On Prophetic Vision: Letter from a New Managing Editor

Managing Editor Henry Stone
(PC: Ilana Urman)

Dear Reader,

Whenever a new editor comes to a journal, there are inevitable questions regarding the continuity of purpose and mission.  So, let me introduce myself.

My name is Henry.  I am a church and university child, born of a pastor and a professor.  From a young age, I was taught that faith and doubt are not alternatives, but complements.  Faith and a questioning mind drive each other to free difficult and uncomfortable truths from the assumptions that bind them.

At the University of Chicago, I studied Economics (B.A. 2015) and Public Policy (M.P.P. 2017). I sought to identify and question the assumptions made in models of human behavior, hoping to discover better ways to help the people cast to the margins of society. Firmly rooted hierarchies, personal biases, and interest-driven conflicts make this a disheartening task; these parasitic ideas invade every aspect of our economic and social policy from healthcare to education access to criminal justice—all of which are systemically flawed.


Faith and doubt are not alternatives, but complements.
Faith and a questioning mind drive each other to free difficult
uncomfortable truths from the assumptions that bind them.

The disease of the system is rooted in the realm of ideas, so to me it feels natural to use a faith lens to engage with world issues.  After all, efforts to change any deep dysfunction will fail unless we examine and expose, together, the underlying assumptions on which the dysfunction is based. In service to this mission, I feel called to the work of the Church.

This is not to say that the Church (or we its members) are immune to the malaise of societal indifference; far from it! Jesus calls us to abandon hierarchy in favor of love, but we often allow ourselves to be bound by our aversion to change, and use Christianity as a tribal identifier in nationalistic self-congratulation.  Avoiding this tendency is the first step on our own “road to Damascus”; that is, to a prophetic vision of a less divided future.

A vision of a less divided future

When we use the word “prophetic” in mainline Christianity, we do not mean the kind of “crystal ball fortune-telling” that appears in Harry Potter (and is of questionable veracity even in that context!)  Instead, we are inspired by the prophets Elijah, Isaiah, and their successors: social critics who challenged the human Powers That Be with the moral authority of truth.  In this context, I understand Unbound as a collective prophetic voice—a voice that breaks the chains of habit and indifference in favor of an aware, engaged, radical love.


 Lasting change can only be made collectively;
that means building bridges instead of building walls.

Lasting change can only be made collectively; that means building bridges instead of building walls.  In the words of inaugural Managing Editor Patrick D. Heery, “It has to be all of us, or none of us. [1]” Building this coalition of socially engaged people necessarily means seeking diverse perspectives, in order to get us closer to a complete truth.  But, as my predecessor Ginna Bairby writes, “the burden of truth-telling cannot always fall to people of color” (emphasis added).  The same principle applies in the contexts of gender discrimination, economic oppression, and religious conflict, etc.  Listening is crucial; it is also not enough. The limitations of our own moral resources—or of mine—will never excuse a purely passive engagement in these issues.  I hope that you will choose to join me in writing challenging truths to power, in questioning our shared or differing assumptions, and in building a society that is a little closer to God and to each other.

The language of faith is not limited in its vocabulary, its denomination, or its subject matter; it translates into every aspect of personal and interpersonal life. That is why I am so eager to embark on this collaborative journey for Justice Unbound. Together we can challenge ourselves to stretch beyond the limitations of what is, in search of what may yet be.

If you have read Unbound in the past, you have had to wait a long time for this issue.  You have my great thanks for your patience and your support.

If you are coming here for the first time: Welcome!  No matter your background, beliefs, or self-identity, this journal and its mission of belong to you, too.

I invite you to share in the critical dialogue that seeks justice unbound.

Peace, friends.
Henry Koenig Stone

[1] Heery, Patrick David. “Binding Wounds and Unbinding Chains.” Unbound. Aug 19, 2011. https://justiceunbound.org/unbound-blogs/binding-wounds-unbinding-chains/binding-wounds-and-unbinding-chains/

[2] Bairby, Ginna. “I Am Racist and so is the Church”. Unbound. Feb 18, 2016. https://justiceunbound.org/carousel/i-am-racist-and-so-is-the-church/


AUTHOR BIO:  Henry Koenig Stone serves in Louisville, KY as current Managing Editor of Unbound and Associate for Young Adult Social Witness.  Originally from Rochester, NY, Henry comes from a long line of pastors and professors.  His family has practiced an equally long critical tradition of having “roast preacher” for Sunday lunch. Henry holds a B.A. in Economics (2015) from the University of Chicago and an MPP (2017) from UChicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.  His past work has focused on policy analyses of healthcare pilot programs and public health systems.  A baritone, Henry is a fan of both sacred and irreverent vocal traditions. His favorite place on earth is Dunkirk Camp & Conference Center, where he has been a summer camp counselor for many years.

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