Inside Story

Our lead CultureWatch piece is a profile of writer Anne Lamott, who some would consider, at least on sight, to be an unlikely evangelist. (Then again, when have appearances ever been a reliable guide to people or matters of faith?) This white woman with dreadlocks is passionate about her faith and eager to spread the word, with quirky irreverence, about all that becoming a Christian has meant to her. Coming from a secular background, she doesn't take traditional symbols for granted as she eagerly seeks out other Christians. As she told writer Kimberly Burge, "I notice crosses. I notice you're wearing one, and I always wear one. It's kind of a secret code, not a fashion statement." Also in this issue, we're introducing a new columnist, Chris Rice. Chris lived and worked in Antioch, an interracial Christian community in Jackson, Mississippi, and was co-founder (with Spencer Perkins) of Reconcilers Fellowship. This long-term commitment to racial reconciliation was part of the inspiration for the new column's name, "Grace Matters." It is both a play on the title of Cornel West's book Race Matters and a reminder of the role of grace, whether in the work for justice, the everyday ups and downs of family life, or the healing of broken relationships on both the personal and societal levels. While it will usually be prose, Chris' first column takes the form of a poem dedicated to long-time friend and ministry partner Spencer Perkins, who died on January 27, 1998.

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