The Common Good


Sojomail - August 4, 2000

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

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

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+++++++++++++++++++++++++ 04-August-2000 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
    *Susan Faludi: What do men want?

H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
    *Live from Philadelphia

S p i r i t u a l   P r a c t i c e s
    *The art gallery of the future: Your Church

F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
    *The Bible Answer Machine.

P. O. V.
    *A hacker's code of ethics?

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

C u l t u r e   W a t c h
    *Bruce Springsteen leads revival

H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
    *Shadow Convention coming to L.A.

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


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

The truth is that what feminism is asking for
is exactly what men want in their own lives,
which is not to be judged according to
superficial and ephemeral and impossible-to-
attain objectives.

               -Susan Faludi
		   in "Mother Jones" magazine


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

What's Prosperity For?
By Jim Wallis

I'm writing from Philadelphia, where I've
been helping to convene the "Shadow Convention."
We've had an interesting week, and I'll write
more about the experience. But I also had the
opportunity to participate in a panel discussion
on "Religious Leaders in the Public Square,"
held on Sunday at the Greater Exodus Baptist
Church.  It's a church in a poor, inner city
neighborhood, and was an appropriate location
to discuss the role of faith-based organizations.

The panel combined academic researchers and
policymakers with church workers, all sharing
the results of their research and experience.

Philadelphia pastors Rev. Herbert Lusk and
Rev. Wilson Goode (former mayor of Philadelphia)
highlighted examples of the work churches are
doing in the inner city. Our friend, Rev. Eugene
Rivers, described the work of the Ten Point
Coalition, and noted that for many young people,
"faith-based institutions are the only hope left."

Academics John DiIulio and Ram Cnaan cited
recent research that is developing long-needed
empirical evidence on the role being played by
FBOs.  Prof. Cnaan has just completed a study of
400 Philadelphia congregations that showed
91 percent involved in social ministry. He also
noted that in the city of Philadelphia, 2,000
congregations are serving 1.5 million city
residents - one-half of the city's population.

Stephen Goldsmith, described in the Wall Street
Journal this week as "the most important guy you
never heard of," is former mayor of Indianapolis
and now domestic policy adviser to George W. Bush.
He is also a leading proponent of government
partnerships with FBOs, and spoke of the importance
of overcoming bureaucratic resistance to FBOs.

In my remarks, I noted, as I have been doing all
week, that the greatest unanswered moral question of
today is what we do with our prosperity?  Will it be
an opportunity to include those who have fallen
between the cracks or an excuse to leave them
further behind?

We in the church have a crucial role to play in
answering that question - we will continue to provide
desperately needed services to our communities, but
we will also continue to prophetically raise the
biblical demand for economic justice.


S p i r i t u a l   P r a c t i c e s
The art gallery of the future: your church

As we entered the dimly lit entryway, we
were almost mistaken that we had stepped
into an after-hours gallery. Our eyes darted
back and forth looking for the auditorium,
but we soon got a little sidetracked. After
catching a slight glimpse, we made our way
up the carpeted stairs one step at a time.

Where did these come from? Did the church
purchase these? Where could they have found

Our gazed upon one canvas after another
never ceasing to be amazed by the profound,
impressionistic representations of the
biblical narrative. We weren't in an art
gallery ,we were in a church....

Find out how art can enrich your religious
experience in's interview with
painter Wayne Forte:

But don't stop there! Also visit the "virtual
gallery" at Christians in the Visual Arts Web site:


F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
Bible Answer Machine

It's happened to all of you, I'm sure.
A pressing ethical, theological or
personal problem comes up, and you can't
find a qualified religious authority

The Bible Answer Machine is the perfect
substitute. You put your question in one
end, the cybervicar mulls it over briefly
and then churns out an appropriate Bible
verse at the other end.

For maximum realism, the selected text is
almost always totally irrelevant to your
question, but probably answers the one you
should have been asking.

To test out the Bible Answer Machine, go to:



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P. O. V.

Hacker Weighs Rights and Responsibilities:
Krispy Kremes and Ancient Ethics
By Brendan Koerner

The decidedly seedy Hotel Pennsylvania, a
tourist magnet opposite Madison Square
Garden, seems like an odd place for a guy
like Greg Newby to foment his cyberrevolution.
...Yet there was Newby last week, at the
Hackers on Planet Earth convention (H2K),
making a case for his "Hacker's Code," a
document designed to accomplish the seemingly
impossible: unify the technophilic, anarchy-
inclined denizens of the computer underground.

