The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

Human Circles of Protection: Jim Wallis Visits the Chicago Circle at North Park University

Sojourners' CEO Jim Wallis visited Chicago's North Park University today to march with students, faculty, and staff to form a “Human Circle of Protection” at the North Park Friendship Center. Jim shared his thoughts with Covenant Media Services after the march.

"We are saying, 'God is watching how you decide to cut a deficit,'" Wallis said." A deficit is a moral issue. But how we cut it — what we do, who suffers, who bears the pain of it — is a moral issue too."

Watch video of Jim's intervirew with Covenant Media inside.

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The Jesuit Jester

For years, I've liked to call the Rev. Jim Martin, author of the new book Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life, "my favorite Jesuit."

I'm certainly not alone in my fondness for Martin and his wry spirituality.

Stephen Colbert is so enamored of the exceptionally clever cleric's wit and wisdom that he made Martin the official chaplain of the Colbert Nation. (Click HERE to see some of Father Jim's past appearances on "The Colbert Report.")

Martin, culture editor of America magazine and a prolific writer whose previous books include My Life With the Saints, A Jesuit Off-Broadway and last year's The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life, has an uncommon gift for making faith — and even religion — both accessible,  genuinely hip and if not fun, exactly, at least enjoyable.

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Colbert on OWS Evictions: "Linking Arms is a Dangerous Act of Aggression."

"The founders never intended indefinite free speech. They assumed after two weeks any protest would be wiped out by small pox.” — Stephen Colbert

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The Latest News on Occupy Wall Street: Wednesday November 16, 2011

The latest news on the Occupy Wall Street movement this morning includes: Occupy Wall Street camps are today's Hoovervilles. At Zuccotti Park, police protect the 1 percent. The New OWS: Reset button or game over? Harsh NYPD action against OWS might energize the movement. Alec Baldwin on "What Occupy Wall Street Has Taught Me." Olbermann condemns Bloomberg. President Obama says each city must decide for itself how to handle OWS protests. Occupy Wall Street and the return of law and order politics. The Straw Man cometh to Zuccotti Park. Militarizing police forces from Oakland to NYC. And more.

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The Top 10 Stories of November 16, 2011

Quote of the day.
“I have no interest in retail; I have no interest in opening a bookstore. But I also have no interest in living in a city without a bookstore.”  Ann Patchett, best-selling author, on why she is opening a bookstore in Nashville after several popular stores recently closed.
(New York Times)

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'Ǎhk-Toong Bāy-Bi Covered': New U2 Album Aids Victims of East Africa Famine

The band may be taking a well-deserved break from touring and recording, but U2 fans still have a new album to relish just in time for Thanksgiving.

Ǎhk-Toong Bāy-Bi Covered  features cover versions of U2's famed 1991 album Achtung Baby featuring renditions by Snow Patrol, The Fray,  Patti Smith, Damien Rice, Depeche Mode, Jack White, The Killers and others.

And all proceeds from the album's sales will go to help some of the estimated 13.3 million Africans suffering through the worst drought and famine in 60 years.

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‘Seeing Through Heaven’s Eyes’ – Charismatic Christianity 2.0?

Unlike the earlier turn-of-the-20th-century Pentecostal movement, which created a plethora of new denominations, the Charismatic Movement  — with its emphasis on the felt-presence of the Holy Spirit, intimate worship, healings, and spiritual gifts as written about in the New Testament — united Lutherans and Catholics, East Orthodox and Episcopalians, promising in its early years to utterly remake ecumenical dialogues into a fully-felt move of the Spirit.

These heady early days inspired everyone from the Jesus Movement to Richard Rohr and many believed that a new fullness of Christian faith was being formed.

Then, as often happens as new movements grow and spread, things got messy. Denominational officials became suspicious; new denominations like the Vineyard were born, attracting new Christians such as Bob Dylan.

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Why I Don't Heed "The Call"

Though I treasure my Pentecostal heritage, these days I feel like an outsider looking in, because though it started out as a pacifist movement in the early 20th century, today Pentecostalism (at least in America) is largely known as a religion that spawns extremist movements that trumpet militarism and bigotry.

Chief exhibit: The Call

Founded by Lou Engle, The Call is a movement that regularly holds massive prayer events in stadiums across the country. Engle is part of a network called the New Apostolic Reformation, which believes that God is raising up an end-times army of apostles and prophets to take over earthly governments before Jesus comes back.

A few of its prominent leaders are Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, and Mike Bickle. Though the end-times theology of these individuals may vary, the underlying principle that binds them together is the idea that Christians are called to dominate earthly governments and civil society, and that apostles and prophets are supposed to pave the way to make that happen.

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The Worst Commercial in the World

The Norton commercial says explicitly what most advertisements only imply.

You are the things you own.

Your identity is the stuff you have.

Your worth is what you own.

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Noon Today: Join a Human Circle of Protection Near You!

At noon TODAY (Wednesday 11/16) in every time zone faith leaders, parishioners, advocates, community lead-ers, and their constituents will come together to join hands and create human circles around agencies and programs at risk of deep budget cuts in the supercommittee and appropriations processes.

The Circles will form in towns and cities across the country at 12 noon in every U.S. time zone. Through this rolling national action, people of faith will signal to the congressional super committee and all congressional representatives that the nation’s budget must not be balanced on the backs of “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40).

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