The Common Good


Sojomail - April 7, 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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++ 7-April-2000 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
    *Dollars and inner sense

H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
    *Making your personal pledge to end poverty

F u n n y  B u s i n e s s
    *Reversing the life cycle

T e r r a s c o p e
    *New clues surface in Chin murder

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

H e a l t h  T a l k
    *Spirituality does a body good

O n  the  W i r e
    *SojoNet in the nation's media

T h e  L a u g h i n g  S a l m o n  D i g e s t
    *Whazzup with punitive rock?!

B u i l d i n g   a   N e t w o r k
    *G8 Summit leaves Third World debt off agenda

W e b  S c e n e
    *A must-see for Web-aholics

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

"What we do with money -- how we use it, earn
it, think about it, protect it, donate it, spend
it, invest it, and preserve it -- is nothing more
than a metaphor of how we feel inside."
         -- Rebecca Maddox
         Author, "Inc. Your Dreams"


H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
Sign the Covenant

By Jim Wallis

Several weeks ago I told the story of how church
leaders from across the political spectrum together
announced a "Covenant to Overcome Poverty" on the
East steps of the U.S. Capital. A 10-year campaign
to implement the covenant, with real substance to it,
was also announced.

Well, last week, several of those same leaders from
the Call to Renewal board took two days of retreat
together to consider next steps. It was an exciting
time, and many plans were made. But perhaps the most
impressive was the commitment to seek a million
signatures for the covenant from people across the
country. That would make a clear statement about the
commitment of Christians and others to the issue.

That would also make a strong impression on the
candidates for president and other political offices
this election year, and create the kind of
message that could spark a new spiritual and
social movement for change.

So here is the covenant. I ask you to sign it.
And better yet, I ask you to sign it and then send
it to somebody else -- asking them to sign too. We
need the names -- with addresses and e-mails,
enough to add up to a million.

You can read the Covenant at:


Jim Wallis' new book, Faith Works, is available now
at your favorite online or local bookstore, including
the Sojourners Resource Center, 1-800-714-7474,

See also




F U N N Y   B U S I N E S S
Reversing the Life Cycle

by Andy Rooney

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends.
I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time.
What do you get at the end of it? A death.
What's that? A bonus?
I think the life-cycle is all backwards.
You should die first -- get it all over with.
Then you live in an old age home.
You get kicked out when you're too young.
You get a gold watch.
You go to work.
You work forty years until you're young enough
to enjoy your retirement.
You do drugs, alcohol, and party.
You get ready for high school.
You go to grade school and become a kid.
You play. You have no responsibilities.
You become a little baby & go back into the womb.
You spend your last nine months floating
Then, you finish off as an orgasm.

T e r r a s c o p e

Dateline: April 8, 2042
          2042.2Leap.18  ShengXiao: Year of the Dog
          San Francisco
          Republic of the Americas
by Sam Mendoza
Hong Kong Media Network

The Outer Space Bureau finally seems to be making 
some headway in its investigation of the murder
of Julian Chin on board a lunar-orbiting cruiser
nearly two months ago. (See "Murder in Space,"

For starters, Chin did not take the lunar cruise 
for a holiday as was originally reported. Several 
sources within the PacRim Holding Company have 
divulged that the company has been hatching plans 
to claim mining rights on the moon. On the day of 
his murder, Chin was scheduled to meet covertly 
with a group of private parties also coveting 
the moon's ample supply of mineral resources.

Exactly how those mining rights will be granted is
a matter of great controversy. Political
leaders within both the PacRim Alliance and the 
Atlantic Axis argue that property rights in space
should fall under the same legal and administrative
authority that govern earthly matters. They never
hesitate to point out that if it were not for 
government-sponsored space programs, the stars and
planets would be still beyond our reach.

But their message rings hollow. As much as the 
alliances wish to extend their sovereignty beyond 
the atmosphere, transglobal corporations like the 
PacRim Holding Company do not consider them major 
players. Once private companies took over the 
space program in the early 2020s, political entities 
essentially turned into their client states. 

As gold diggers stake their extra-terrestial claims, 
space has turned into the wild frontier of American
mythology. Today the rock that glitters is the mineral 
cantorium that lies in plentiful amounts deep below the 
moon's surface and has proven to be a rich fuel source 
for rocket ships. The PacRim Holding Company plans 
to parlay its cantorium mining operations to turn the 
moon into a major way-station for future space travel 
throughout the galaxy.

Chin was murdered in his suite just one hour before 
negotiations with three other corporate powerhouses 
were set to begin. They planned to slice the moon
up neatly like a piece of cheese into four quadrants. 
Solving the murder case thus hinges on answering 
intriguing questions, such as: Who learned about
the highly secretive meeting and so desperately 
wanted it thwarted?

For the moment, the OSB clings to a single clue. 
On the bureau in Chin's bedroom lay a note
penned by his own hand: "Warn council that
Mencius represents a grave threat to our lunar 


B o o m e r a n g
SojoMail readers take their turn...

