September-October 2012

Cover Story

An advocate for public education argues that trying to make schools "race to the top" while ignoring the role of poverty and school inequality can't bring the systematic change children need.


Four traits of successful public school reform.
Faith for Change seeks to support public education—without crossing the church-state divide.
The Street Psalms community pursues theology from below—and that changes everything about how "missionary" work is done.
Paul Wellstone showed us that politics "by the people, for the people" is actually possible.
How the out-of-control emphasis on high-stakes testing jeopardizes school reform.
Revelations abound when refugees study the Bible's last book.


Faith groups celebrate the Supreme Court's health-care decision—and then get back to work.
A California measure would fight crime—and deficits—by repealing capital punishment.
Just because you can set something on fire doesn't mean you should.


Please Vatican, censor me. I deserve it.
"We've been caught up in conflict and violence for so long." —Congolese pastor
Women still are forced to operate as second-class citizens in the church.
Sometimes I fly through my schedule so fast that I zoom past the craft.
No, that isn’t a typo. Sojourners stood side by side with Focus on the Family to draw attention to the plight of millions who have been caught up in a broken system.

Culture Watch

Ashamed No More: A Pastor's Journey Through Sex Addiction. IVP Books
Solidarity may be all but dead in our politics, but it still lives around the edges of our culture.
My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation —  Half the Sky — Between God & Green: How Evangelicals Are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change — America and Its Guns: A Theological Exposé
Kentucky theater company founder Cathy Rawlings lifts up black culture.
Stanford anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann discusses the social science behind the evangelical relationship with God.
The wonderful thing about Pixar’s Brave is how it negates the historic disempowerment of female fairy tale protagonists.


Regarding Jim Rice’s column “Fairness for Whom?” (June 2012): One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s prophecies fits the effects of today’s right-wing political agenda with uncanny accuracy: “A nation that continues year afte
Reflections on the Common Lectionary, Cycle B
I really appreciated your article about Ada María Isasi-Díaz, “The Mother of Mujerista Theology” (by Rose Marie Berger, July 2012).
About love she was all wrong, / the old capitalist, patron saint / of the self-made rich. How well / she misunderstood the paradox deep / as mothers’ grief:
Reflections on the Common Lectionary, Cycle B
Westboro Baptist Church’s absurd notions of humanity are readily evident, in both word and picture, in Joanie Eppinga’s interview of researcher Rebecca Barrett-Fox (“The Face of Hate,” June 2012).

Web Extra

How not to set fire to everything under the sun.
Take a test to measure your “intelligence.”
Jonathan Kozol, author of Fire in the Ashes, talks about the gripping stories of poor children, the problems of “obsessive testing,” and how to build a school system worthy of a real democracy. An interview by Elaina Ramsey.