R eflections from the Editor Sticking It to The Man “Sticking It to The Man” is generally understood as performing an act of subversion or disobedience in order to oppose some faceless but powerful entity, such as the government, big business, or the moneyed class. In everyday life, it is often characterized by petty, cowardly acts of entitlement, such as stealing paper clips from one’s employer or using work time to browse the internet. There is something deep within us that revels in rebelling, but I marvel at the smallness we often exhibit in the form—and object—of our rebellions. This is a downright shame, because many things are genuinely worth rebelling against—prejudice, usury, violence, to name a few. Pick any form of oppression, please, and rebel away—with God’s blessing. But how much time do we spend “sticking it” to those versions of The Man, shaking our fists in the face of evil and standing firm in the knowledge that the God of the universe has our back? In this issue we take an up-close look at several of The Man’s most unpleasant manifestations: the gun lobby, the criminal “justice” system, an educational system that fails the kids who need it most. We also witness how God exalts the lowly in order to expose, challenge, and humble those the world exalts. That’s God’s trademark move, of course, but it never ceases to astound me. Our cover feature tells a David and Goliath tale of faith communities taking a stand against national gun control laws that favor politicians (those in the NRA’s pocket) over people. The evidence is overwhelming—guns regularly and easily get in the wrong hands, leading to more than 100,000 US citizens being maimed or killed every year. Yet many legislators continue to respond to pressure from the cash-rich gun lobby, effectively saying with their votes that money is more important than life, liberty, and human flourishing. This stinks, but it’s not the end of the story, and
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in this feature you’ll learn about gun wield rhetorical weapons, in both the violence victims, such as Jamillah Posey Christian and the Muslim fundamentaland Jim Brady, who have turned their ist camps—than to learn to live in love pain into a platform to speak out against and harmony with our neighbors? This is laws that fail to protect. radical rebellion at its finest! In “Freed to Speak,” the This is the first and the final frontier in the frankly criminal inequities of the rebellion that God invites us to. US court/prison system come into sharp focus as exonThere is one more version of The erated—that is, convicted, proven inno- Man that we all, no matter who we cent, and released—death row prisoners are or what we believe, need to rebel tell hair-raising stories of jury tampering, against, perhaps with more passion and lawyer incompetence, and fabricated rigor than any other—and that is the testimony from bought witnesses. Al- “natural man” that lives within each of though beaten down physically, mentally, us. As Paul wrote in his first letter to the and spiritually, these men have found the Corinthians, “the natural man does not faith and courage to return from death’s receive the things of the Spirit of God, door and testify to the political manipu- for they are foolishness to him” (2:14). lations that go on behind the scenes and Our own sinful nature—so determined lead to such terrible injustices against to strut, to justify, to grasp at power and the poor. While justice would require get its own way—is our biggest obstacle that they be compensated for their pain to living in harmony with God, ourselves, and rewarded with a long luxury cruise, and our human family. This is the first reality fails to conform to that picture, and the final frontier in the rebellion that and they instead donate their time ad- God invites us to, calling us to “throw off vocating for others who have yet to find everything that hinders” (Hebrews 12:1) their voice, a responsibility they take and “cut off and throw away” every part dead seriously. of us that causes us to sin (Matthew In “A Costly Thing to Waste” we 18:8). meet a young man who, in spite of Corporately and individually, let us all the rhetoric about “at-risk” youth commit to “sticking it to” The Man that and how much they drain the system, lurks within all of us. Let us rebel against defied every stereotype and obstacle the rebel within us and follow Jesus— to become a successful banker—only the greatest and most radical rebel-rousto return to the streets in order to er that ever lived—in a rowdy, jubilant help lift other kids out of poverty and protest of all that is unjust in our world. hopelessness. The Man asks, “What’s Are you in? the point of pouring resources into these Kristyn Komarnicki kids who are going to end up in jail is partial to anyway?” UrbanPromise’s Bruce Main children, the sticks it to The Man by asking, and then elderly, sexual acting on, “How can we afford not to abuse victims, educate these kids, who, if not snatched prisoners, from this system of despair, will end up immigrants, opencosting taxpayers millions of dollars in hearted people of court fees, welfare, and damages alone?” And as 9/11 turns 10, we look at all faiths, and all who are in touch Christian/Muslim relations in the US with their own inner frailties. Among and are encouraged to learn of grow- her “everything that hinders, ”she wrestles the most with controlling ing efforts to build bridges between the her temper, refraining from offering two faith communities. What better way to stick it to the terrorists—both those unsought advice, and remembering who use physical violence and those who the Sabbath.