This Month's Cover

Sojourners Magazine: July 2012

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OUR ABILITY, WITH God’s grace, to help each other overcome fear—and all its subtle temptations to put up walls—is front and center in this month’s issue. In “Breaking the Bubble Wrap,” Brian D. McLaren and David M. Csinos explain how parents’ desire to protect their children from the world’s dangers can simply pass fear on to the next generation. Instead of raising too-sheltered children who may grow up with an ethic of fear and scarcity, moms, dads, and other caregivers who take the risk of truly engaging the world along with their children can see them blossom into thoughtful young people unafraid to follow God’s call, including the call to social justice—people such as Sojourners editorial assistant Anne Marie Roderick, who shares about her upbringing in “‘Croon Her to Sleep with Freedom Songs.’”

Fear, whether of the unknown or of losing what one has, is also a part of the territory that Isaac S. Villegas and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove unpack in “Stability vs. Mobility,” and which Eboo Patel traces as he argues that “sacred ground” should be defined by who we let in, not who we keep out. Fear and blame, as Jim Wallis describes in “The Idolatry of Politics,” are the key tools of those striving to foster a political idolatry that crowds out a faithful concern for the least among us. And, as Jeannie Choi reports in “Changes in Attitude,” fear of open discussion about homosexuality is something that evangelical colleges are overcoming as gay and lesbian students and alumni, and their straight peers, engage in frank and honest conversation.

It is not just analysis and discussion but also, as Lynne Hybels describes, shared pain that breaks down walls: West Bank resident Siham Abu Awwad, grieving the loss of her brother and her nonviolent activist mother, finds unexpected healing in the warmth of an also-grieving Israeli woman. The journey away from fear and toward reconciliation is never easy, but with God, and the love manifested through our fellow creatures, all things are possible.

Cover Story

We may be tempted to quarantine our children from the scary world out there—but it's better to nurture an incurable, chronic, and healing passion for justice.


Sidebar to "Changes in Attitude"
Sidebar to "Breaking the Bubble Wrap"
Sidebar to "Breaking the Bubble Wrap"
Is surveillance of churches and peace groups on the rise again?
Should we stay or should we go? Being rooted in one place is a good thing, but faithfulness doesn't end where the road begins.
Sidebar to "Mission Creep"
A new, more civil conversation is emerging with gays and lesbians on evangelical campuses.


What happens when a church tries to recognize the real cost of fossil fuels?
The Bank's new head has community-level anti-poverty expertise—and many challenges to face.
The Vatican attacks on Catholic sisters will sap the church's impact in the world.


If the forces of pluralism don’t write the next chapter in the American story, the forces of prejudice will.
Like Jesus, I'm saving a lot of money on gas.
The lion helped inspire my hope to write a biblical and theological defense of the common good, something that has been almost lost in our age of selfishness.
"That's just like my mom, to send me a message through a Jewish woman!"
Remembering Ada María Isasi-Díaz

Culture Watch

Excerpt from "Song of a Scientist: The Harmony of a God-Soaked Creation," by Calvin B. DeWitt
Author and advice columnist Cheryl Strayed on writing and walking her way out of grief
Microsoft was an extortionist, but Google is a pickpocket.
"The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism," by Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson. Oxford University Press. "Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul," by Gary Weiss. St. Martin's Press.
A tribute to artist Elizabeth Catlett
Three highlights from Full Frame are films that mingle mature cinematic craft with ethical depth.
Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices, by The Welcome Wagon. Asthmatic Kitty Records.
Four July 2012 culture recommendations from our editors


Letter to the Editors
Our June 2012 issue described Rebecca Barrett-Fox, interviewed in “The Face of Hate,” as a former editor of The Journal of Hate Studies; in fact, she is its book review editor, while interviewer Joanie Eppinga is its former editor and current assistant editor. We regret the error.
Reflections on the Common Lectionary, Cycle B

Web Extra

Resources to deepen your understanding of Christianity and homosexuality