Sojourners Magazine: June 2014
IN THE LATE 1970s and early ’80s, Denise Giardina became involved with Sojourners while a seminary student, ultimately becoming a member of the community. During that time, she spent the evenings in her room writing what became her first novel, Good King Harry. And despite the intentionality of the community, no one knew she was working on a book until she had finished. It was followed by five more novels and numerous awards.
In this issue, our Culture Watch section features an interview with Giardina, now a teacher of creative writing and Episcopal deacon. She lives in West Virginia, where she was born and where several of her later novels were set. In the interview, she describes the social/political problems of that state, and why she is still committed to change. “My soul is deeply invested in this place,” she says.
We also look at the connection between the 1980s Religious Right and today’s new militant atheism. Randall Balmer points out that religious and secular fundamentalism, despite their different grounding, share some characteristics, as the rise of the first helped lead to the rise of the second. Both have a dualistic view of the world that refuses to accept ambiguities, is marked by intolerance, and resists common ground.
Our cover feature by Julienne Gage tells the hopeful story of a new church-based movement mobilizing to provide foster homes for the 400,000 children who need them. Elsewhere in this issue, environmental scientist Cal DeWitt explains the true significance of the Keystone XL pipeline and the importance of “maintaining Earth as a habitable abode.”
After all, it is our home, and for us there is no foster home possible.