The Common Good


Sojomail - January 21, 2000

              ****S O J O   M A I L****

      Promoting values at the crossroads where
      spirituality, politics, and culture meet

              Brought to you by SojoNet
           Publisher of Sojourners magazine

++++++++++++++++++++  21-Jan-2000 ++++++++++++++++++++

Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
    *Paul Valery on future schlock

B o o k  N o t e s
    *Announcing Faith Works, a new book by Jim Wallis

H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
    *Jim Wallis reports from London: Jubilee 2000 in lights

P. O. V.
    *Rose Marie Berger puts a price on pollution

T e r r a s c o p e
    *Let's hear it for b-humans

N e t w o r k  N e w s
    *Make yourself known

C a l l  t o  R e n e w a l
    *Are there solutions to poverty beyond welfare?

O n  the  W i r e
    *SojoNet in the national media

W e b  S c e n e
    *Coolest siting of the week

R o a d  S h o w s
    *We're coming to a city near you


Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k

"The trouble with our times is that the future is not what 
it used to be."
                                   -- Paul Valery


B o o k  N o t e s

Faith Works: Lessons from the Life of an Activist Preacher,
a new book by Jim Wallis, will be published in March by
Random House.

You can preorder your copy of Faith Works from your favorite
local or online bookseller, including Sojourners Resource
Center (1-800-714-7474).


H e a r t s  &  M i n d s

Jubilee 2000 in Lights
By Jim Wallis

London. I was amazed when I saw it. Emblazoned high atop the 
millennial countdown clock at Piccadilly Circus - the closest 
thing central London has to Times Square - were the words 
"Jubilee 2000." 

I knew the grassroots campaign begun by religious activists 
in Britain to cancel the debt of the world's poorest nations 
had been having remarkable success, but I didn't expect to 
see its name in London's lights on the way to a theatre in 
early January.

I had brought Joy, my English wife, over here for a surprise 
40th birthday party with her family and friends. Over 
an Indian meal (my favorite food in London) with our dear friends 
Peter and Dee Price, we talked about the extraordinary success 
of Jubilee 2000. Peter is a new bishop in the Church 
of England and a staunch supporter of the campaign. He told us 
about the humble beginnings of the effort. Too radical a pipe 
dream, said most. Sure, forgiving the crushing debt of the world's 
poorest nations would probably do more than anything else to 
begin to make poverty reduction more possible. But how could 
you ever convince the world's wealthiest countries, their banks, 
and the World Bank and IMF (International Monetary Fund) to 
ever forgive those debts. Even the biggest international aid 
and development groups like Christian Aid and Oxfam refused 
to support the idea at first. 

But at the beginning of the new millennium, Jubilee 2000 can 
report enormous progress in moving the world toward a cancellation 
of the poorest nation's debts. In Britain, where the movement 
began, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and Prime Minister 
Tony Blair have already announced their goal to end the debt of the 
world's poorest countries by the end of this year and are calling 
upon other nations to follow suit. President Bill Clinton has also 
announced his desire to cancel the debt owed to the United States, 
and bipartisan support is growing in Congress. The G-7 countries 
at their latest meeting began to take some positive steps toward 
debt relief. Even the World Bank and the IMF are seriously exploring 
how the crushing debt of the world's most impoverished nations might 
indeed be cancelled, and the money saved used most directly to
reduce poverty in those countries.

It is simply extraordinary that the biblical principles of the 
jubilee have become part of the international economic discussion. 
World Bank president James Wolfensohn and the leaders of 
the IMF now know what Leviticus 25 says! They have been discussing
the implications of such biblical texts with religious leaders, 
and must cope with an international grassroots campaign that has 
enlisted supporters from U2's Bono to the pope. Does anybody really 
think that Bill Clinton and Tony Blair would be calling for debt 
cancellation without such international pressure from a movement
that began with religious imperatives? 

While there is much left to do to definitively cancel that debt, an 
enormous amount of progress has already been made. Now Jubilee 2000 
is up in lights! Just shows you what a grassroots campaign can do. 


It's still not too late! Fifty people will be randomly selected 
from e-mail responses to receive an advance copy of Jim 
Wallis' forthcoming book, Faith Works. It is part memoir, part 
inspirational game plan for transforming our lives and our society, 
and part primer on how faith communities are changing their 

To become eligible for a FREE advance reader's copy, e-mail Greg 
Durham, Include in the body of the e-mail 
your interest in receiving a free copy, and your name and mailing address.


P. O. V.

Why I'm Walking to Work Tomorrow
by Rose Marie Berger

I live three blocks from work. The good news is that I 
(probably) won¹t be convicted of road-rage homicide. The 
bad news is that I drive to work. Admittedly, I live in 
a rough inner-city neighborhood where safety is a factor. 
However, if the world were equitable and just, the eco-cops 
would stick me with a ticket.