D. Umile from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, wrote:

I enjoyed the article about Hank Williams' music.
I remember, many years ago, a friend of mine told
me her pastor said that Williams' music was "sinful,"
because it talked about "your cheatin' heart." I was
amazed at the absurdity -- anyone who listened to it
could tell that it was about consequences. What an


Nathan Beversluis from Chicago, Illinois, wrote:

I am aware that there are "more important" aspects
to SojoNet than my entertainment, BUT... I miss
Terrascope when it is not published! Please keep
publishing it weekly. I need my update on the far
and distant future of 2042.


Boomerang from the editor: We'll pass along the
message to Sam Mendoza. Sometimes he gets so
caught up in his own dimension he forgets about


Amy Mathis from Albuquerque, New Mexico, wrote:

The story about the demon-possessed computer
sounds like "the devil made me do it!"  :(

Thanks for this newsletter. It's very well
put together.


Rev. Scott Collins, from Lake Park, Florida, wrote:

Why is it that other countries have gun
restrictions and we don't?  Why is it that
other  Western countries have some form of
universal health care and we don't? Is it
because we are better than the rest of the


Chris Campbell from Boise, Idaho, wrote:

Good luck BUT no matter what you try the NRA
will get in the way. The people of the U.S.
stand around while their civil rights get
violated daily by the American police force,
BUT don't mess with their guns, 'cause that
would keep them from protecting themselves!!!
From whom? Perhaps their own government!

A wish for a peaceful society is a need to
move out of the U.S.


*Maryellen Hayden from The Thomas
Merton Center ( in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, wrote:

I am curious as to the meaning of "justice."
Does it mean "revenge"? Are any of your writers
interested in relating the above questions to
our so-called criminal justice system? What
would be an alternative to it? Is it designed
to "keep society safe," "discourage crime,"
"reform" criminals, or to exact revenge? I
would love to read something from you on this.

Boomerang from the editor: See, for example,
"Can Justice Heal?" by Kimberly Burge,
and the Restorative Justice Online Web site


Are we missing your insight? Send Boomerang
e-mails to the editor:


H e a l t h  T a l k
Belief-Based Medicine and the Everyday Miracle
Special to SojoNet

by Sue Easton

In a year when presidential politics will
focus on the issue of health care, and at a
time when consumers face complicated decisions
about caring for themselves, children, and
aging parents, a Denver conference on spirituality
and health care delivered good news for hearts,
minds, and checkbooks.

In late March a Denver hotel ballroom was filled
to capacity with 700 doctors, nurses, medical
researchers, hospital chaplains, health care
delivery system professionals, alternative medicine
care givers, hospice workers, psychiatrists,
psychologists, the clergy, and various teachers
drawn from the Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, and
Christian Science traditions, supplemented by
nonaligned but deeply spiritual individuals,
agnostics, and atheists. They learned together,
sang together, debated the future of medicine,
and even prayed together.

The occasion for the gathering was a Spirituality
and Health Conference, presented by The Harvard
Medical School's Department of Continuing Education
and the Mind-Body Medical Institute, under the
direction of Herbert Benson, MD. (The event was
supported in part by an educational grant from the
Templeton Foundation). Benson, author of the best-
selling book, The Relaxation Response, served as
both moderator and speaker.

The evidence, compiled in approximately 850 diverse
scientific studies, has now reached critical mass.
The link between spirituality or faith and healing
cannot be denied. Be it relief from a simple headache
or from elevated blood pressure, the lessening of
pain or the amount of medication needed, the reduction
of post-surgical complications, the number of visits
to a doctor or the average length of a hospital stay,
increased success in fertility treatments, and greater
ease at death, belief-based medical practice irrefutably
enhances healing and alleviates suffering.

But healing and spirituality are more than intangible
factors in the human equation. The bottom line is
that untold millions -- perhaps billions -- of health
care expenditures can be averted and/or eliminated
by the application of mind-body medical practices.
Among the belief-based practices that have gained
acceptance are intercessory prayer, meditation and
relaxation, therapeutic touch, music and biblio-
(journal keeping) therapies, and bedside one-to-one
doctor or nurse discussions of the spiritual dimensions
of health care.

At issue among the conference participants was
(1) how to define and describe "belief-based" healing
since the principles work even for those who are avowed
atheists, and (2) how this healing knowledge could and
should reshape every aspect of health care. The dialogue
that emerged indicates a détente between the schools
of traditional and alternative medicine. It is worth
noting that 64 of America's 125 medical schools now
have a spirituality curriculum component. This indicates
a great leap beyond the post-enlightenment ("don't ask,
don't tell") code of spiritual silence, which has kept
caregivers and patients, not to mention divine intervention,
at arm's length from human pain and a comforted death.

Benson's enthusiasm gives him the aura of a medical
Moses leading the masses into an age of everyday miracles.

For more information, visit:

Harvard Medical School Department of Continuing Education:

The Mind Body Medical Institute (Herbert Benson, MD):


T h e   L a u g h i n g   S a l m o n   D i g e s t
Whazzup with punitive rock?!

