local church

Pastorgraphs: "The Heart Of A Sojourner"

I shared with many of you last week that I was honored to be selected by Sojourners as one of 50 “Greatest Social Justice Leaders We've Never Heard Of”. Sojourners has invited me to attend their inaugural Summit, “World Change Through Faith and Justice” to be held at Georgetown University in Washington DC next month. I have long been an admirer of Sojourners, a community started in the early 1970s by a group of students at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School whose motto is “Faith in Action for Social Justice”.

Local Church as Radical Witness

STANLEY HAUERWAS’ new book War and the American Difference is not the first volume that he has written on the theme of war, but it’s the first one he’s released post-9/11. Although the Duke Divinity School professor frequently writes on topics of war, peace, and violence, this new volume is perhaps his clearest account to date of the church’s witness in a violent world. Like most of Hauerwas’ previous work, this new collection of essays is not for the faint of heart—or mind. Although the reading gets somewhat dense at times, it is ultimately rewarding, a beacon of Christ’s peace in an age of endless war.

Readers who are familiar with Hauerwas’ work might be tempted to put down the book after the first few essays, which rehash themes that have characterized his work for more than a quarter-century. In these early chapters, Hauerwas explores thorny questions such as the nature of “America’s God” and why war is a “moral necessity” for the United States, peppering his writing with provocative statements such as “America is an extraordinarily wealthy society, determined to remain so even if it requires our domination of the rest of the world.”

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What's Next for the Occupiers?

Sign Seen at Occupy Wall Street in October (Image by Mike Fleshman via flickr)
Sign Seen at Occupy Wall Street in October (Image by Mike Fleshman via flickr)

I was also struck by their refusal to simply announce a set of demands. Occupiers aren’t dumb—they’ve read and heard the many calls from the media and politicians that they simply say what they want. It would be easy enough—but in some sense it would detract from the greatest usefulness of the campaign, which has been to articulate a sense of despair bordering on rage. Because they didn’t quickly say “we want this bill passed,” commentators have had to grapple with the actual message of many Occupiers: Our economy is unfair. It gives too much power to corporations who abuse that power for their own ends. They’ve not just cheated us financially; they’ve cheated us of our democracy.