According to the new study "Who Owes Who?" by the UK-based 
development charity Christian Aid, industrialized countries 
should be charged with a "reckless use of fossil fuels" that 
has helped create catastrophic climate changes primarily and 
most severely affecting the world¹s poor.

Read the entire column as it appears in the latest issue
of Sojourners:




T e r r a s c o p e

Dateline: January 21, 2042
          2041.12.30  ShengXiao: Year of the Rooster
          San Francisco
          Republic of the Americas
by Sam Mendoza
Hong Kong Media Network

The performance turned in by Omar Schultz in Tokyo 
last Saturday night was nothing short of miraculous.
The Caracan midfielder became the first dromos player 
to swat nine japtas in a single game, ever. And he 
accomplished the feat against a respectable stable 
of Toyko slingers.  

But what has stunned dromos fans worldwide is the fact
that the new record holder is a true beta-human. Wasn't 
it only last month that Chicago coach Bill Jeffreys
argued that b-humans would be better off sticking with 
that traditional game from which dromos was born, baseball? 
Jeffreys was only stating what seemed to be the obvious:
genetically enhanced humans have a distinct edge in
strength, foot speed, and eye-hand coordination. Surely 
b-humans can't be expected to compete against ge-humans
whose very skeletal structures are carved for the game.
It's no surprise that the top teams in the World Dromos 
Federation ­ New York, London, Tokyo ­ don't have one 
b-human on their starting roster. 

And that's why Omar Schultz has become an overnight hero
to billions of b-humans who are sick and tired of being
told that they don't measure up. Like them, Omar was born
minus an engineered plan. He was conceived naturally and 
spent nearly all of his childhood in a small fishing village 
in the North of Venezuela. Once his athletic promise became
evident, and his family was ushered to Caracas, Omar resisted 
all pleas to undergo genetic improvement. He has been 
resolute that he would fulfill the destiny of the DNA 
with which he was born.

No one can say exactly how the practiced flick of a fishing 
net in the hands of a young child led to one of the premier 
japta hitters on the planet. But that mystery matters little
now. Omar is a symbol that transcends the game of sport. 
He overcame his "biological handicap" and delivered 
the uber-human elites a sound whipping. His name henceforth 
will be invoked by every family struggling to admit their 
child into an enriched school program, every employee pursuing 
a promotion, every aeronaut dreaming of space travel.   

Omar has brought hope alive.  




C a l l  to  R e n e w a l 

Getting people off welfare is not the same as getting people out 
of poverty! It's time to go deeper than welfare reform. It's 
time to focus on poverty. 

Like to find out how? Attend the Call to Renewal's national summit: 
Poor No More. Featured Speakers: Jim Wallis, Mary Nelson, Wallace 
Charles Smith, Yvonne Delk, Ron Sider, Eugene Rivers, Tony Campolo, 
and many more.

The summit will be held in downtown Washington, DC, February 13-16.
For more info, visit:


O n  t he  W i r e: 

In case you missed SojoNet in the nation's media....

"Topekans Urged to Fight Poverty," The Topeka Capital-Journal, 
January 18, 2000

With presidential and congressional elections looming, Jim 
Wallis on Monday night questioned whether any candidate would 
muster the political courage to remember the vision of Dr. Martin 
Luther King Jr. and place the needs of the poor on the national 

See the full story at:

and a related story at:


"Digital TV," by David Batstone,, syndicated
from Iconocast

The Internet will create an explosion of channels, both
professional and amateur. Whereas television content is now
mainly comprised of carefully orchestrated shows, Web cams
show cinema verite carved right out of the private lives of
real people. The very nature of entertainment, and the fine
line separating audience members from voyeurs, will vanish.

See full story at:


N e t w o r k   N e w s

Would you like to make your activities and resources
known to other sojourners who thirst for spirituality 
and justice? 

*Does your soup kitchen need volunteers?
*Do you offer books, audio, video materials on spiritual growth?
*Are you holding a rally against racism next week?
*Does your group hold a public time for meditation and prayer?
*Do you have a Web site that needs more exposure?
*Do you sponsor educational travel tours?

Let us know. SojoNet lies at the crossroads where people of
spirit and culture meet. Send a note to David Batstone at


W e b  S c e n e

Coolest siting of the week....

Whispers on the Wind is a movie, Web site, and movement for 
world peace. Follow the travels of Ann Crawford and Arn
Battaglene around the globe. From the banks of the Ganges
to the mountains of Peru, from where the Wall was to where 
the Great Wall is, they ask regular folks, "What are we doing
here? What is your part in it? What is your message?"

To hear the answers, go to:


R o a d  S h o w s

Meet members of SojoNet personally at these upcoming 
speaking engagements.

January 23 and 30   Burlingame, California
David Batstone continues his 4-part series on Barbara
Kingsolver's NY Times bestseller, The Poisonwood Bible, 
and its implications for Christian missions.
Contact: The First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame, 
(650) 342-0875


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