This Month's Cover

Sojourners Magazine: July 2014

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MICHELLE ALEXANDER’S The New Jim Crow, published in 2010, changed the way Americans understand racialized incarceration in the U.S. If W.E.B. DuBois made clear that the “color line” was the issue of the 20th century, then Alexander is teaching us that mass incarceration is the color line’s insidious 21st century version. Growing awareness, however, is leading to changed policies and restored lives for thousands. In this issue, Alexander lays out the challenges she sees ahead.

To succeed, justice movements such as the one Alexander describes must be based in deep-rooted ethical and theological principles, such as those that make up Catholic social teaching. In the decades since the 1891 encyclical “On the Condition of Labor,” this body of doctrine relating to the church and the world provides insights into specific issues that Christians face today. Tom Allio, a longtime social action director in Ohio, reviews the principles of Catholic social teaching and the ways that Pope Francis has renewed them.

Franciscan Brother Robert Lentz, a classically trained iconographer, has spent many years in a studio in suburban Maryland painting his prayers. We think you’ll recognize his art, even if you didn’t know his name. In these pages you’ll find a peek into his studio as well as the story of the spiritual journey that informs his artistic vocation.

Finally, we look at the creative work being done by four young activists in the country’s heartland, who model how to be rooted and engaged in the places where we live, wherever that may be.

Cover Story

sakhorn / Shutterstock
Public attitudes about mass incarceration are changing. But it will take a much deeper transformation to overturn this 21st century caste system.


From Orange City, Iowa, to York, Nebraska, and across the Midwest, young organizers are cultivating hope in rural places.
softdelusion66 /
Pope Francis is bringing renewed attention to Catholic social teaching—and not only for Catholics.
A testament of irrational faith and quiet, gracious miracles
You may not recognize Robert Lentz's name, but you probably know the work of his hands.
Three steps for building a transformative movement for justice


Can a vote outlaw equal protection under the law? The Court seems to think so.
The term "anti-Semitism" hides an ugly history of racialized animus.
When the economic floor drops for everyone, it drops even lower for women.


A lot of problems stem from people lacking the courage to follow their moral core.
I wish I could end the war ravaging your country.
In everything he did, Glen sought to bring Christian ethics to public life.
...And they're using it for themselves.

Culture Watch

"From the Psalms to the Cloud: Connecting to the Digital Age," Pilgrim Press
"The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World," HarperOne
"Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart," IVP Books
Four July 2014 culture recommendations from our editors
A conversation with writer and performer Daniel Beaty
At film festivals, because we're all living together for a few days, people let their guard down.
"See," we tell ourselves, "we were so good once. How bad could we really be?"


Katerina Friesen, a seminary student, knows the labor of love of land-based ministry.
Letter to the Editors
Reflections from the Common Lectionary, Cycle A
Letter to the Editors

Web Extra

Daneil Beaty performs “Knock Knock,” a powerful poem that tells the story of his father’s incarceration.
Catholic social teaching's influence on various organizations.