The Common Good


Sojomail - September 29, 2000

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 ++++++++++++++++++++ 29-September-2000 +++++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
     *Albert Camus: walk with me

 H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
    *Jubilee 2000 - From Prague to Capitol Hill

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
    *Al's fantasy world

 T h e   D a i l y   G r i n d
    *Vacations = work holidays for the middle class

 S p i r i t u a l   P r a c t i c e
    *Is your dog wired? E-greetings for pet owners...

 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
     *Sacred steel

 H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
     *Call to Renewal convenes fifth roundtable

 O n  t h e  R o a d
     *We're coming to a town near you

 W e b  S c e n e
     *Free long distance...really!


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

Don't walk in front of me,
I may not follow. Don't walk
behind me, I may not lead. Walk
beside me and be my friend.

            -- Albert Camus

[I don't care what it says on - that 
doesn't sound like Camus to me.--ed.]



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and building communities of faith. Please give.


H E A R T S  &  M I N D S
Jubilee 2000 - From Prague to Capitol Hill

by Jim Wallis

The annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank are
taking place this week in Prague. As in Seattle and
Washington, D.C., Jubilee 2000 and other supporters of
debt relief are present - but this time in the suites
as well as in the streets.

The backdrop was set for the meeting when the World
Bank issued a new study arguing that economic growth
alone is not sufficient to overcome poverty as long
as existing political and economic systems favor the
rich over the poor. The director of the study noted
that "in order to increase poor people's share of this
growth, we're going to have to address inequalities."

Jubilee 2000 is continuing to call on the World Bank
and IMF to cancel 100 percent of the debt owed to them.
Along with street demonstrations, this time there were
also meetings with top officials of the institutions.
Czech President Vaclav Havel convened a public dialogue
between critics from a variety of NGOs and financial
leaders. Jubilee 2000 UK Director Anne Pettifor noted,
"It's very seldom you get powerful people
listening to civil society."

Yet the meetings of the institution's Development
and Financial committees ended with a recommendation
of a 30 percent cut in debt, not the full relief
Jubilee 2000 seeks. Pettifor responded, "We are angry
and deeply disappointed....Finance ministers seem
incapable of understanding that the poorest countries
are effectively insolvent and need 100 percent cut in
their debt service - not the one-third cut on offer."

On Tuesday, as the meeting's opening session got
underway, thousands of demonstrators were in the
streets. Bank President Wolfensohn noted the
demonstrations in his speech: "Outside these walls,
young people are demonstrating against globalization.
I believe deeply that many of them are asking legitimate
questions, and I embrace the commitment of a new
generation to fight poverty. I share their passion and
their questioning."

Meanwhile, back in Washington, as the congressional
year winds down to the election, Jubilee 2000 U.S. held
a press conference to urge representatives to fully fund
$435 million for debt relief in the Foreign Operations
Appropriations conference report. U2 star Bono, Secretary
of the Treasury Lawerence Summers, White House Chief 
Economic Adviser Gene Sperling, and a bipartisan group 
of congressional members spoke of the pressing need for 
the U.S. government to fulfill its commitment.

Rep. Maxine Waters, a leader of the effort, noted
especially the role played by Jubilee 2000: "This is
really a spiritual movement. And I want you to know
it could not have been, had it not been for Jubilee 2000.
They have been able to organize religious organizations
all over the world to come together with nongovernmental
organizations and to really move this issue forward.
It would not have happened without them."

Jubilee is calling on all supporters of debt relief to
phone senators and representatives to urge that they
support full funding for debt relief programs as a step
toward Jubilee goals.

Senators: (202) 224-3121
Representatives: (202) 225-3121

For complete news on the Prague meetings and Capitol
Hill efforts, go to:


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

Here's what Eugene Bowser of the Library Journal
has to say about Faith Works:

"Highly recommended as an inspiring book that should
be read by everyone."


F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
Al's fantasy world

In the aftermath of the Clinton administration's
decision to sell 30 million barrels of oil from
the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Al Gore defended
the action, saying that he was in on the ground
floor when the nation's defense-related Strategic
Petroleum Reserve was established by Congress in

"I've been part of the discussion on the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve since the days it was first
established," Mr. Gore told reporters.

In fact, the oil storage reserve was
authorized and signed into law in 1975 - two
years before Mr. Gore was in Congress; it was
being filled with oil by the middle of 1977, about
five months after he became a member of the
House of Representatives.

