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Sojourners Magazine: November 2014

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At certain key points in history, often sparked by dramatic and sometimes violent events, oppressed and marginalized people stand up and declare, We’re fed up and we’re not going to take it any more.

Those liberating acts of defiance—which are usually met with brutal attempts at suppression—are often just a moment of protest, an expression of the usually hidden anguish and rage that soon fades back into the daily resentments of injustice.

But sometimes those moments become a movement, one that ignites not only hope but real, lasting change.

Whether the events this summer in Ferguson, Mo., and in the Gaza Strip will be the latter will only be known in retrospect. But in both places, the actions of supposedly powerless people issued a clear declaration: This shall not stand.

The one-sided massacre in Gaza—where almost 250 Palestinian civilians were killed for every Israeli noncombatant—was not a “victory” for anyone committed to a humane, just peace in the region, despite the self-serving declarations of extremists on both sides: the terrorists of Hamas, who fired thousands of rockets at civilian targets in Israel (injuring few but terrorizing many), and the government leaders of Israel, who also attacked civilian targets, despite their not-very-credible claims otherwise (injuring and killing many innocents, including hundreds of children—actions being investigated as possible war crimes).

Making sense of such events requires that we place them in their historical context, and that is exactly what our authors Ryan Herring, Lisa Sharon Harper, and Jonathan Kuttab do in their respective articles on Ferguson and Israel-Palestine. And that can be the beginning of the effort to turn a moment into a movement. 

Cover Story

Why powerful people are working to curtail voting rights in America (for certain people, that is)

Feature

The oldest known redwood in the United States was a sapling during the Babylonian exile: Why trees should be part of Christian core curriculum
A look at three multiracial churches—and how they got that way
Applying Christian principles to the Middle East conflict
Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock
Before it all fell apart earlier this year, and before this summer's carnage in Gaza, the Israeli-Palestine peace process was already fatally flawed. 

Commentary

Was the explosion in Ferguson a moment—or the beginning of a movement? 
Churches—like everybody else—need accountability. 
Economics as if values mattered 
Even after the Ray Rice video, churches are in denial about sexual violence. 

Columns

I eagerly await to see where the "rainbow generation" will take South Africa. 
Where were the bugs? We were supposed to get lots of bugs. 
Many of us are more comfortable on the plateau of rage or the plain of apathy. 
Hunkering down is deeply attractive, but we have work to do first. 

Culture Watch

"Forgive Us," by Mae Elise Cannon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Troy Jackson, and Soong-Chan Rah
Four November 2014 culture recommendations from our editors
"Pilgrimage through Loss: Pathways to Strength and Renewal after the Death of a Child" by Linda Lawrence Hunt, Westminster John Knox Press
Jesus appears on Adult Swim, as he did in Palestine, in a manner both obscure and mysterious.
Who are the people who understand the jargon and create the technology that defines our new digital age? 
The purpose of art is to help us live better. 
"Chef," written and directed by Jon Favreau

Departments

Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary, Cycle A and B
Letter to the Editors

Web Extra

Ryan Herring reads Langston Hughes' "Harlem" as photos of Ferguson are displayed.
A map depicting the lives lost at the hands of police brutality
A list of 5 fictional depictions of Jesus over the past few decades, including Adult Swim's Black Jesus
A video on the way trees and plants communicate.