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.


Between 2003 and 2006, the Pentagon database TALON kept tabs on thousands of “potential threats.”
A new, more civil conversation is emerging with gays and lesbians on evangelical campuses.
Chicago's North Park offers a model for honest conversation.
Resources to help you raise happy and engaged kids.
The goal of social justice parenting is not to produce the "right" kind of child—it is to create an environment in which love flourishes.
Nurturing the life of children, from stage to stage.
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.


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.
What happens when a church tries to recognize the real cost of fossil fuels?


"That's just like my mom, to send me a message through a Jewish woman!"
Remembering Ada María Isasi-Díaz
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.
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.

Culture Watch

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.
A tribute to artist Elizabeth Catlett
God and the Godforsaken — Searching Harmonies — In Shadows and Hope — Bible Culture 101
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.


"There is nothing casual / about casualties of war."
As an enthusiastic new subscriber, I was stung by the article “Death by Individualism,” by Danny Duncan Collum (May 2012). My family abstains from vaccinations, but “selfishness” is certainly not our motivation.
Reflections on the Common Lectionary, Cycle B
I wonder how many more people would be on the Innocence List of inmates wrongfully sentenced to the death (“The Innocence List,” by Kimberly Burge, April 2012) if Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs and people like her were included.
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.
Thank you for your article “Destroying Our Rights to Save Them” (by Dianna Ortiz, April 2012) about indefinite incarceration.

Web Extra

Resources to deepen your understanding of Christianity and homosexuality.