Letter

Sin of Pride

In “God’s Two Books” (February 2010), Joel Hunter says: “Remind me again: Why are we afraid of the facts of evolution, instead of drawn to the picture God paints with them?” A clue to the answer can be found in Genesis 3:5, when the serpent tells Eve, “you will not die, for God knows that when you eat of [the forbidden fruit] you will be like God.” That is the temptation: We can’t stand our status as creatures, and we want to be like God. We are afraid of our close connection with the rest of the natural order because it is an affront to our pride. Stridently insisting that the opening chapters of Genesis represent history rather than theological reflection has a lot more to do with elevating the status of humans than with honoring the sanctity of God.

Rev. Frank J. Corbishley
Coral Gables, Florida

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Sojourners Magazine June 2010
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The Cure for Greed

“Time to Move Your Money?” combines a pastoral heart with prophetic passion. There is always a tendency for us preacher types to rise up in righteous indignation at that which we identify as sin. That is a dimension of our calling, but it bypasses the core problem and remedy.

The cure for sin is confession and absolution. The cure for unfettered greed in the public arena is government regulation. As Wallis points out, “members of faith communities around the country are helping to push for this sort of reform.” We’ve been asleep at the wheel, but it is never too late to act!
Rev. Bernard Kern
North Richland Hills, Texas

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Sojourners Magazine June 2010
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Dating Ourselves

We at Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger are honored to be included in Jo Ellen Green Kaiser’s “Do What Is Just” (February 2010), but the article is incorrect about our founding date. Mazon was founded in 1985, not 1960, on the basis of an article by Leonard Fein in Moment magazine, during a time of major famine in Ethiopia and lavish celebrations within the Jewish community. Echoing the rabbinic tradition of setting aside “the corners of our fields” to feed the hungry, Fein advocated donating 3 percent of the cost of lifecycle events. Over the last 25 years, Mazon has granted more than $50 million to prevent and alleviate hunger among people of all faiths.

Edward Yerke-Robins
Los Angeles, California

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Sojourners Magazine April 2010
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Take a Risk

Sojourners has great articles, and advocates for people whom no one else will advocate for. But I will not be renewing my subscription. In the magazine, e-mail, and blogs, never, never, do I see any advocacy for gays/lesbians/bisexuals/transgendered people.

For me, this leaves people out of the love of Christ who desperately need that love. For me, it appears that you have chosen the lesser of two evils in order to sell magazines and gather support for other causes.

Queers suffer immensely, and they suffer at the hands of Christians; you support that suffering by not speaking out. I invite you to join us in our fight, and to join us in our suffering—to take a risk in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

Brother River Damien Sims, SFW
San Francisco, California

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Sojourners Magazine April 2010
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Open the Discussion

Thank you for printing the eloquent letter from Nancy Cannon in the February 2010 issue. We understand that setting priorities is difficult for an organization like Sojourners, and that you are striving to bring religious and spiritual people together for the common good. However, the rights of gays, lesbians, transgender individuals, and bisexuals are for the most part ignored; many of our friends and family members who are not heterosexual are left out of the Sojourners agenda.

We are Episcopalians who have intentionally, prayerfully taken a stand for equal rights for all. Although we don’t expect all denominations to do the same, we do believe it’s time for some open discussion. What better forum than Sojourners?
Maxine Sitts and Tom Breckenridge
San Leandro, California

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Sojourners Magazine April 2010
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Building Bridges

I was deeply saddened to learn in Eboo Patel’s coumn “Bridges: Beyond Barrier, Bubble, or Bomb” (January 2010) of April’s experience in a student group at Carleton 11 years ago.

At Carleton, we have had a very strong interfaith dialogue group for at least two decades, bringing together students for meaningful discussions every two weeks. It was in this group that April first got to know Muslims. More recently, students have also founded an interfaith social action group. Still, isolationist or antagonistic groups can continue to exist on this open campus.

How do we continue to develop the “bridge” perspective and actions for ourselves, while also learning better how to interact with people within our tradition who disagree with us? Given more time, how could April have reached out to the student group? Perhaps this is a question not just for religious people, but for all of us: to learn to see the humanity of people with whom we may profoundly disagree.

Carolyn Fure-Slocum
Carleton College Chaplain
Northfield, Minnesota

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Sojourners Magazine April 2010
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Well Versed?

I look forward to each issue of Sojourners, but I must admit dismay when I started to read the articles by James Jones (“Priests in God’s Garden”) and Ched Myers (“Pay Attention to the Birds”) in the December issue. The articles were rife with allusions to Bible verses by numbers rather than by words.

I teach English literature. What would happen if I tried to discuss a Shakespeare play by saying, “Notice the nature imagery in Act I, scene 3; Act II, scene 6; Act III, scene 7”? Eyes would glaze over. Jesus was a master storyteller. Please emulate him in Sojourners.
Isabel B. Stanley
Johnson City, Tennessee

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Sojourners Magazine March 2010
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Go Gradual

In “Offensive Medicine” (January 2010), Ed Spivey Jr. suggests that President Obama’s next book will be titled The Audacity of Gradual Change. But this humorous suggestion may also be prophetic. In our polarized political culture, it takes courage and hopeful grittiness to keep working for change over time. William Wilberforce proved the effectiveness of gradual change when he spent decades building support for abolishing the slave trade. I hope President Obama follows his example.

Bob Anderson
Newtown, Pennsylvania

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Sojourners Magazine March 2010
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Not by Might

I was glad to read the review of the United Farm Workers story (“Becoming David,” by Kevin Lum, December 2009), but I was dismayed that nothing was said of the deepest, clearest source for David’s success or that of César Chávez. Young David rejected armor (the normal way to gear up), which the review seems to concentrate on; David trusted in the name of Yahweh.

It was the same with Chávez. His marching under the image of Our Lady Of Guadalupe was the root of the UFW’s success; his faith, his deep sense of divine help through Mary, lifted the UFW above ordinary organizing efforts. Recall Mary’s words, “my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord ... He has filled the starving with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”
Jack Morris
(via Internet)

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Sojourners Magazine March 2010
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Getting Real

Bravo for finally addressing climate change head-on (December 2009). In the end, the images (such as your cover!) and the data behind them are not “scare tactics”; they are the reality we are facing, as Bill McKibben (“Why Copenhagen Matters”) makes abundantly clear.

I wonder if “perfect love casts out fear” (the title of the article by Janet L. Parker) when the floodwaters are lapping at the foot of your child’s bed or the last source of water for your one remaining cow dries to a trickle. As comfortable perpetrators of global warming, we need to be mindful of platitudes. Tables need to be overturned in the name of Ched Myers' “Sabbath economics” (“Pay Attention to the Birds”). We need to reduce our carbon footprint with every choice we make.

Katharine M. Preston
Essex, New York

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Sojourners Magazine March 2010
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