Abolition and the Cross: Reimagining Society and Salvation through Restorative Justice

6 mins read

I was recently at a book club facilitated by Abolition Apostles, a Christian abolitionist ministry, where we discussed the book The Fall of the Prison: Biblical Perspectives on Prison Abolition by Lee Griffon. Micah Herskind, a Public Policy Associate at the Southern Center for Human Rights and a Christian abolitionist, led that day’s session and said something that has stayed with me since. He was speaking about retributive justice and its connection to the Christian faith and said, “Do we believe in prisons because we believe in Hell or do we believe in Hell because we believe in prisons.”


Hallowed but not Sacred: An Epiphany of Capitol Violation

9 mins read

Moderate and progressive Christians have always found it hard to take Donald Trump seriously as a false messiah, much less an actual one. In the name of Trump, some 1000 or so extremists invaded and occupied the Senate and House chambers for several hours on January 6, prompting many Republicans and Democrats to refer to those sites as “sacred” spaces that had been desecrated by force and vandalism. For some, democracy may itself be sacred, by which they mean of highest value. The ritual of publicly counting the electoral votes from the states was thus a sworn duty that was


Our Country is in the Midst of Twin Pandemics

6 mins read

Our country is in the midst of twin pandemics. One, the coronavirus pandemic, is dominating headlines. The other is a nationwide spike in gun violence. Gun violence is up in cities across the country. On Independence Day Weekend, violence broke out in cities nationwide, including two shootings in my hometown of Dallas that left one dead and four wounded. That local violence has tragically continued since then. Summer violence is, sadly, an American tradition. Each summer, as the temperature goes up, so do incidents of gun violence. This year, if anything, is worse than usual. In June, murder and shootings


General Editor's Corner

by Chris Iosso, General Editor

CRISIS MINISTRY CAPACITY: Now is the time to build more of it.

“Don’t just do something, stand there.” The first thing to do in a crisis or even disaster is not to panic. This is not “fight, flight, or paralysis,” but steadiness, rooted in the inner security of faith. A national or international crisis is something that it helps to have a


Why Warren should stay in: An Anti-Sexist Case

Warren gave as her core motto at the end of the last debate a reference to Matthew 25, seeking to recognize herself and the divine even in the “least of these.” Whatever the ideological fine points, there she spoke to the egalitarian core of the Democratic soul. While her goal


Out of the tombs

by Lee Catoe, Managing Editor

Scarred Body and Broiled Fish

Brooke Scott, a young, Black leader in the Presbyterian Church USA, in an Instagram Story question, asked, “What does it mean to you that Jesus still had scars after the resurrection?” Flipping through my Instagram stories, I held my finger on this question, and stared at it for about 15mins.


Tearing Down the Bloody Vineyard

In the past year, oh what a year, we have seen so much in such a small amount of time. We have been consumed by a plague and pandemic that has killed our siblings especially are siblings of color and those who are poor. We have seen no justice


Setting the inner compass: A Poetry Column

by Dave Brown


Reading poetry is one of the ways some of us nourish our faith, a way we set or reset our inner compass and stay focused on the big picture, on the spiritual journey. I know that is true for me. This is the first anniversary of ‘Setting the Inner Compass’,



Reading poetry is one of the ways some of us nourish our faith, a way we set or reset our inner compass and stay focused on the big picture, on the spiritual journey. I know that is true for me. In this monthly column, ‘Setting the Inner Compass,’ I share


Justice is a Verb

by David Mills

Presbyterians and the American Civil Rights Movement

The recent, tragic death of George Floyd and the resulting Black Lives Matter protests currently occurring throughout the United States and the world have fanned the flames of a movement that has burned for over sixty-five years. With new names and organizations entering the movement, the fight for civil rights


Publica: Theology in Public Life

by Yenny Delgado

Uncovering Indigenous Identities in the Latin American Community

As a result of a long European colonization process, indigenous people and their descendants in America have been forced to erase their identity, languages, and cultures. This identity struggle to fight for recognition has brought both trauma and pain. Indigenous people have been denied self-identification and self-determination, first under Spanish


Even the stones

by Henry Koenig Stone

Two Reflections on Resurrection

Resurrection in a Broken World Henry Koenig Stone What does resurrection mean in a broken world? Events in this last week have me rethinking the place that resurrection takes in my personal theology. I am far from convinced that the length of a life in any way measures its value.


A Hard Look at Philanthropic Redlining

Simmons College of Kentucky hosted “Philanthropic Redlining: The Illusion of Inclusion Part II” on Feb. 6th as part of The West Louisville Forum: Solutions for Urban America. Philanthropy is a loaded word. To understand why, we need to look back at the history of redlining in American cities. The connection


Former Editor Ginna

by Ginna Bairby

I Am Racist and so is the Church

An Opening Editorial Yes, you read the title right. I am racist, and so is the majority-white denomination I serve, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I’m not particularly happy to admit this about myself or my Church. True, I have never engaged in explicitly hateful actions based on a person’s race


On Serving the ‘Dying’ Church

Institutions, Hospice Nurses, and Midwives This issue of Unbound has been incredibly rich. We’ve heard about ways that the many churches that comprise the Church universal work together to participate in God’s reign – from the halls of power in Washington, DC and the United Nations to small churches in


Bind­ing Wounds, Unbind­ing Chains

by Rev. Patrick David Heery

Calculations of Fear: Which Child Shall We Sacrifice?

The following sermon was preached by Rev. Patrick Heery on November 13, 2013, at the Presbyterian Center’s weekly chapel service. We lift it up this week on Unbound in commemoration of the biblical “Massacre of the Infants,” even as we remember the present-day altars upon which so many of our


‘Unbound’ wins four Associated Church Press awards

Report from Patrick David Heery, contributing editor Religious journalists from all over the country and from Canada gathered together on Thursday evening, April 4, to celebrate their best work. Every year, the Associated Church Press (ACP), the oldest Christian press association in North America, invites its member publications, including such


Redeeming Realism

by Raymond Roberts

Keep the INF Treaty.

On February 1, 2019, the United States withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Signed in 1987 during the Reagan administration, the INF treaty was one of several treaties that dramatically reduced the Soviet and American nuclear arsenals (for a graph showing these remarkable reductions, click here), instituted trust-building


Introductory Column

This is an inaugural column that I hope will become a regular feature in Justice Unbound. I have decided, with good input from Chris Iosso, to call this column Redeeming Realism. The purpose of this column is to engage in theological reflection in support of faithful participation in God’s world.