oppression

Jim Wallis 09-15-2011

Sojourners has always tried to understand and advocate for "biblical politics." But what does that mean now, especially as we approach another major election?

I was talking the other day to a Christian leader who has given his life to working with the poor. His approach is very grassroots -- he lives in a poor, virtually all-minority community and provides basic services for low-income people. He said, "If you work with and for the poor, you inevitably run into injustice." In other words, poverty isn't caused by accident. There are unjust systems and structures that create and perpetuate poverty and human suffering. And service alone is never enough; working to change both the attitudes and institutional arrangements that cause poverty is required.

Gary M. Burge 08-02-2011

I prefer my revolutions to be simple: A corrupt dictator/tyrant, an oppressed population, inspired reformers who risk their lives, calls for democracy, waves of marchers in the streets, background music from Les Misérables. The stories from Tunis and Cairo were epochal. The Arab spring was in full bloom as calls for participatory government could be heard from every corner of the Middle East.

Then there was Syria. The Assad government has been infamous in its intolerance to dissent. It is a military regime whose 30-year leadership under Hafez al-Assad (1930-2000) established it as one of the most severe in the region. In 2,000, after the death of Hafez, the world was intrigued to see his second son -- Bashar al-Assad -- ascend the throne. Bashar was an ophthalmologist who had studied in London, but because of his older brother's death in a car accident in 1994, he was called to follow his father. Bashar speaks English and French fluently and has been as critical of the U.S. as he has been of Israel.

Betsy Shirley 07-19-2011

oh yes I amphoto © 2007 Laura Askelin | more info (via: Wylio)Though I like a rousing round of ave maria's as much as the next person, the past few centuries of church prayer trends have eschewed Latin in favor of the vernacular -- that is, the language of the people. And to the tune of 450 million copies in more than 70 translations (and counting), it's clear that people the world around speak the language of Harry Potter. Or rather, the story of Harry Potter speaks to them.

So as I watched the final Hogwarts Express depart from Platform 9¾ in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II this past weekend (slightly teary-eyed, I confess), I started to wonder: What might it sound like to pray in the language of Harry Potter -- language that clearly resonates with folks around the world? Would it be cheesy? Probably. Profane? Perhaps. But I figured the God who relied on earthly parables about wineskins and fig trees to explain the Kingdom would understand.

Our current practice in the U.S. actually reflects the earlier legal reality of coverture: In the process of the "two becoming one flesh," the wife lost her rights to property, legal representation in court, and even her public identity as her husband became the sole representative for the family. This combination of identities (or, rather, the wife becoming lost in her husband's identity) led to wives taking their husbands' last names. For me, losing my surname would have represented silent assent to this oppressive practice.

Jason Byassee 06-15-2011

When trying to make sense of the changes that new media have brought to us, we can use either supplementary or substitutionary logic. With supplementary logic, Facebook et al. extend the range of our embodied relationships; with substitutionary logic, social media replace them. Those who want to use social media to enhance their churches' outreach implicitly use supplementary logic. Those who want to worship online and don't want to change out of their pajamas or meet other people in their messy particularity ... well, you get the idea.

A recent trip to New York City for a first meeting of the New Media Project Research Fellows reminded me of the superiority of supplementary to substitutionary logic. This happened because the neighborhood around Union Theological Seminary is so deliciously, specifically, embodiedly particular. Union itself is a marvel: its gothic architecture makes it unmistakable that this is a place with history. Niebuhr taught here; Bonhoeffer smoked and worried and decided to go home here; James Cone and Christopher Morse teach here; Serene Jones leads here. The neighborhood extends this particularity; the Jewish Theological Seminary, down Seminary Row, has a glorious crest above its door: "And the bush was not consumed." A tunnel under Union leads you to the grandeur of Riverside Church, where Fosdick and Forbes thundered. Go a few blocks south and east, and you're at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest interior church space in North America. The morning I visited, the light shone blue through the rose window, filling the clerestory with incandescent beauty. The chapel at Columbia University, with its stained glass above the altar depicting St. Paul preaching on Mars Hill, is a perfect image for situated Christian truth vis-à-vis the gods on campuses and in Manhattan.

Aaron Taylor 06-08-2011
I've been a Christian all of my life. My parents taught me that God loves everyone equally and that all people should be treated with dignity and respect.
Aaron Taylor 06-01-2011
I was raised in a charismatic megachurch that prided itself in being "non-religious." Our pastor thought of himself as a grace preacher, and in many ways he was.
Claire Lorentzen 05-06-2011

At Sojourners, we have always been advocates of principled nonviolence. But all too often, conventional wisdom has seen nonviolence as passivity, even in the face of injustice.

Alex Awad 04-05-2011

People can take a certain amount of oppression. However, when it gets beyond their ability to tolerate, they rebel.

Julie Clawson 03-30-2011
When I was in high school as part of my participation in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, I had to write what was called an "extended essay" -- basically an essay of the (then) extreme
Tom Getman 03-04-2011
President Barack Obama's decision to veto the February 18 U.N.
Larisa Friesen Hall 02-18-2011
Agree with her politics or not, Lara Logan is charting territory in which we still see very few women as the chief foreign correspondent at CBS News.
Rose Marie Berger 02-14-2011

Fourteen mountain-top removal protesters -- including author Wendell Berry -- are in their third day of a sit-in/sleep-in at the Kentucky Governor's Office in Frankfort.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow 02-04-2011
Today I want to focus on the people of Egypt -- those million or more who have gathered in Tahrir Square, both as a united, insistent, revolutionary body, and as individuals -- professors and bake
Ryan Beiler 01-07-2011

Last Friday, at a protest against the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank town of Bil'in, Palestinian nonviolent activist Jawaher Abu Rahmah was killed by http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fmondoweiss.net%2F2011%2F01%2Fde...

Jerica Arents 01-04-2011
"Tell them to come and see who we are." Almost every Afghan we met said that. Tell them to come and see.
Lisa Sharon Harper 12-14-2010
Last week I sat at a breakfast table with prominent New York City faith leaders. The topic of the morning was: "In this post-election moment, what issues are you passionate about?
Julie Clawson 11-26-2010
Recently I walked through downtown Austin in my underwear. Okay, so it was actually men's boxers and an undershirt, but still, technically, underwear.

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