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Sojourners Magazine: March 2012

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Vincent Harding  knows what it means to keep on keepin’ on: Both his writing and his personal journey tell a story of perseverance and resilience in the pursuit of justice. Harding, who met Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958 and later published several books on King and the civil rights movement, moved to Atlanta with his wife, Rosemarie, in 1961 to set up the interracial “Mennonite House.” (See Rosemarie’s story of going “back South” in our February 2012 issue.)

For Vincent, the choice of going to Atlanta was a “fundamental decision ... to give ourselves to the struggle for as long as seemed right.” Five decades later, Harding is still giving himself to the struggle, now as head of the Veterans of Hope Project (co-founded with Rosemarie), which focuses on documenting the “transformative histories of ‘long distance runners’ for peace and justice.”

Other articles in this issue highlight the need to be long distance runners in the pursuit of social change. We offer stories of people working for a fair global economy, for compassionate treatment of immigrants, to end mass incarceration, and to reverse the causes of climate change. All of these efforts require the kind of long-term thinking and action that keeps the focus on ultimate goals—and isn’t dissuaded or discouraged by the inevitable ups and downs along the way. As the old civil rights anthem put it, such a movement can only be sustained by the hope that comes as we “keep our eyes on the prize, hold on!”

Cover Story

Many people who were hopeful for change in the wake of Barack Obama's election have become disillusioned by the rancorous politics of the last few years. What does it take to sustain the struggle for justice over the long haul?

Feature

The Bible-inspired movement set the standard -- and the inspiration -- for future campaigns for change.
The Bible speaks of a "year of the Lord's favor" -- the year of Jubilee. We need it now more than ever.
An interview with theologian Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz on solidarity, public life, and the blessings that come when you really listen.
In the wake of last year's Fukushima disaster, German chancellor Angela Merkel announced the country would phase out nuclear power. Churches are at the forefront of Germany's new solar revolution.
A new wave of arrivals makes its mark in America's dairy country.

Commentary

Clergy to Village Voice: It's not okay to help the sex traffickers.
The fight against mass incarceration is joined by an emerging faith-based movement.
The U.N. climate change talks in South Africa were a major disappointment -- but the struggle continues.

Columns

Who knew hideous sea creatures had their own club?
Chris Stedman's "faitheism" doesn't hate God, it loves people.
"Do you invest it in revenge, or do you think creatively?”
The bigger the financial corporation, the quicker your dollar exits your community.
Occupy has already succeeded, its legacy already established: It has changed the conversation.

Culture Watch

The tattooed former meth cook, Zach, is at the heart of the business—the artisan coffee roaster.
Homies and Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America; The Amish; Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit; The Ethical Vision of Clint Eastwood. 
A dispatch from the shrinking middle class.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by James H. Cone.
Muslim cops and football coaches (oh my!) -- the next step in the right wing's efforts to keep Americans in fear.
A perfect time to catch up on the 10 best Blu-ray releases of the past year.
Excerpt from Accidents and Providence by Stacia M. Brown, 2012.

Departments

I was delighted to see the article on forgiveness by Brittany Shoot (“Forgive and Forget?”) in your January 2012 issue. Since she mentioned Archbishop Tutu in her article, I thought your readers would appreciate seeing an original quote from one of his 2007 speeches.
The fact that the February 2012 issue contained three articles about human trafficking (“Humankind’s Most Savage Cruelty,” by Stewart Burns; “Here?” by Abayea Pelt; “Works of Mercy” by Sylvia Yu) is encouraging.
We are the lay of the land— / pocked, hilled, knowing every ember / and seed imprinted on our bones.
Reflections on the Common Lectionary, Cycle B
Harry Potter is no Gandhi.
In “Critical Mass” (January 2012), Karen Sue Smith’s summary of changes in the U.S. Catholic Church since Vatican II, I was dismayed not to see any mention of the profound influence of the sections on peace in “The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.”