Campus police at the University of Toronto
reportedly tried to browbeat student
protesters into a ending a six-day sit-in
in the president's office by blasting
Backstreet Boys music all through the night.
"This is probably the first time the Backstreet
Boys have been deliberately used as a form of
sleep-deprivation torture," protester Sonia
Singh told the National Post newspaper (3/22/00) .
The students want a ban on the sale of clothing
made in Third World sweatshops.

And the Washington Post (3/23/00) reports that 
a Michigan rap fan who violated a loud-radio
ordinance was ordered by the judge to listen
to two hours of  Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne
Newton. Judge Martone imposed the offbeat
sentence on 18-year-old Justin Rushford,
who confessed to blaring AZ's "Sugar Hill"
at full blast from his Ford Explorer. Instead
of slamming Rushford with the standard $500
fine, hizzoner mandated 120 minutes in The
Lounge with "Volare" at a soporific decibel.
Newton, of the "ebony helmet superstar
hair and rutting caterpillar eyebrows" is
one of four Americans ever to have been made
an honorary Green Beret. He had no comment
on the sentence.

It hearkens back to those days of Daddy
Bush's Operation Just Cause when PSY-OP
Marines played deafening rock music, 24 hours
a day, over loudspeakers that ringed the
Vatican Embassy compound where Panamanian
"strongman" Manuel Noriega had taken refuge.
The siege continued until Noriega couldn't
take it anymore and surrendered.

I'm getting an image for the April mass
demonstrations in Washington D.C. to cancel
international debt. Everybody charge up the
boom-box batteries and bring along your
Herb Alpert or Brian Austin Green. We'll
put the IMF on the run!

                  --The Laughing Salmon


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

"The Company Store," Business 2.0, April 2000
by David Batstone

Getting a better shopping deal. Is that the '90s
meaning of "life" in the work-life balance? The
equation once figured in the employee's family
relationships, emotional stress, recreational
activities, and spiritual development. Now a
work-life benefit means getting 15 percent off
a bouquet of flowers.

See the full story at:


B u i l d i n g   a   N e t w o r k

We have just heard some worrying news from 
Japan about the agenda of the July G8 summit. 
The Japanese (now ex-) prime minister 
indicated the likely areas of discussion at the
summit -- information technology, development,
health, culture, trans-border crimes, aging
societies, and conflict prevention ...


Given the worldwide level of concern about debt 
in this millennium year, it would be a scandal 
if it was not even discussed by the G8! The deal 
announced by the G8 last year at Cologne was good, 
but more debt cancellation is needed, and more 
countries need to be included in the deal.

G8 LEADERS (addresses below).

Points to make:

*you have heard that poor countries' debt is 
not yet on the agenda for discussion at the G8 
summit in Okinawa, Japan in July.

*cancellation of poor countries' debts should 
be their top priority in this millennium 

*ask them to make a statement indicating their 
support for a new debt cancellation deal to be 
discussed at Okinawa.

The sooner you can send your e-mails the better.  
They should definitely be sent before the end of 
April.  And how about forwarding this message to 
everyone in your e-mail address book?

Here are the e-mail addresses:

UK -- sadly, Prime Minister Tony Blair does not yet 
have an e-mail address, but we suggest you contact 
Chancellor Gordon Brown at the Treasury e-mail You could 
also post a copy of your e-mail to Tony Blair at 
10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA.

Japan -- Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori: to send message visit: 

Canada -- Prime Minister Jean Chretien e-mail:

France -- President Jacques Chirac: to send message visit:

USA -- President Bill Clinton e-mail:

Unfortunately we don't have e-mail addresses for Russia and


W e b  S c e n e

Have you been spending too much time on the Web
lately? If so, you must visit this site without


R o a d  S h o w s

* Washington, D.C., April 27 - 30
Georgetown University Conference Center
"Re-Igniting the Spirit of America: A Summit
on Values, Spirituality, and Governance"
Sponsored by the Center for Visionary
Leadership. Jim Wallis addresses the conference
Saturday, April 29, 8 pm. Other speakers include
Michael Lerner, Marianne Williamson, and Tyrone
Parker. For more information go to or call (202) 237-2800

Jim Wallis' Faith Works Book Tour/Call To Renewal

*Grand Rapids, Michigan, Monday, April 10, 7 pm
New Hope Baptist Church
130 Delaware Street SW
Inner City Christian Federation 25th Anniversary event

*Pasadena, California, Wednesday, April 12, 7 pm
Fuller Theological Seminary
135 North Oakland Ave

*Oakland, California, Monday, April 17, 7 pm
Rockridge United Methodist Church
303 Hudson Street

*Seattle, Washington, Tuesday, April 25, 7 pm
First Free Methodist Church
Seattle Pacific University

*Portland, Oregon, Wednesday, April 26, 7 pm
First United Methodist Church
18th and Jefferson SW


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