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In 1984, members of the Sojourners community founded a community center in southern Columbia Heights, an impoverished neighborhood in inner-city Washington, D.C. Over the years, community members worked with others in the neighborhood to secure tenants' rights, tutor children, distribute emergency food to hundreds of families, and serve as advocates and partners with their neighbors.
In the '80s, Columbia Heights had the dreadful distinction of hosting the highest concentration of murders in the city -- at a time when D.C. was the "murder capital" of the country. The neighborhood (where Sojourners magazine is still located) has changed much in the intervening years, but some things remain the same. Decades of gradual-then-rapid gentrification in the area haven't eliminated the violence that still roams the streets.
Long time community member, neighborhood resident, and Sojourners magazine associate editor Rose Marie Berger tells the tragic story of Donte Manning, a 9-year-old boy gunned down in Columbia Heights on Holy Thursday in 2005, in her new book Who Killed Donte Manning? Berger reads Donte's story as parable and metaphor for the state of our neighborhoods and our nation.
What does such apparently random violence tell us about the nature of God? The Bible -- particularly the Old Testament -- is filled with stories that make contemporary urban atrocities pale in comparison. And yet, as Brian McLaren explains, violence is only part of the biblical picture; the central motif is one of compassionate and unconditional love -- culminating in the ultimate rejection of violence: the cross. In Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, we find not only the antidote to the perpetrators of violence in our world, but the clearest and deepest exemplar of the true heart of God.
Is God Violent?
What does the violence in the Bible tell us about the nature of God?
By Brian McLaren
Apocalypse (Then and) Now
A Bible study on the book of Daniel and empire.
By Anathea Portier-Young
Who Killed Donte Manning?
A 9-year-old's murder tells us much about his neighborhood -- and about America.
By Rose Marie Berger
Armed with Burning Patience
The diary of an undocumented student.
Make or Break Time
Financial regulatory reform will work -- or fail -- depending on the rules written this year.
By Elizabeth Palmberg
What Sudan Needs Now
The world, and the world church, must stand with Sudan at this crucial time.
By Rev. Sam Kobia and Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul
Planning for Peace
In the Middle East, people step in where governments fail.
By Ryan Rodrick Beiler
Community's Messy Grace
The Gifts of the Small Church by Jason Byassee. Abingdon Press.
Reviewed by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Hearts & Minds: Lessons from the Midterm Elections
By Jim Wallis
Deep Economy: Time to Take It to the Streets
By Bill McKibben
Godstuff: Kennedy and Obama: The Faith Question
By Cathleen Falsani
The Hungry Spirit: Out of the Mouths of Asses ...
By Rose Marie Berger
H'rumphs: A Giant Flushing Sound...
By Ed Spivey Jr.
Truth and Storytelling
By Gareth Higgens
Along the Fault Line
Poet and journalist Eliza Griswold tells stories from the 10th parallel, where Isam and Christianity meet.
Interview by Richard Vernon
New and Noteworthy
Reviewed by Julie Polter
Bringing Democracy Back to Life
Blessed Are the Organized, by Jeffrey Stout. Princeton University Press.
Reviewed by Lauren F. Winner
The makers of the film Earth Made of Glass on finding truth after genocide.
Interview by Becky Garrison
Wanted: Presidential Backbone
By Danny Duncan Collum
Poetry: My Imperfect Caligraphy
By Rob Soley
Taking Sin Seriously |
Countering Stereotypes |
Distorted 'Activism' |
Prioritizing The Sabbath |
The Worst Place to be a Woman |
Living the Word: Walking With the Light of the World
By Walter Brueggemann