Giving Birth While Shackled to a Bed
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
KADIJA CLIFTON LEARNED she was pregnant with her second child while being booked at a Maryland county jail. She had no idea that she was expecting. She was halfway through her pregnancy before she got her first ultrasound. On that day, two armed sheriffs escorted her to the medical facility with her wrists cuffed in front of her belly. A female correctional officer sat in the corner of the room while she was being examined. Clifton felt she had no privacy — “it was invasive and not fun at all.” Clifton, who has been out for several years and is raising her son with her parents’ support, recall ..read more
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Faith and the Authoritarian Playbook
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
In 2012 I was a U.S. State Department officer deployed to Turkey to work with the Syrian opposition. It was an opportunity to support Syrian activists waging a remarkable popular struggle against an authoritarian government that had responded to peaceful protest with bullets and torture. For nearly a year, Syrian Sunnis, Christians, Kurds, Druze, Alawites, and others used demonstrations, sit-ins, resistance music, colorful graffiti, consumer boycotts, and dozens of other nonviolent tactics to challenge the Bashar al-Assad administration. But the nonviolent movement was unable to remain resilie ..read more
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For John Patrick Shanley, It Isn’t Faith if It Isn’t a Leap
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
IN THE LAST nine months, John Patrick Shanley has had three plays on and off Broadway: revivals of “Doubt” and “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea,” and the debut of “Brooklyn Laundry.” While the timing is completely coincidental, the three plays cover much of his career: “Danny” premiered more than 40 years ago, and “Doubt” recently turned 20. Despite the decades between them, these plays share a surprisingly consistent take on faith. Though raised Catholic, today Shanley demurs from identifying with any one religion. In a recent interview he told me, “It’s like when you’re among theists, you get ha ..read more
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New and Noteworthy: ‘Girls State,’ U.S. Food Policy, and More
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
When Girls Govern The documentary Girls State follows a group of dedicated high school girls as they participate in an immersive mock-government program. At a time when civic norms are being eroded, the film is a fascinating, hopeful, and human portrait of American democracy’s future. Apple TV ..read more
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The Persistence of Life’s Mundane Beauties
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
THERE IS SOMETHING outré about summertime sadness. As foliage reaches its lushest form and the sun turns our skin dewy, nature summons its full potential to evoke enchantment. And yet, we often find ourselves standing obstinate in the face of God’s good favor. Such is the case for Delphine in Éric Rohmer’s 1986 French drama, The Green Ray. Newly separated from her fiancé and ditched by a friend she was supposed to vacation with, Delphine (Marie Ri-vière) is suddenly alone in Paris as the city’s leisure class flees for more temperate summer climates. Failed attempts at companionship find her is ..read more
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What Happens When You Imagine Peace?
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
IN PEACEBUILDING AND THE ARTS, practical theologians Theodora Hawksley and Jolyon Mitchellask readers to imagine peace: “It is all too easy to reach for clichés” — doves or peace signs come to mind — or “to think of peace as a sort of absence, a not-happening.” In our violent world, we readily picture conflict and injustice, but not peace or conflict transformation. The arts help us fill this empty space, revealing the true nature of peacebuilding as “an ongoing, dynamic process, a journey that sets human relationships on the road to life.” Through bolstering the moral imagination, the arts re ..read more
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Pruning the Unfruitful Branches of Evangelicalism
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
CHRISTIANITY IN THE U.S. often resembles a politically charged, dysfunctional family tree, its branches twisting and tangling as factions clash. When evangelical Christians leave their branch — or the entire tree — some continue to wrestle with the ideas that shaped their lives. NPR political correspondent Sarah McCammon portrays those wrestlers with care in The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church. “Exvangelical” and “deconstruction” are buzzwords in some corners of Christian internet. The former was coined by Exvangelical podcast host Blake Chastain; McCamm ..read more
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Did Kacey Musgraves Write ‘Cardinal’ for Me?
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
AFTER MY GRANDMA died, I began to pay attention to cardinals. She loved watching birds through her kitchen windows, and the memorial cards at her funeral displayed an illustration of a cardinal. After that, every cardinal I saw felt like a message sent by my grandma from heaven, reminding me that she was looking out for me, and that she wasn’t really gone, not fully. So, when I listened to “Cardinal,” the first track on Kacey Musgraves’ latest album Deeper Well, I felt like Musgraves wrote the song for me. “Cardinal,” she sings, “are you bringing me a message from the other side?” With songs a ..read more
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My Mother Speaks to Me From the Afterlife
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
I was welcomed home by the me I’d always tried to be— more rainbow than thunderclap, no more worry-do-worry-do ..read more
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Scandalous Wealth
Sojourners
by Sojourners
1M ago
IN HIS 2013 book The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality and What We Can Do About It, Timothy Noah notes that the personal income of the top 1 percent in the United States began to increase exponentially beginning in 1979, a peak year in what economists call the “Great Inflation” (1965-1982). While there has always been economic stratification in the U.S., the “great divergence” in American’s incomes began at the end of the 1970s, and the wealth gap has continued to grow. In 2019, people in the top 1 percent of income distribution held more than 33 percent of the total U.S. wealth ..read more
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