The July issue of Sojourners includes my feature article on the creation of The Telling Takes Us Home, a new “people’s pastoral” from a group committed lay folks in Appalachia. The letter is a significant step forward in a tradition that goes back to the historic This Land Is Home to Me, signed by every bishop in the region in 1975.
“The letter is possessed of the spirit of Appalachia,” says Jonathan McRay, a Virginia-based activist who was raised in the Christian Church of Christ and now identifies with no particular denomination. “It’s imbued with a gritty and raw quality because it was derived from the voice of the people living there. You can feel that woven into the seams of the whole thing.”
Allen Johnson, co-founder and coordinator of Christians for the Mountains, recognizes “the voices of the disenfranchised” in The Telling Takes Us Home. “It understands that the Good News is likely to come from these people, not from books and degrees. And it is trying to call that forth. Coal is the Pharaoh in Appalachia. The pastoral helps us think about how to stop building his pyramids.”
You’ll find the whole thing here. I’m particularly excited about this because it’s my first publication in a magazine I have long admired, and also because my byline happens to be appearing in this July issue alongside those of two other writers whose work I admire: Charlie Camosy and Karen Swallow Prior.