Inside Story

When it comes to faith, politics, and culture (three of our favorite topics here at Sojourners), the public discussion too often seems to shrink down big ideas and complex life to simple, narrow dichotomies: Yes or no. Blue or red. Pro-this or pro-that (anti-that or anti-this). Smut on the airwaves or rampant censorship. Guns or butter. Our God or no God.

Our choices are then supposed to line up neatly with one another, dividing us into two camps, Us and Them.

But life, for worse and usually better, isn't like that. Whether or not our political discourse or cultural institutions always reflect it, people are complex, our beliefs are complex, our hopes and dreams are complex. Simplistic extremes don't define most of us - and that doesn't mean that we're wishy-washy or undecided. Rather, it usually indicates that our deepest commitments and strongest passions don't come in prepackaged, pre-labeled, off-the-shelf sets.

In our cover feature, Washington Post columnist Donna Britt writes about the frustrations felt by herself and others who are often horrified by the sex and violence pervading our culture, who are devout in their faith, but who don't support the Republican agenda or always feel welcome or heard in the Democratic party. She makes an eloquent case for faith and values taking their proper place in both parties - not as tools to win elections, but as needed resources in a coarse and messed-up world. Also in this issue, Stacia Brown interviews seven people who were raised in conservative evangelical churches about the varied ways those experiences have shaped and influenced their lives.

Whether you prefer red, blue, purple, or blue with red stripes, we're glad you're here.

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