This Month's Cover
Magazine

Sojourners Magazine: January 2015

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In recent decades, questions around sexuality—and in particular around people with same-sex attractions—have been among the most divisive issues for the church. Congregations, conferences, and denominations (and families!) have been pulled apart by differences of interpretation, belief, and practice among Christians and church bodies. Gay Christians have borne the destructive and sometimes violent brunt of these differences.

Many who hold different views on these matters share a deep commitment to the Bible but differ in how to read and understand what the Bible says or means. Those who consider themselves as having a “high” view of scripture have tended to understand the Bible as clearly condemning all homosexual acts. They see those who have come to different biblical conclusions as having a “lower” view of scripture.

The supposedly well-defined lines that delineated that dichotomy have become blurred in recent years. Evangelical scholars—with an unequivocal commitment to biblical authority—are beginning to question the traditionalists’ interpretations of the Word on these matters. Well-regarded and deeply respected evangelical scholars are finding evidence in their read of scripture that the few relevant biblical passages have very little, if anything, to do with contemporary same-sex covenant relationships based on mutuality, love, respect, and fidelity.

David P. Gushee is one of those highly esteemed evangelical scholars. In his new book,Changing Our Mind, the basis of this month’s cover article, Gushee carefully examines all of the pertinent biblical passages and concludes that the church would be well served to revisit its traditional interpretation with fresh eyes and open hearts, enabling us to have a civil, charitable, respectful, and prayerful discourse on these controversial and complicated issues.

Not surprising, when the church has been called to re-examine such intensely held beliefs, deeply rooted in our psyches and our cultural values, a backlash often occurs, directed at those who argue for new ways of seeing and understanding, often filled with bitterness, hostility, and rancor. But Jesus’ model of sacrificial love instead invites us to reach across our divides with humility and grace, to truly listen well to those with whom we disagree, and to seek to discern together how God calls us today and every day to be salt and light to the world around us. 

Cover Story

It's time for Bible-believing Christians to take a new look at what scripture teaches us about gays and lesbians—and what it means to be a faithful church.
Five books that are changing the evangelical discussion about LGBT Christians and the church

Feature

With gun violence on the rise in Indianapolis, local churches are responding with prayer and a ministry of presence. 
Five boys and one quiet, honest, wry, excellent priest
How meek is meek, and do you always have to let bullies kick sand in your face at the beach?
100 Years after his birth, the postmodern sensibilities of this Catholic author and monk kept new generations coming back for more. 

Commentary

Does Christianity have a future in Iraq? 
Some Walmart practices show gross disregard for the well-being of workers. 
This Spring, thousands will gather in New York to say no to nuclear weapons. 

Columns

The Old Farmer's Almanac never lies. (It guesses, but that's not lying.)
Now that the Rockefellers have divested, what excuse does anyone else have? 
Our mission was, is, and always will be centered in Jesus Christ. 
We are not racists, but we accept a system that acts in racist ways. 

Culture Watch

Souls are being stained and scarred to keep your internet experience relatively clean.
"With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older," Vanderbilt University Press
A cisgender straight character dressing up has little or nothing to do with the real stories of the "T" in LGBTQ. 
"Black Prophetic Fire," Beacon Press
"Contested Land, Contested Memory: Israel's Jews and Arabs and the Ghosts of Catstrophe," Dundurn Press 
Four January 2015 culture recommendations from our editors
Diverse books mark the 100th birthday of the great mystic and writer Thomas Merton. 

Departments

A brief interview with the founder of Project Interfaith 
Reflections of the Revised Common Lectionary, Cycle B

Web Extra

An interactive infographic exploring various aspects of gun violence and gun laws
A video depicting the church
Videos of people of several religious backgrounds expressing their faith. 
A Sojourners exclusive audio reading from "Year of the Flood"
A timeline on the church concerning the LGBT community