In a separate episode Mr. Gore claimed that his
mother-in-law paid three times as much for her
arthritis prescription drug than Mr. Gore paid
for the same drug that his dog takes. It turned
out that his numbers were lifted whole from a
House Democratic study and that he could not
substantiate his story.

Next, Mr. Gore claimed that the union song
"Look For The Union Label" was sung to him as
a child as a lullaby when, in fact, the TV
jingle came out in 1975 when he was 27.

One many cherry trees will be
left standing (think George Washington) in
Washington, D.C., if "4 for Gore" comes to be?

T h e   D a i l y   G r i n d
A nation of workaholics

The New York Times reported in its
September 20 edition that a growing
number of middle-class Americans never
leave the job.

*Over half the workers questioned in
a survey by Andersen Consulting contacted
their office while on their most recent
week-long vacation.

*One third said they had left their cell
phone number with a colleague.

*One third checked their office voicemail
messages and one in six took along a laptop

Tom Davenport, director of Andersen's Institute
for Strategic Change, saw a mixed blessing:
[Workers] may be more productive, but they are
deprived of the stress-free environment vacations
are meant to provide.

Workers surveyed were full time in office
settings, with household incomes over $75,000.



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S p i r i t u a l   P r a c t i c e
Is your dog wired?

October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis and
the Roman Catholic Jubilee Day for the
Environment. For those who wish to honor
these days, The Fifth Annual National List
of Pet Blessings is now appearing at:

The popular annual Web feature, "Francis of
Assisi, Lover of All Creation," includes home
rituals for blessing pets as well as a 33-state
(to date) listing of upcoming local pet blessing
ceremonies. There are also articles about the
12th-century saint, his devotion to the beauty
of creation, e-greetings for owners of all pets,
sick pets, and deceased pets. Composer David Haas
sings his Franciscan prayer "Perfect Charity"
on a RealVideo clip.


"Racism is backed up by power - it is the 
power to enforce one's prejudice."

America's Original Sin: A Study Guide on Racism is
available through Sojourners Resource Center.

Ideal for those looking for an in-depth exploration
of the legacy of racism. America's Original Sin
provides biblical and historical foundations to
understanding and combating racism. Featuring
suggestions for activities, questions for discussion,
and resources for further study, America's
Original Sin is a perfect guide for small group study.

To order, go to:


B o o m e r a n g

Rabbi Arthur Waskow from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote:

Were the gasoline blockades in Europe a "people's
uprising"? The scenario reinforces my sense that
people in the U.S. and Canada who are committed to social
justice and to healing the earth must prepare
IN ADVANCE a very different campaign; one that
focuses on taxing excess oil-company profits -
not reducing taxes on gasoline or heating oil -
and on channeling the money raised toward (a) assistance
for the poor who will be hardest hit by higher
prices for heating oil and natural gas, and (b)support
for mass transit, biking, conservation of
energy, and renewable energy sources.

For the religious community (and also for
nonreligious progressives), that could be a
major focus this fall, within a broader campaign
to halt global scorching and to advance social

And for individual synagogues, churches, mosques,
etc., it could also be a focus of direct service to
the poor.


Mary Friesen of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, wrote:

The city of Winnipeg (Canada) hosted a significant
international conference on global issues relating
to children affected by war. Many church representatives,
relief agencies, and political leaders were joined by
an international group of children who have lived
through war in their own countries. Did Sojourners
in any way monitor the event or participate in some
form? What kind of support is being offered to the
resolutions put forward at this conference? Protecting
children from the horrors of war is certainly one
agenda where churches and politicians should be
able to combine their efforts.


Ed. note: Too right, Mary. If any SojoMail readers
out there are involved in this movement and have
practical suggestions for Mary and the rest of us,
jump right in!    


Caleb McDaniel from College Station, Texas, wrote:

A suggestion for [SojoMail] readers. Last week, a new
Web site from the makers of The Hunger Site debuted

This new page allows surfers to donate free
care to children who have been victimized by
AIDS. SojoMail readers are just the sorts of
people, I think, who will want to take advantage
of this small and easy (but empirically effective)
way to help others while surfing the Web.

