Sojourners Magazine came today.
It’s sitting over there on the coffee table and I’m wondering whether to read it.
I’ve been following Sojourners magazine for many years. It began in 1970 when I was in college in Chicago. The mission statement of Sojourners Magazine (SOJO) is “To inspire hope and action by articulating the biblical call to racial and social justice, life and peace and environmental stewardship.” I was a Canadian student trying to find my way in a very volatile time in America when young people around me were protesting the Vietnam War and Chicago was in foment. It was actually kind of exciting for a Canadian who lives under the moniker of being from a “nice” country. I remember looking out my dorm window and seeing military tanks going down LaSalle Street on their way to Lincoln Park where students were protesting during the Democratic National Convention. The founding editor of Sojourners is now a professor at Georgetown University, in DC, and I will admit, he can be radical; but relentlessly seeking to live a godly life in every area.
Politics was HUGE, but, unlike today, lots of conversation went on across the political divide. Civil discourse was welcomed and opinions debated. We went to coffee houses back then in the city, where people were invited to give their opinions on open mic night. Lively and engaging events.
But today, when Sojourners arrived, I wondered if I should read it. I wondered if I should just pitch it. Will it just put another sliver of a wedge between me and some of my dear friends in my faith community – not just the ones here in my local body of Christ, but friends all over the country.
Finally, I asked my husband how to handle my inner turmoil. Was living with so much political angst not good for my soul? Should it really matter that much? How do I do a good job of loving my friends on other sides of the political divide?
As usual, Mark had a wise answer: “Sure, read Sojourners. But read First Things as well. Read them side by side.” First Things, is a conservative religious journal, founded by Richard John Newhaus, that is “aimed at advancing a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.” Neither magazine is perfect, but they speak from different perspectives. Maybe for you it will be two different magazines, or TV channels, or radio programs in your car. Listening to thoughtful believers from both sides should help me grow.
I feel good about that. Jesus didn’t back down from controversy and debate. Even those with whom he disagreed, knew he loved them and knew they were “seen.” That sounds pretty good to me.
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