For Evangelical believers, the most important decision in one’s life—in some ways, the only choice that really matters—occurs abruptly, in the direct presence of God and other people, and then can’t be undone. Salvation is necessarily instantaneous and immutable, fundamentally unlike the glacial back and forth of politics, the way power changes hands and people change sides, all of it somehow both infuriatingly slow and unfathomably small in contrast to the Kingdom of God.
This issue is packed with other luminaries: Nikki Giovanni, Lolis Eric Elie, and Wendell Berry express the tenderness of our closest relationships. Randall Kenan and Thomas Pierce, contemporary masters of Southern fiction, offer new otherworldly short stories. Lauren Groff pens an essay mourning the depletion of Earth’s resources and ponders the possibilities of the next frontier. As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s death, Benjamin Hedin goes to Memphis, where its citizens—like so many of us in the South—still bear the burden of history: mourning the sins of our racist past; attempting to atone, however imperfectly; and finding a way to move forward.