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


             SojoNet - Your News Alternative

                 - news that matters -        
                   - action alerts - 
     - the latest commentaries from Sojourners staff - 
         - links to recommended news sources -

C u l t u r e   W a t c h
Sacred Steel

by Danny Duncan Collum

I heard it in passing on National Public Radio's
All Things Considered one afternoon; it was a
blurb for an upcoming story. The announcer said
something about African-American pentecostals who
played their gospel music on country-and-western
steel guitars. They called it "Sacred Steel."

I never heard the report that day, but the image
stuck. It was so rich with paradox - even apparent
contradiction - that, if you know anything about
American music, it seemed inevitable. That's
because the mixing of musical repertoires,
traditions, and instruments across racial lines
is the story of American musical culture. For
instance, there is no instrument more firmly
associated with country music than the banjo,
but it came directly from West Africa, where it
was called a "banjar." We have jazz today because,
after the Civil War, freed slaves picked up the
brass instruments left behind by military bands.

For my money, the Sacred Steel Live sampler (issued 
in 1999) is the place to start. This music is 
most effective in the worship/performance setting, 
where the congregation, and the Spirit, can pull the 
players along to higher heights. The Live disc also 
features more vocals, which may make the music more 
accessible to the newcomer. But I'm also biased; the 
Live set is heavily dominated by the Campbell Brothers, 
who - though in their 40s - are the youngest of the 
recorded Sacred Steelers, and the ones closest in sound 
and spirit to the roots of rock and roll. The original
Sacred Steel sampler features a wider range of
artists and a wonderful version of Willie Eason's
famous tribute to FDR ("A Poor Man's Friend"). All
of this material is available from Arhoolie Records;
(888) 274-6654;[]

To read Danny Duncan Collum's complete review of
Sacred Steel, go to:


Executive Director

Sojourners Neighborhood Center works with children
and their families in Washington, D.C., to reduce
violence and build community through educational
enrichment, skill building, parent support, and
leadership development. SNC is committed to the
faith imperatives of racial reconciliation,
justice for disenfranchised people, peacemaking,
and spiritual renewal.

Qualifications: strong Christian social justice
commitment; experience directing a small
nonprofit (or associate/program director
in a larger organization); experience in urban
ministry, fund-raising, hiring, training,
supervision, and program development; strong
communication skills; bachelor's or master's
in related field; and ability to work flexible
hours, including some weekends and evenings.

Full-time, available immediately. Salary is
commensurate with experience; attractive
benefits. Send resume, cover letter, salary
requirements, and three professional
references (including one supervisor) to:

Sojourners Neighborhood Center
Executive Director Search
2401 15th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

For more information, go to:


H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
Call to Renewal Convenes Fifth National Round Table

At a time in our nation's history when politicians, 
the media, and the nation as a whole are grappling 
with issues of religious faith in the public arena, 
Call to Renewal brought a diverse group of denominations 
and faith-based organizations to the table to dialogue. 
For the first time, this event was open to the press.

The September 20 gathering of Christians from across 
the country provided an important opportunity to discuss 
the upcoming election and what role the candidates' faith 
should have in the public discourse.

Groups represented included the National Association of 
Evangelicals, The National Council of Churches, The 
Salvation Army, and the United States Catholic Conference/
National Conference of Catholic Bishops. In all, more
than 40 denominations and faith-based organizations took 
part in the event.

In his Washington Times article on September 21, Larry 
Witham remarked that the Round Table's "meditation on 
how Jesus washed the feet of others" was a "far cry from 
the profile of candidates eyeing White House power and voters
wanting cash benefits."

The diverse group of Christian leaders agreed to further 
discuss, and hopefully agree, on specific policy suggestions 
on several topics in the coming months, including children
in poverty, the criminal justice system, and urban decay.

Stay tuned to Call to Renewal's Web site for further details.


O n   t h e   R o a d
Sojourners road trips

September 29, 2000
David Batstone
Westmont College
Santa Barbara, California
"...And His Disciples Are Turning the World
Upside Down"

For more info, contact:
Steven Schultz


October 3, 2000
Washington, D.C.

October 6-7, 2000
Denver, Colo.

Jim Wallis and the Call to Renewal
celebrate "faith-working"

For more info, contact: Call to Renewal
at (202)328-8745 or



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

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And even when it does work, the sound quality
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little tinny - like a CB or walkie-talkie -
and there was a slight delay or echo in the
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But what do you expect for free, a pin drop?

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