The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

What Would Jonathan Edwards Say About Twitter?

As I play with my young son, walk to the grocery store, or wait for a subway, I feel the presence of emails I haven't answered, Facebook invites I haven't responded to, tweets I haven't sent.
+Continue Reading

Friday Links Round Up: Japan. Pastors. Surfing.

Japan. Pastors. Surfing. Here's a little round up of links from around the Web you may have missed this month:
+Continue Reading

What Do People of Faith Have To Say About Torture?

In 1998, when former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan announced June 26 as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, he stated, "This is a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. This is an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable."

Earlier this month, The National Religious Campaign Against Torture, one of the founders of Torture Awareness Month, as discussed in Robin Kirk's July 2011 Sojourners article, released a video of interreligious leaders speaking against torture, as well as faith-based study guides that frame opposition to torture. Sojourners also asked Robin Kirk, executive director of the Duke Human Rights Center, to write "The Body in Pain: What do people of faith have to say about torture?" for our July issue.

+Continue Reading

Wanted: 1,000 Pastors For the Poor

We are looking for 1,000 pastors to debunk a myth based on the political assertion that government doesn't have any responsibility to poor people. The myth is that churches and charities alone could take care of the problems of poverty -- especially if we slashed people's taxes. Both this assertion and myth contradict the biblical imperative to hold societies and rulers responsible for how they treat the poor, and ignore the Christian tradition of holding governments accountable to those in need. Faith-based organizations and government have had effective and healthy partnerships, and ultimately, the assertion and myth have more to do with libertarian political ideology, than good theology.

+Continue Reading

Afghanistan Weekly Digest: 80 Percent of Captured 'Taliban' Were Civilians

[Editors' note: As part of Sojourners' campaign to end the war in Afghanistan, we will run a weekly Afghanistan news digest to educate our readers about the latest n
+Continue Reading

Is Revivalist Spirituality Still Relevant Today?

I made my first trip to the Greenbelt Festival in the UK last summer.
+Continue Reading

How To Prepare for Turbulent Times

Change happens in our lives whether we like it or not so we must learn how to mold our lives so that we bend, rather than break, in the midst of change.
+Continue Reading

The Logic of Online Community

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.

+Continue Reading

My Search for the Truth About the Middle East

In 2008, as I heard the increasing public rhetoric of hostility emanating from the Middle East, I found myself wondering what Jesus would say and do if he were here in the flesh today.
+Continue Reading

The Battle of Blair Mountain Redux

Hundreds of miners, activists, students, academics, environmentalists, and other citizens are marching to West Virginia's historic Blair Mountain in an effort to save it from mountaintop removal.
+Continue Reading