Newby's Hacker's Code is a list of 12 basic
principles that he hopes will "help hackers to
spot their common heritage, and recognize both
their diversity and their potential power."

Newby aims to promote the growth of
"hacktivism," a movement that uses Internet
monkey-wrenching to further social justice.
"We have to be a little bit more thoughtful
about what we do," he says. "If you deface a
Web site because that just happens to be the
one you can deface, that's vandalism. But if
you target a Web site because of its particular
message, then that's hacktivism."

To read the entire story, go to:

To find out more about Newby's hacker code, go to:


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

Tracy Dickinson from Rochester, New York wrote:

In response to Mr. Alan Lewis from Newcastle
Upon Tyne's recent "Boomerang" letter....I do
believe that Mr. Lewis has a point re. class
and/or demonstrators' previous experiences with
the police. However, while non-violence might be a
longer and a slower process, sooner or later,
right (i.e., ethical and/or moral) makes
might (political change).


Steve Hayes from Pretoria, South Africa wrote:

As a non-American, on a continent far away, the
bushorgore debate is largely a big yawn. The long
list of things that had "both" shows that two-party
democracy can sometimes give voters less than one-
party democracy.

But there are some differences between them, if
you drop the chauvinistic blinkers and see how
they affect the rest of the world.

Who chased Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait after he
invaded it? Bush (the old one).

Who killed half-a million Iraqi kids AFTER
Saddam Hussein left Kuwait? The government in
which Gore served as vice-president.

Who served in the government with the biggest war
mongers since WW II (Clinton & Albright)? Gore.

So vote for Bush. I don't know if it will keep the
world safe for democracy, but it might keep the
world safer.


Neil Horsburgh from Melbourne, Australia wrote:

We want to start telling people who are interested
in Anabaptist ideals about a Melbourne conference
to be held at Whitley College early next year.

Why now? It's so early! Because this is the first
time such a gathering is to be held in Melbourne.
We want to share the planning with as many as
possible as it unfolds over the next few months.

We will be needing to know more specifically the
level of interest, and who might be wanting to
educate or encourage the church today to embrace
ideals of Anabaptist thought and practice.

We would be grateful if you would contact us to
let us know of your interest, or to let us know
if you do not wish to receive a newsletter.

Send emails to:
or visit:


Peter Smith from Reading, England wrote:

Rev. Scott Collins wondered why the USA has no
gun control laws worth mentioning and no
universal health care. I presume his suggestion
that maybe the USA is better than other countries
was heavy sarcasm?

Americans are, in fact, not only a highly
technologically developed bunch of barbarians,
but also deluded by their rulers' propaganda.
Thus, most of you believe that your country
is free and democratic.

You have no controls on dangerous firearms,
which kill so many of you, but personal controls
that we in Britain would not tolerate. I see from
the Internet that you have to give your Social
Security ID whenever you place an order, and it
can even be used for credit checking! And you
think you are free!?

The Government in Britain has just agreed, under
intense public pressure, to pump thousands of
millions of pounds of public money into the
National Health Service which provides free
medical care at every level for all citizens,
whilst you in the USA let curable people die just
because they lack money, and those you cure,
you load with debt. And you think you are

Of those who are eligible to register to vote,
only 10% actually voted for President Clinton. And
only millionaires ever become president. And you
think you are democratic?

The percentage of really poor people and the
margin between richest and poorest are greater
in the USA than in any other Western nation. I was
delighted to see in Sojourners that church leaders
have agreed on a Covenant to End Poverty and a
10-year campaign. It's certainly about time!

Want to make your voice heard? Send Boomerang
e-mails to the editor: ""



Help SojoNet build a network.


C u l t u r e   W a t c h
Bruce Springsteen in concert:
Can I get an Amen, somebody?

By Danny Duncan Collum

Before the show began, I wondered what
Springsteen had been up to in the years since
Tom Joad. I'm sure he was hanging out with the
kids a lot. But now I know he was also playing
his guitar. His live playing on this tour is
technically sharp and devastating in its
emotional power. Springsteen also seems to have
listened to a lot of gospel music and watched
Robert Duvall in The Apostle about once a
month. The show was full of old-school preacher
rhetoric, Duvallian body language, and other
echoes of revivalism.

