The Common Good
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This is not a time that many of us are feeling a great deal of hope. In fact, many events this year feel like they have sucked the hope right out of us. And yet, even in the midst of terrible events and stories, the possibilities of hope still exist depending on what we decide to do for reasons of faith and conscience.

Blurred Christmas scene, Meaw story / Shutterstock.com

I long to see through a glass darkly, to see just an outline of God in a fog, because I fear the crisp and clean images of God are mere illusions. When God is definitively contained in creeds and doctrines, we have concluded the search. Then what? I want to keep searching.

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Start replacing idea of “people” with “individuals made in the image of God.” Saying “I can’t stand those people!” has a different meaning when we declare “I can’t stand individuals made in the image of God.”

Man preaching at the Chinatown metro station in Washington, D.C., photo by Jeff

It may sound ungenerous of me to say I don’t “buy” stories of person-to-person conversion. But to me, the idea of personally amassing convert conquests and saving souls as an individual smacks of, for lack of a better word, humanism: that is, a focus on what man can achieve and accomplish. Basically, what I’m saying is: You didn’t build that.

by Jim Wallis & Sandi Villarreal 

Failure to recognize the sins of power and domination that influence the acts of violence against half of God’s creatures is simply bad theology.

Nov. 24 vigil in Toronto, Canada. Nisarg Lakhmani / Shutterstock.com

It’s critically important that the church declare injustice to the world. And there is undoubtedly a profound power to the people of God declaring, like the psalmists, hope in lament. But the church also fails in its mission if its action is praised as acceptable by systems that preserve injustice.

On The Blog

  • I want to talk about Joseph’s two decisions. I want to talk about angels. I want to talk about dreams. And I want to talk about how we might today dream that God is with us (Emmanuel).
  • Sojourners’ Just Giving Guide has detailed a variety of ways to shop in a socially-conscious manner. We’ve gone one step further and highlighted some unique purchases from organizations that directly impact the lives of women and girls internationally and domestically.
  • Whether it is described in the vocabulary of religion or more "secular" terms, violence — and in the case of torture, shockingly inhumane violence — is described as a necessary means for bringing about the good. This logic is at the heart of all religious violence, and it is a view that is alive and well today.
  • We’ve left out all the messy parts. The oh-my-God-what-now parts. The I’m-screaming-as-loud-as-I-can-because-it-really-hurts parts. The oh-no-I’ve-stepped-in-the-animal-droppings parts. The real parts. And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
  • For Christians in Iraq, a foundational creed of the faith is facing a sticking point. The creed is itself a challenge to human nature — “But I say to you, love your enemies; bless those who curse you; do good to those who hate you; pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
  • This year many of us will experience Christmas not as the shepherds, but as the wise men. If we have the courage to peer through the darkness, we’ll see love as a twinkle in the distant sky. We’ll pack up life-as-usual, and pursue it.
  • “When politicians wanted to use the religious fibers to divide the people, whether to maintain power or to conquer it, we stood up as if we were a single man to say ‘non’ to this war and ‘yes’ to peace.”

In The Magazine

Featured Blog Series

In this new series, we explore the ongoing conversation within the church over LGBT identities, affirmation, and inclusion. As the push for equality expands, how are communities of faith participating and responding — and is it enough?