Sojourners Magazine: May 2012
“I’m gonna sit at the welcome table,” goes the old spiritual—but any time we sit down to eat, there are far more guests at the table than the ones we see.
There are the farm workers, many of them immigrants, who did the hard work of harvesting the food before us. As Sojourners’ immigration fellow Ivone Guillen writes, even as the U.S. literally feeds off immigrants’ cheap labor, it denies far too many of them legal status to do the work in which they take pride, or to live united with their families. Also at the table with us, as Mississippian Danny Duncan Collum explores, are the social heritage and health of our communities. The American South’s generations-long history of manual labor and rich-poor division produced a culinary culture which, in today’s sedentary world, has turned into a disaster writ very large on people’s bodies. Collum explores how many people—for example, Rev. Michael O. Minor, the Mississippi Baptist pastor who banned fried chicken from his church’s picnics—are finding that eating isn’t just an individual activity: It takes both a community and a moral vision to move toward a healthier table. Ellen Davis paints an even bigger picture in her rich reading of God as a farmer in Psalm 65, which means we are called not just to thank God for our daily bread but also to imitate God’s work of caring for creation.
In this issue we’re also delighted to welcome Sojourners writers past and present. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, managing editor from 1976 to 1980, shares insights from his recent visit to Cuba, while cover feature author Duncan Collum is a former associate editor and longtime writer of our “Eyes & Ears” column. Former interns Richard Vernon and Betsy Shirley return to our pages with, respectively, an interview with novelist Nick Harkaway and a profile of Gamaliel director Ana Garcia-Ashley, the first woman of color to head a national community organizing network. We’re glad to invite you to pull up a seat to the community meal!