The Common Good


Sojomail - March 3, 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

++++++++++++++++++++  3-March-2000 ++++++++++++++++++++

Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
    *Tom Hanks on managing your image

H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
    *A 90-year old granny's quest for democracy

N e t w o r k  N e w s
    *This week on SojoNet

C u l t u r e  W a t c h
    *Moby plays the blues

T e r r a s c o p e
    *Have you had enough?

B o o m e r a n g
    *SojoMail readers hit reply

T h e  L a u g h i n g  S a l m o n  D i g e s t
    *First Church of the Wax and Shine

O n  the  W i r e

    *The Battle for the Net's Soul

F u n n y  B u s i n e s s
    *Should dogs have credit cards?

W e b  S c e n e
    *Free cyber camera


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

"The only way you can truly control how you're being
seen is by being honest all the time."

                             -- Tom Hanks


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

GrannyD: A Walking Legacy
By Jim Wallis

GrannyD is a 90-year-old woman who just took 
a year to walk - that's right walk - across the 
United States to draw attention to the need for 
campaign finance reform. This week, GrannyD 
finally arrived in Washington, D.C. and led 1,000 
people up the Capitol steps to rally for democracy. 

Her name is Doris Haddock (like the fish, she says) 
from Dublin, New Hampshire, and she has been a social 
activist all her life. GrannyD is absolutely 
convinced that the corrupting power of money in 
the political process from "corporations, unions, 
and wealthy men" is undermining our most cherished 
democratic values. She went through four pair of 
sneakers, but is wonderfully vibrant and animated 
after a pilgrimage that would have exhausted most 
people half her age.

Joy and I joined her and a few others for dinner 
this week and were enchanted by Granny's stories 
of walking through America. All along her 3,200-mile 
route, people shared with her their disillusionment 
with politics. "They're just all crooks, and that's 
why we don't vote," so many told her. "I told 
them that the politicians weren't all crooks," 
Granny said to us, "but the system in place 
corrupts most everybody." 

Americans of all stripes came out to greet her, 
offer her meals, and give her places to stay 
for the night. "Poor people, especially, would 
come out from their trailers and tell me, "Granny, 
you're our voice, you're walking for us." She 
believes that breaking the hold of money over 
politics and overcoming poverty are deeply related. 

In Memphis, where Martin Luther King Jr. was 
assassinated, GrannyD met with black pastors and 
said we had all dropped the ball on the poverty 
issue King was pushing when he was killed. A 
65-year-old minister said he was ready 
for retirement until this 90-year-old woman told 
him "we were all dropping the ball." "I decided I 
better pick it up again," he said.
Granny seems to have that effect on people of 
all ages. The media has been swarming around her 
in Washington for the past two days. School 
children ask for her autograph. Tonight, Granny 
brought with her a beautiful bouquet of flowers 
an 11-year old girl had just given her. "I just 
want you to know that I believe very strongly 
in campaign finance reform," she told Granny. 

"People see me and think that ordinary people 
just like them can do something," Granny says. 
At the outset of her journey, some people were 
worried. "They told me if my walk really attracted 
media attention to the issue of campaign finance 
reform, I might take a bullet in the back. I thought 
about that and finally decided what the hell, I'm 
89 years old!"

GrannyD says, "The mission is my passion. I am a 
very poor woman. I live on Social Security and a 
small income. I have 12 great grandchildren, and 
I have nothing to leave for them. So I said, 'Well, 
I can leave the legacy of a democracy.'

Now she has done it. 


You can preorder your copy of Jim Wallis' new book, Faith
Works, from the Sojourners Resource Center at 1-800-714-7474,
or go to:

Here's what Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals
for Social Action, has to say about Faith Works:

"If heeded, this important book will profoundly reshape
America, bringing desperately needed healing and justice."


N e t w o r k   N e w s

SojoNet Radio

On March 5, house D.J. Alvin Soedarjo plays a full
half hour of innovative spiritual music from around
the globe on SojoNet Radio.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can
set your radio dial to KUSF 90.3 FM at 8:30 a.m.
PST. Anywhere else in the world, you can listen
in live over the Internet:


C U L T U R E   W A T C H

Moby *plays* the blues
By Elizabeth Newberry

Last week's Grammy Awards ceremony was disappointing 
to fans of Moby, the acclaimed and loved techno 
artist and jack-of-all-genres musician, who was 
nominated, but did not win, in the categories for 
best rock instrumental performance and best 
alternative music performance. PLAY, released last
summer, is by far Moby's most popular album to date 
in the United States and is another hit in the 
European club and rave circuit where he has been
acclaimed for years.

