This Month's Cover

Sojourners Magazine: March 2013

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JESUS TELLS US that every teacher trained for the reign of God is like the master of a household who brings out of the storeroom what is new and what is old—words to inspire all the many, varied parts of the body of Christ. In our commentary section this month, we're glad to highlight an event organized by one of Sojourners' newest friends, Emerging Voices member Mark Charles. The event was a public reading of something long overdue: an apology passed by Congress for "the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States." That apology, included in a military appropriations bill passed in 2009, went largely unnoticed until Charles, a Navajo organizer and writer, arranged for its reading in Washington, D.C., in December. We look forward to hearing more long-overdue truths, and new approaches to old injustices, from our friends at the Emerging Voices project.

Truth and justice have been two features of New Testament scholar Reta Halteman Finger's writing from her early days at the biblical feminist magazine Daughters of Sarah and her first appearance in our pages in 1981. In her Bible study this month, she points out that 1 Peter's message to immigrants, too often allegorized out of its literal meaning, is deeply relevant today.

Meanwhile, author Ronald Osborn brings a different kind of old/new combination when he sheds fresh light on a much-loved evangelical author: Scottish Christian-convert Oswald Chambers (1874-1917). Though Chambers' devotional classic My Utmost for His Highest has been continuously in print in the U.S. since 1935, few today realize how modern he was. As Osborn reveals, "Chambers was—by his own confession—spiritual but not religious." Widely read in philosophy and psychology, Chambers even opined that someone who "reads only the Bible does not, as a rule, know it or human life." We hope all your reading this month, in the Bible, in Sojourners, and elsewhere, brings you hidden treasures.

Cover Story

Real interior silence, not just the absence of noise, is a foundational spiritual discipline. So why are we so resistant to enter into it?


If we read 1 Peter's message to immigrants, exiles, and foreigners only as a metaphor, we risk missing the point.
This pledge, which draws on one used by Mahatma Gandhi's independence campaign in India, was used in the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1950s and '60s.
Today many people identify as "spiritual but not religious." Before it was trendy, Oswald Chambers, the man behind My Utmost for His Highest, did too.
Jim Balmer is an antiwar activist whose commitment to nonviolence has made him an advocate for a consistent ethic of life. Interview by Elizabeth Palmberg.


Anti-labor laws undermine unions in the Midwest. Will faith communities rise to the challenge?
A young immigration activist goes behind bars--on purpose--to shed light on Obama's deportation policies.
Abortion rates have dropped, and many people of faith are very interested in the reasons why.


"You shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt."
It's more human to deny the evidence, attack the messengers, and try to delay any response.
Who speaks for God? Must be this guy...
You should expect some side effects.

Culture Watch

Restless Fires: Young John Muir's Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf in 1867-68. Mercer University Press.
Chasing Gideon. The New Press.
The best evidence against Murdoch is the existence of Fox News.
Faith, Doubt, and Other Lines I've Crossed: Walking with the Unknown God. Jericho Books.
The Cry of Tamar: Violence Against Women and the Church's Response. Fortress Press.
We shouldn't really expect the Oscars to grasp the point of history, though this year the films nominated for Best Picture are a fascinating snapshot of what ails—and could heal—us.
Pursuing Justice: The Call to Live & Die for Bigger Things by Ken Wytsma / Girl Rising / Summoned from the Margin: Homecoming of an African by Lamin Sanneh / Old Monk by Mary Lou Kownacki
Leonard Cohen as irreverent master of prayer.
Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda


Reflections on the Common Lectionary, Cycle C
As Jim Wallis pointed out in his January 2013 editorial "It's Time to End the Death Penalty," capital punishment is an affront to a "consistent ethic of life," which is usually understood as extending from
Hemorrhaging from the concertina / crown, brass knuckles, scourging, cigarette burns, / lurching the last meter of Golgotha
Thank you for the January 2013 issue's strong emphasis on abolishing the death penalty ("Who Would Jesus Execute?" interview of Richard Viguerie by Jim Wallis;
I was struck by not only the wisdom but also the timeliness of Rev. James E. Atwood's "9mm Golden Calves" (January 2013). Americans are still reeling from the horror of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings.

Web Extra

The Obama administration is not living up to its promises. Sign a petition to put an end to low-priority deportations.
Be a witness against the bomb--share these graphics!
Modern passages from Oswald Chambers' classic devotional reader My Utmost for His Highest.
An extended interview with addiction-recovery worker Jim Balmer.
Who controls the airwaves?