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Detail from Cover of Plough Quarterly Issue 13

Plough Quarterly No. 13: Save Our Souls

Summer 2017

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Cover image for Plough Quarterly Issue 13

About This Issue

How much of your day is spent in reality, and how much in a fake world? We’ve learned that screen time is bad for you, too much media consumption damages your heart, and Facebook can make you mentally ill. We’re aware of the mind-altering power of advertising and the dehumanizing passions of our polarized politics. 

But what are we to do about it? If this fake world is invading our souls, it’s in our souls that we must find the cure. Only a return to inwardness can bring distracted moderns back to Jesus and to constructive work for his kingdom.

Here activists may object: Isn’t it the height of selfishness to retreat into our interior life when we ought to be out saving starving children? Yet Christians through the ages have insisted that inwardness is crucial to the life of discipleship. It’s what keeps us from falling for demagogues and false gospels, from wasting life on superficialities, and from ignoring our neighbor. In fact, throughout history it has often been the mystics who were most active in serving others. In true Plough fashion, this issue brings together a colorful cast of examples: from medieval Beguines and Benedictines to Gerard Manley Hopkins, Simone Weil, and Fannie Lou Hamer, to contemporary voices like Robert Cardinal Sarah, Johann Christoph Arnold, and three persecuted Syrian priests. These lives offer us glimpses of the real world from which our fake world seeks to distract us, and can guide us in our own refusal to conform.