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    Plough Quarterly No. 11: Alien Citizens

    Winter 2017


    Featured Articles

    All Articles

    From the Editor

    Our Alien Citizenship Recent events may give us reason to worry about the future political direction of the Western world. Still, we can’t forget that “Our citizenship is in heaven,” as the apostle Paul writes. What do the politics of the kingdom of heaven look like?


    Alien Citizens The most revolutionary political statement we can make is that Jesus reigns; that God, not nations, rules the world: “All political, all social, all educational, all human problems are solved in a concrete way by the rulership of Christ.” Becoming Flesh and Blood How should the church relate to politics? Eighteen months after Hitler’s rise to power, Arnold spoke about the dangerous politics of the Incarnation to members of his community, whose German branch had already been raided twice by Nazi forces... Finding Utopia The yearning for utopia has immensely impacted history – sometimes for good, often for ill. Is the martyr Thomas More’s vision of a society free of violence and private property nothing more than an ill-founded dream? In Search of a City The church, Scripture teaches, is where God’s politics becomes reality: it’s a city governed by the Sermon on the Mount. But does any such place exist? At the outset of my Christian journey, I was taught to keep politics and religion separate... The Hole in Wendell Berry’s Gospel When I read Berry’s poems and essays, I sense he and I are kindred spirits. But when I consider family tales of shattered relationships, addiction, and mental illness buried under agrarian beauty, I’m troubled by the evils Berry chooses to overlook. I Am My Enemy A naturalized American Christian from Iraq looks through a unique lens at the crises engulfing her home country. The Real Radicals More and more people of Muslim background living in the Middle East are turning to Christ – and risking their lives to do so. Lyle reports some of their stories and writes how his organization, Open Doors, is working to encourage these new converts. ISIS, Stalin, and the Other “S” Word Does “love your enemy” hold true even in the face of ISIS terror and gore? Armstrong examines the context for the rise of the group, looks at the history of past violent regimes, and, ultimately, searches his own heart in the quest for an answer.


    What Is the True Church? A respected early Anabaptist leader writes on the meaning of the body of believers: “Where each member extends assistance equally to the whole body, it is built up and grows. There is peace and unity, and each member takes care of the other...”


    Three Poems A priest, farmer, fisherman, hunter, and Maine Master Guide sees biblical themes reflected in the wildness of Maine’s marshes and woodlands, and beautifully distills these in spare, serene lines.


    The Chess Player Short Story: Old Farmer Dyhema likes playing chess: He always wins, and there is nobody in the village who can play as well as him. But when the Christ Child arrives unexpectedly on Christmas Eve for a game, things don’t go as they always have...


    Can Society Be Christian? In a pluralistic world that views traditional faith with suspicion, what would a Christian society look like? What should Christians hope for their countries? Peters examines books by T. S. Eliot and R. R. Reno in pursuit of answers.

    Editors’ Picks

    Editors’ Picks Issue 11 Plough’s editors share their best reads of recent weeks. This issue (Plough Quarterly No. 11, Winter 2017) they feature a book by Albert J. Raboteau and the film Hacksaw Ridge directed by Mel Gibson.

    Family and Friends

    A Book to Build Community American values yielding to biblical ones and spontaneously occurring forms of community are some of the effects reported by readers of Plough's new title, Called to Community, in Lansing, Michigan and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    Another View

    Up and Down Using a uniquely African medium – cloth and batik – Ugandan artist Lukandwa Dominic captures stunningly complex patterns from the natural world as well as scenes of daily life in his country.


    Readers Respond Issue 11 Read letters to the editor responding to articles that appeared in Plough's Autumn 2016 issue, What Makes Humans Sacred?, as well as comments regarding the magazine in general.


    Building a Communal Church How should Christians live as society grows increasingly hostile to faith? Plough’s Peter Mommsen and New York Times-bestselling author Rod Dreher talk about Donald Trump, religious liberty, American empire, persecution, and Christian community.


    American Stories Frustrated with the world’s focus on what separates us, I set out to explore the common humanity that connects us. Over three years, I drove forty thousand miles across the United States, asking people, “What does peace mean to you?”


    Joe Strummer Joe Strummer’s punk rock spoke bluntly against fascism, racism, brutality, and corruption. His lyrics left listeners feeling: no, we don’t have to submissively take abuse, the future is still to be written, and we can somehow be part of it...

    Featured Authors

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    About This Issue

    We face a year of political turmoil when fear is understandable, even justified. But it is not Christian. We who believe in Jesus must not fear, because we have heard the glad tidings of the arrival of a new political regime: the kingdom of God. We are patriots for a different homeland, living here as alien citizens – as Paul writes, “our citizenship is in heaven.” How should we as alien citizens live and how should we relate to our wider society? This issue of Plough seeks to flesh out a communal vision for the church today.


    About Plough Quarterly

    Plough is an award-winning international magazine of stories, ideas, and culture that appears weekly online and quarterly in print. We also publish a line of books, including literary nonfiction, fiction, and graphic novels. Founded in 1920, Plough asks the big questions: How can we live well together, and what gives life meaning and purpose in a complex world?