Conversations Worth Having

Jesus, nonviolence, and justice.

EVERY SUMMER, we pause our magazine work to spend a few days at The Summit for Change, a gathering of faith and justice leaders hosted by Sojourners. Held at historic Gallaudet University, The Summit is Sojourners’ homecoming for old friends and new and also a time to practice two overlooked justice activities: honoring and blessing.

The first group of people we honor at The Summit are elders, leaders who’ve paved the way for us to follow. The elders we’ve honored over the years—including Rep. John Lewis, Marie Dennis, Walter Brueggemann, Ruby Sales, John Perkins—are heroes. We thank them for their pioneering leadership, learn from their wisdom, and ask for their blessing on our own work.

But we also honor new leaders—folks whose names may not be widely known but whose commitment to social justice is unmistakable. We recognize them for their efforts to create a more equitable and peaceful world before we offer our blessing on their work that lies ahead.

In this issue, you’ll find profiles of the five leaders honored as “movement honorees” at The Summit 2018: organizers, pastors, investors, activists, and lawyers, people who’ve found creative ways to counter injustice. Though these honorees have faced extraordinary circumstances, they exemplify the work to which all of us are called: “What I did last summer, and what others did with me, is something that other people can do,” said Brittany Caine-Conley, an honoree who helped organize the counter-demonstration to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., last August. “It’s really about building a relationship and showing up.”

Our cover story grew from a conversation among our editors shortly after Charlottesville: What does Christian nonviolence look like in the context of resurgent neo-Nazis and violent white supremacists? When we posted a question on social media—“Is it okay for a Christian to punch a Nazi?”—the responses, excerpted in these pages, revealed a range of provocative thoughts and opinions on Jesus and nonviolence. We think that’s a conversation worth having.

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