The 34-year old DJ turned recording artist, named 
Richard Melville Hall, but called Moby, has 
been experimenting with rock and electronic music
for more than a decade. The 18-track album has a 
consistent spirit that threads through each track, 
making me wonder if Moby had a dashboard Jesus on 
his turntable like some people have in their cars. 

PLAY speaks as a devotional from the book of Moby. 
The album has a transcendent quality that invigorates
the listener. Specifically, Moby's use of blues, 
gospel, and spirituals in "Honey," "Find My Baby," 
"Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" and "Natural
Blues" is a familiar sound you would hear sitting 
in the back pew of the church. Moby matches this 
with ambient music, danceable beats, and electric
guitar sounds that reflect the pace of 21st century 
living. Whether playing the nightclub worthy 
"Bodyrock" or the short tracks that are entirely
instrumental like "Everloving" or "Inside," each 
track creates a musical and digital breathing 
space. The combination of familiarity and surprise 
in Moby's album provide a transcendent escape that 
simultaneously feels like guided meditation and 
a get-your-booty-movin' dance moment.

The spiritual dialogue that Moby's music inspires 
is matched with five short essays (80-100 words) 
on the album sleeve. For those hoping for a front 
pew to the Rev. Moby, he offers bite-size sermons
covering fundamentalism, prison conditions, 
decriminalization of drugs, compassion, and the 
joys of the vegan lifestyle. While he saves his
preaching for the page, his musical talent is 
evidence of his faith in action. Moby will hit 
American college campuses later this month
as part of his U.S. tour with shows 
that promise to be part rave and part revival.




T e r r a s c o p e

Dateline: March 3, 2042
          2042.2.12  ShengXiao: Year of the Dog
          San Francisco
          Republic of the Americas
by Sam Mendoza
Hong Kong Media Network

My extended family gathered late last week
in our favorite San Francisco restaurant 
to celebrate my wife's 40th birthday. No sooner 
was the main course on the table when the 
emergency medical team arrived. They informed 
my father that he was about to have a heart attack. 
My father seemed to be in good form all evening
long. But his internal body monitor had sent 
an alarming message to MedCentral, which then 
alerted the regional clinic of a possible code red. 
I jumped in the ambulance with my father and
encouraged the rest of the family to finish
their meal.

During the next 30 minutes my father and I
had one of the most intimate and honest
conversations of our lives. Turning the 
tables on the situation, he asked me if I 
was afraid to die. I confessed to having 
cold sweats whenever I looked death straight 
in the face. Laying there on a stretcher 
in the back of the ambulance, he wanted to know 
what I could possibly fear. "Not having seen
enough, accomplished enough, laughed enough," 
I responded. 

My father could only chuckle. "And what is
'enough?' " I had no answer. He went on to 
tell me that he worried about my generation, 
ever pursuing a higher plane of experience, 
never quite satisfied once we got there. 
"Enough" was the illusive dream over the next 
horizon. Dying a little death each time, 
putting off the day of final burial. 

My father then grabbed my hand. He admitted that
he had a hard time understanding my world - the
pace of change, the radical reorientation of
lifestyles, the merging of body and machine -
yet he never lost confidence in the child
he raised to speak the truth of what he saw
in front of him. That was "enough" for him. 

By the time we arrived at the clinic we had
discussed all of the arrangements that would
be necessary if he didn't make it through the
night. But when the bio-technician examined 
him, he found no signs to justify the readings 
MedCentral had recorded. In fact, the BT said
my father's heart was in remarkably good shape
for a 75-year old man without organic implants. 

I logged onto the Omninet to tell my family
the good news. My wife answered, agitated. 
The evening had gone horribly wrong. A man seated 
at the next table had suffered a fatal heart attack. 
MedCentral evidently sent the wrong coordinates to 
the emergency med team.

I hope the man had lived long enough.



B o o m e r a n g
SojoMail readers hit reply

In response to last week's word-play feature
(in which we asked readers to take words
from the dictionary, add, omit, or change one
letter, and supply a new definition):

*Idiotyncrasy - we all have them!

             -- Pam Swift, Farnhill, England


Bill Carroll, from Houston, Texas, wrote:

I loved the music on SojoNet Radio this week.
So practically leads you into
meditation. Where do you find this stuff?


Boomerang *from* the editor:

Our resident DJ, Alvin Soedjaro, hails from
Indonesia, but no matter where he travels he
can be found combing through LPs at the local
music shop. Last week's selections featured
house music from the UK on a compilation titled
"Spiritual Life." And that fantastic drum-beat
number came from Africa.