First, there was that gospel opening. Then,
during "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out," the band
segued into Al Green's "Take Me to the River."
This was a standard part of the tour playlist,
but it was also a special treat for us
gathered on a Saturday night, by the Father
of Waters, in Rev. Green's hometown. Then, while
the band played, Springsteen stopped singing
and delivered a sermon on the shouted theme,
"I want to go down to the river tonight! It's
a river of life. It's a river of forgiveness.
It's a river of faith...a river of hope...a
river of resurrection--where everybody gets a
second chance!" Then, lowering his voice,
"It's a river of sexual healing and companionship."
Finally returning to a pentecostal shout, "But
you can't get there all alone! No, you
can't get there by yourself! You got to
go there together!"

Later, he stopped in the middle of "Light of
Day," to reprise his preacher act. "I can't
promise you life everlasting," he shouted,
"but I can promise you life RIGHT HERE AND
NOW! Is anybody ALIVE out there?" Then he fell
into an extended riff about bringing "The
power and the glory. The majesty and mystery.
The ministry of rock and roll." He repeated
this until you half-expected someone to
break out in tongues. And who knows? Maybe
somebody did.

To read Duncan Collum's entire review of the
Bruce Springsteen 2000 tour as it appeared in the
July-August 2000 issue of Sojourners magazine,
go to:



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H e a r i n g  t h e  C a l l
Are you frustrated with political conventions
that have little to do with the real issues facing
our country? Then maybe you should go to
the OTHER convention! Shadow Conventions 2000

August 13-17, 2000
Join the Call to Renewal for Poverty and Wealth
Gap Day, Monday, August 14, 2000
Patriotic Hall
1816 South Figueroa St.

To register or volunteer for LA, call
213) 346-9558. Add your name to the
thousands from across the country who
want to make poverty and its solution
a NATIONAL PRIORITY. Sign the Covenant
to Overcome Poverty at:


O n   t h e   W i r e
SojoNet in the national media

"Prophetic politics: In search of a new
political language transcends old
divisions and seeks the common good," by
Jim Wallis,

"As the election season begins in earnest,
America is bracing for another predictable
dose of politics as usual. But instead of
rhetoric and political pragmatism, what if
our politics took on a prophetic dimension?"

For the entire story, go to:


"Faith-based organizations: A promise still untested,"
by Jane Eisner, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Suddenly, Jim Wallis is a wanted man. The Republicans
want him; the Democrats are calling. As head of the
Christian advocacy group Call to Renewal, Wallis is
a passionate promoter of a hot, new cause: giving
faith-based organizations (FBOs) more public
resources to confront poverty and other urban woes."

For the entire story, go to:


Here's a few more stories in the national press
featuring Jim Wallis and The Call to Renewal:

"Goldsmith Talks Up Compassionate Bush," by Mary
Beth Schneider, Indianapolis Star Tribune:

"GOP Won't Be Overshadowed," by Mary Beth
Schneider, Indianapolis Star Tribune:

"A boom for whom?" Editorial in the Boston Globe:


"Virginia Entrepreneur Lures Top Indian Tech
Talent," by David Batstone,

Sudhaker Shenoy has taken roughly the same
path that thousands of his former school
chums at the Indian Institute of Technology
have followed. After Shenoy graduated from
IIT, he moved to the U.S. and founded his
own company, Information Management Consultants,
a high-tech consulting firm. The big difference
is that Shenoy, 43, launched his company in
northern Virginia, a region that few of his
Indian peers have chosen to call home.

For the entire story, go to:,1653,6983,00.html



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W e b  S c e n e
Nature lovers find a friend

Federally protected lands offer some of the
most pristine, unspoiled entryways to nature
in the United States. And lets you
scour through listings of the properties of
the National Park Service, U.S. Army Corp of
Engineers, the U.S. Forrest Service and several
other federal agencies. It's a perfect resource
for outdoor options, whether you're planning
a short day at the beach at Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore or a strenuous multi-day
expedition across Utah's Canyonlands National

A search engine lets you find federal lands
that permit boating, camping, rock climbing,
fishing, horseback riding, hunting and other
activities in the 50 states. Say you'd like
to go camping and boating in North Carolina,
but need a facility that allows pets and
has a grocery store. will
direct you to a number of places, including
the Tennessee Valley Authority's Fontana Lake,
and let you know how to get there

Go to:


And don't forget to do your part to help
the environment. A great website produced
by some "green" Catholic bishops in
the Pacific Northwest may give you some
ideas and inspiration. Go to:


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