The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

Eye for Eye

We are painfully reminded once again of the cascading violence in the U.S. after the senseless killing of six and wounding of many others at Northern Illinois University. But in my low-income Chicago community, the violence and killing have almost numbed us. I hear gunshots out my window regularly in the summer, and the annual homicide toll from guns in our two-square-mile community is often more than 30. The Children's Defense Fund indicates that almost 3,000 youth die in the U.S. annually [...]

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Iraq's Refugees Ask: 'What Is Our Future?'

The Cost of War

I was in Lebanon and Syria in January and saw up close the agony of the war.

In Damascus, young Iraqi refugees have created a youth choir at the Good Shepherd Center. After singing for [...]

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Inner-City Smell-O-Vision

No words can really communicate the essence of what we are doing here. For that, you'd need Smell-O-Vision.


In case you didn't know, Smell-O-Vision was a system developed in the 1950s that released odors during the projection of a movie so that the viewer could actually smell what was happening onscreen. Thirty years later, cult filmmaker John Waters tried the same thing with scratch [...]

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We Cannot Afford War

The Cost of War

"Now, more than ever, America needs our moral witness. We need a surge in troops in the nonviolent army of the Lord. We need a surge in conscience and a surge in activism and a surge in truth-telling for a change." (Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock,

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Iraqi Kurdistan: 'I Cry All Day Long'

The Cost of War

Susan sat on her bed, looking frightened and sad. The 27-year-old had lost the lower half of her left leg when at 2 a.m. Dec. 16, Turkish fighter planes dropped four bombs on her home in a village [...]

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A Lenten Call to Repentance

The Cost of War

March 19 will be the fifth anniversary of the war with Iraq. In this season of Lent, we are called to lament and repent for an ongoing war that is being waged by our country, financed by our taxes, and fought by our brothers and sisters. After five years, we all lament the suffering and [...]

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War Crimes or Criminal War

The Cost of War

In March, just prior to the fifth anniversary of the war of terror in Iraq, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) will be shaking the dust off a decades-old heritage of accountability and oversight in combat by its participants. The

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An Emergent Politics Primer: Part Two

Emergents seek a theological rationale for their political engagement. The thing is, that rationale varies from issue to issue, which makes the emergents an infuriatingly moving target for those with more traditional political viewpoints. For instance, the Christian speaker Len Sweet, a longtime friend of Emergent, recently spoke out against the movement in Relevant magazine, [...]

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Beyond Politics: Election 2008 in High-Def Part III

What about the mosaic revival is comforting? As a Latino evangelical leader, one of the things I am asking is moving beyond polarization. In this mosaic revival, we know that though politics is not the whole solution, it will be a vital part. We need the nexus of clergy, good government, activists, entrepreneurs, moms and dads, educators, etc. As a Christian who is part of the mosaic revival, I cling to one thing: my commitment is to Christ and the gospel first, not to any political [...]

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An Emergent Politics Primer: Part One

I once asked a fellow Minnesotan why he voted for former professional wrestler, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, for governor in 1998. He said, "It was my way of giving the finger to the Democrats and the Republicans."

There's a growing sense among emergents that the polarization in U.S. politics isn't real-it's a script written by the two political parties and the U.S. media. They wrote this script and they perpetuate it because they have the most to gain from its perpetuation. The unnuanced [...]

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