Jim Stanley from Fort Wayne, Indiana, wrote:

Can someone please explain to me why, in the name
of all that is just, four white police officers
were acquitted on all counts after:

1. Firing 41 bullets at a black, unarmed immigrant
2. Hitting him at least 19 times
3. Testimony was given that the officers had a long
    history of harassing blacks
4. Testimony was given that none of the officers spoke
    or otherwise identified themselves to Diallo

Is this what our society has come to? We fight to
keep Cuban boys separated from their fathers and to
keep murdering police officers on the streets?

Lord? Are you there? Have mercy.

Sorry fellow Sojourners...I just had to pour my
heart out to someone.


Need to pour out your heart? Send Boomerang
e-mails to the editor: ""


T h e   L a u g h i n g   S a l m o n   D i g e s t

First Church of the Wax and Shine

For several years now I've been a back pew observer
at the First Church of the Wax and Shine. It took
me a little while to unravel the complexity and
nuances of this particular denomination. Now,
after a steady stream of low-key evangelization,
I'm beginning to catch on.

Worship starts fashionably late on Sunday mornings,
at an hour that takes into account Saturday night.
It happens on the street, or in the alley, or
in the corner of a parking lot. It requires a
vehicle (vintage or new), a comfortably clean
chamois cloth, Turtle Wax, and a decent set of

The radio volume is adjusted to a low window-
rumbling volume and tuned to a local power
preacher, or Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation, or Mary
J. Blige. When the groove is laid down nice and
sweet, then the steady meditative stroking
of the ride begins. The hood, the wheel wells,
the chrome. Like praying the rosary or making
up a church lady's covered dish, there is a
special mingling of the mystical and the mundane
on Sunday mornings at the First Church of the
Wax and Shine. O, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

                    --The Laughing Salmon


O n  t he  W i r e:
In case you missed SojoNet in the nation's media....

"Big The Net War on Privacy," by 
David Batstone, found on, reprinted from 
Sojourners magazine

In the name of giving us what we need, when 
we need it, Internet technology lets companies 
peer into our shopping habits like never before. 
For some, this is progress. For others, it's an 
Orwellian intrusion on our rights as consumers. 

See the full story at:,6378,ART17442_CHL11_CNT56,00.html


P. O. V.

The Fight for the Soul of the Internet
by Danny Schechter

...Governments will be paying closer attention to
the activist dot.orgs of the Web - nonprofit,non-
governmental sites, many of which are buzzing with
calls for organizing against the status quo,
challenging governments and corporations alike.
It is well known that much of the organizing for
the anti-WTO protests in Seattle was done in online
chat rooms and listservs. Media activists offered
their own coverage of the battle in Seattle, with
sites like, which brought images of
police abuse to a global audience. E-mail on the
net is now a megaphone for activism everywhere.

Many of these pro-active dot.orgs are still almost
invisible on the U.S. media radar screen until
something erupts, like the WTO protests that
neither the authorities planned for nor the world
of TV news expected. The lesson here: Major media
must shift from looking up at those in power to
looking down at those in pain. Increasingly voices
from all over the world are getting access to the
Web and a new platform. They need to be listened to.

Yet there is little evidence that the world -
and the fawning press that publicizes its every
quarterly earnings report - cares one whit about
noncommercial sites or the democratic potential
of the Internet.

See the entire story at:


F u n n y   B u s i n e s s

Animal House
by Ed Spivey, Jr.

Larry works here (and so does his dog, sometimes.
Well, maybe he's not actually working when he sits
there and growls. No, wait, I'm thinking of another
staff member). The application that came in the mail
was addressed to "Shorty Bellinger," which, while not
his legal name, was given to him because he is, in
fact, quite short. One of those Datsuns, I think
(which looks wrong on paper, but it got through
spellcheck so it must be okay). Fortunately, family
members intercepted the incoming application before
it could be filled out. And they continue to be
vigilant on Shorty's daily walks since he keeps
making excuses to stop by the local notary public
"just to get help with a few personal papers."

Still, one must assume that floating around in
the computer databases of this country is one
"Shorty Bellinger," who will soon be inundated
with the false hopes that he may "ALREADY BE A
WINNER!" or could "receive valuable motel
discounts as a member of AARP!" Not to mention
the great rates he could get by changing long
distance companies.

Get Ed Spivey's full H'rumphs column in Sojourners:


W e b  S c e n e
Wow! A remarkable cyber camera that takes
your photo as you sit in front of your
computer. Best of all it's free! Just
don't forget to smile!

Go to:


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