our August issue featured Elizabeth Edwards, spouse of John Edwards, one of the subjects of this month’s cover.

The Editors 8-01-2008

With the party conventions approaching, the presidential campaign officially heads toward the homestretch, and many of us are evaluating the proposals that the candidates and their parties believe

The Editors 7-01-2008

News and images of the world food crisis have been hard to bear these last few months—skyrocketing food prices have provoked desperate rioting in many countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Mexic

The Editors 6-01-2008

We're fortunate at Sojourners in that we receive regular infusions of energy and enthusiasm from the many interns who contribute to our work.

The Editors 5-01-2008

When we sat down to plan this special issue on faith and money, the tune buzzing in the back of our heads was from that catchy Sunday school song, "This Little Light of Mine"-specifically the line,

The Editors 4-01-2008

It's easy-and human-to apply labels according to our assumptions. But we know that categorizing anything, especially whole groups of people, is risky business.

The Editors 3-01-2008

While the ongoing U.S.

The Editors 9-01-2007

Thousands of immigrants and their supporters have attended rallies throughout the United States in the past year, calling attention to the broken system in which many undocumented immigrants langui

The Editors 8-01-2007

"You have a glowing future." That nice sentiment becomes a little ominous when you think of it in terms of nuclear technology.

The Editors 7-01-2007

Say "suburbs" and most people picture sprawling neighborhoods of identical homes filled with upwardly mobile status-seekers.

The Editors 6-01-2007

In mid-March, our staffers were busily putting the final touches on plans for the Christian Peace Witness, an event organized by 39 Christian organizations (including Sojourners/Call to Renewal) to

The Editors 5-01-2007

When we think of trade, most of us consider it the fiefdom of governments and multinational corporations -it seems a horribly complicated topic that's impossible to understand, let alone do anythin

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