Catherine Woodiwiss 07-05-2016
Iriana Shiyan / Shutterstock

Iriana Shiyan / Shutterstock

IF THE SWELTERING heat were not enough to dampen the midsummer soul, D.C.’s metro system has shut down portions of its train lines for long-overdue repairs, leaving us retreating to our homes—and, if we’re lucky, our porches: the outdoor living rooms of a city.

Summer is a time when lethargy reigns, especially here in the humid semi-South. Unlike in the North, where frigid winter inculcates an obstinate determination to prove that weather won’t hold us back, the South is a respecter of heat. Come August, everything s l o w s d o w n.

There’s no better time for porches than in a humid heat, when sleepy hospitality reigns supreme. Summer is the season for public myth-shaping, when private dreams and tweeted ideologies collide on the street with other humans and the full cacophony of life lived outside. Our systemic ills are most visible in the summer: residents suffering from water shutoffs, police brutality committed and pardoned, an education system that affords some children elite summer camps and denies others a glimpse of the outdoors, the merry-go-round of ads reminding us that “summer” is skin-deep and buyable. So is our hospitality most visible—music drifting from one door to the next, neighbors sharing an extra lemonade.

In earlier decades, houses were designed for life to happen just off the street. So the living rooms of most houses in D.C. are in the front—kitchens, studies, and bathrooms in the back or on another floor altogether. The dream of safe ensconcement away from the unpredictable intrusions of neighbors or vendors is unique to suburbia—in urban design, proximity is power. Front porches, just slightly removed from the chaotic spontaneity of summer streets, are both cachet and a basic necessity—permeable culture containers waiting to capture the overflow.

Bob Smietana 08-04-2014

A unique faith-based training program in Memphis gives new teachers the skills and community they need to survive and thrive.

Melanie Mullen 02-04-2014

City of God: Faith in the Streets. Jericho Books.

Charita Ford 01-31-2014

Does our theology have anything to say to African-American gang girls? It should.

Cathleen Falsani 09-27-2011
September 18 was National Back to Church Sunday. It's OK. I missed it, too.
Jennifer Grant 09-19-2011

218097_19360164080_551149080_224360_2855_nCould my mission really be confined to seeking the best for the children to whom I gave birth? Or, as a Christian, should I define "family" more broadly? I'd see images of women and children suffering around the world, and those puzzling verses returned to my mind. Maybe, instead of obsessing over the happiness of my babies, I should stick my head out of the window, so to speak, look around, and ask, "Who is my family?"

It didn't feel right to simply shrug my shoulders and blithely accept my good fortune as compared to that of people born into extreme poverty. I'd buy my kids their new school clothes and shoes and then think of mothers who did not have the resources to provide their children with even one meal a day. I'd wonder: what's the connection between us? Does the fact that $10 malaria nets in African countries save whole families have anything to do with my family buying a new flat-screen TV? Should it? Is there any connection between me, a suburban, middle class mom, and women around the world?

Jim Wallis 07-29-2011

John Stott died this Wednesday. He was 90 years old. What many people don't understand is that he was the most influential 20th-century evangelical leader in the world, with the exception of Billy Graham. Stott became the Anglican rector of All Souls Church in downtown London at the age of 29 in 1950, and he stayed there for his entire ministry. But from his parish at Langham Place in the city's West End, and right across from BBC headquarters, John Stott spoke to the world with 50 books that sold 8 million copies. He also traveled the globe , speaking, teaching, convening, mentoring, and bird watching -- a personal passion.

Perhaps the most telling thing about this man is all the personal stories about "Uncle John" that the world is now hearing, from many Christian leaders around the world who were profoundly influenced, encouraged, and supported by John Stott. And secondly, how such a giant in the Christian world remained so humble, as testified to by those who knew him who say how "Christ-like" he was.

Here is part two of my thoughts on the financial situation that the United States faces. Our nation needs a jobs bill. The country needs a second stimulus bill.
Troy Jackson 04-11-2011
Ten years ago, Timothy Thomas died from a gunshot fired by a police officer in Over-the-Rhine -- a neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Efrem Smith 11-10-2010
As we continue to live within the ever-increasing multi-ethnic and multicultural reality, it is more and more obvious that the "black and white" matrix of the American Christian church is outdated.
Rose Marie Berger 10-28-2010
In the November issue of Sojourners, Rose Marie Berger reviews seve
Brian McLaren 09-08-2010

A lot of contemporary movies picture American suburban life as banal, hypocritical, and morally bankrupt -- a deceitful place where manicured landscapes and plastic surgery cover up empty, desperate realities.

Yvette Schock 08-10-2010

[Editor's Note: This week we will have a series of reviews on films with a focus on immigration. Check back each day for a new film review, and visit www.faithandimmigration.org for more information]

Leroy Barber 07-06-2010
We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.
Efrem Smith 05-19-2010
I watched the Glenn Beck show on Fox News yesterday. His topic was how churches that are using the term, "social justice" are misinterpreting scripture in order to spread Marxism.
Chris Butler 04-27-2010
As an urban minister and a political professional, there have been two big news stories that I have followed with some level interest recently.
Andrew Wilkes 04-16-2010
This semester at Princeton Seminary, I am taking a course on War and Christian Conscience.
Burns Strider 04-09-2010
The unfolding coal mine disaster in West Virginia has me constantly checking the news for updates on the plight of our fellow Americans who are victims of this latest tragedy.