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    Plough Quarterly No. 29: Beyond Borders

    Autumn 2021


    Featured Articles

    All Articles

    From the Editor

    On Not Knowing Esperanto Can we move beyond borders without losing our identity?


    Three Kants and a Thousand Skulls In Rwanda, the tales of a young student, an Enlightenment philosopher, and a skull-hunting colonialist intertwine.


    Home Is Not Just a Place With words we build homes no separation can take away. The Quest for Home Immigrants like me live with a double homelessness. That’s not necessarily bad. In Search of Lost Fig Trees A mosaic of fathers and daughters, loss and restoration, chance meetings and Damascene chocolates. Refugee Letters At the height of World War II, three women flee Europe with their community for a pioneer life in South America. How to Run a Cemetery Ann Thomas reflects on her work in a cemetery and meeting people with the same grief and the same faith. Integrity and the Future of the Church Why are so many young people losing faith?


    Poem: “For the Celts” To whom it may concern: leave them their rings— / those sentimental claddaghs pledging love, / friendship and loyalty… Poem: “Wreathmaking” The hard, dark berries, blue as black / snakes are blue, befogged with newness, clench / their pips in scaly tufts of green. Poem: “The Hunger Winter, 1944–5” Time is simple for a tree, it hides / its rings inside, a strange geometry / by which a rise inscribes itself as round.


    Editors’ Picks: The Cult of Smart Anthony M. Barr reviews Fredrik deBoer’s The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice. Editors’ Picks: The Utopians Cameron Coombe reviews Anna Neima’s The Utopians: Six Attempts to Build the Perfect Society. Editors’ Picks: The Lincoln Highway Dori Moody reviews Amor Towles’s The Lincoln Highway: A Novel.

    Family and Friends

    Casa de Paz One small Colorado home has become a place of refuge and support for thousands of immigrants upon their release from detention centers. The Pilsdon Community On the Dorset coast, a farm offers community, work, and sanctuary to those who need healing and a new direction.


    Letters from Readers Readers respond to Plough’s Summer 2021 issue, Creatures: The Nature Issue. Nonexistence Does Not Scare Me How should both believer and nonbeliever confront their mortality?


    Daring to Follow the Call Readings on the Sermon on the Mount to spark group discussion on putting Jesus’ most central teachings into practice.


    Telling a Tale of Two Fathers (Video) Russell Shoatz III, the son of a former Black Panther and convicted cop killer, was raised by an unofficial foster father: a Philadelphia police officer. Life in Zion A kibbutz veteran calls Zionism back to its founding vision of a shared society.


    Child of the Stars A photography project reimagines Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince as an Aymara fairy tale.


    The End of Rage After forty-nine years in prison, including nearly thirty in solitary confinement, a former Black Panther makes a reckoning.


    Toyohiko Kagawa The anti-imperialist peace activist who challenged Emperor Hirohito to become the servant of the people.

    Covering the Cover

    Covering the Cover: Beyond Borders We sought to convey the importance of going beyond barriers – between countries, or even between neighbors – to connect with others.

    Featured Authors

    front cover of Plough Quarterly No. 29: drawing of a hand reaching through a fence with a pencil to draw footprints leading away from the fence

    About This Issue

    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. Yet such actions contradict the teachings of the very Christian faith they often claim to be defending. 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.