Plough Quarterly No. 29 - Beyond Borders

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Can we move beyond borders that divide us without losing our identity?


Over the past decade, the yearning for rootedness, for being part of a story bigger than oneself, has flared up as a cultural force to be reckoned with. There’s much to affirm in this desire to belong to a people. That means pride in all that is admirable in the nation to which we belong – and repentance for its historic sins.


A focus on national identity, of course, can lead to darker places. The new nationalists, who in Western countries often appeal to the memory of a Christian past, applaud when governments fortify borders to keep out people who are fleeing for their lives. (Needless to say, such actions are contrary to the Christian faith.) Is our yearning for roots doomed to lead to a heartless politics of exclusion? Does maintaining group or national identity require borders guarded with lethal violence?


The answer isn’t artificial schemes for universal brotherhood, such as a universal language. Our differences are what make a community human. Might the true ground for community lie deeper even than shared nationality or language? After all, the biblical vision of humankind’s ultimate future has “every tribe and language and people and nation” coming together – beyond all borders but still as themselves.


In this issue:

- Santiago Ramos describes a double homelessness immigrant children experience as outsiders in both countries.

- Ashley Lucas profiles a Black Panther imprisoned for life and looks at the impact on his family.

- Simeon Wiehler helps a museum repatriate a thousand human skulls collected by a colonialist.

- Yaniv Sagee calls Zionism back to its founding vision of a shared society with Palestinians.

- Stephanie Saldaña finds the lost legendary chocolates of Damascus being crafted in Texas.

- Edwidge Danticat says storytelling builds a home that no physical separation can take away.

- Phographer River Claure reimagines Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince as an Aymara fairy tale.

- Ann Thomas tells of liminal experiences while helping families choose a cemetery plot.

- Russell Moore challenges the church to reclaim its integrity and staunch an exodus.


You’ll also find:

- Prize-winning poems by Mhairi Owens, Susan de Sola, and Forester McClatchey

- A profile of Japanese peacemaker Toyohiko Kagawa

- Reviews of Fredrik deBoer’s The Cult of Smart, Anna Neima’s The Utopians, and Amor Towles’s The Lincoln Highway

- Insights on following Jesus from E. Stanley Jones, Barbara Brown Taylor, Teresa of Ávila, Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King Jr., Eberhard Arnold, Leonardo Boff, Meister Eckhart, C. S. Lewis, Hermas, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Plough Quarterly features stories, ideas, and culture for people eager to put their faith into action. Each issue brings you in-depth articles, interviews, poetry, book reviews, and art to help you put Jesus’ message into practice and find common cause with others.

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Plough Publishing House
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