The Common Good


Sojomail - March 16, 2001

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

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

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++++++++++++++++++++ 16-March-2001 +++++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
     *Gene Mauch on leadership

 H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
     *"Results, not religion"

 H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
     *Call to Renewal summit begins this weekend

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *Ed Spivey: Code blue!...or is it red?

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *Boomer Buddhism

 P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
     *Mideast conflict by the numbers

 B i z   E t h i x
     *Saving the slice at a time

 C u l t u r e   W a t c h
     *Are you a cultural creative? Take our test...

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

 F a i t h  &  P o l i t i c s
     *New study: Religion leads you to the streets

 B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
     *Urge Bush and Congress to cancel 3rd World debt

 W e b  S c e n e
     *Businesses that restore the Earth
     *Tools for your home spiritual practice
     *Find recycling centers: state and local gov't on the Net


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

"You can't lead anyone else further than
you have gone yourself."

                 - Gene Mauch


H e a r t s   &   M i n d s
"Results, not religion"

by Jim Wallis

After weeks of questions from the Left, the 
Bush administration has been surprised by 
unexpected opposition from religious conservatives 
to its faith-based initiatives program. Fears are 
being expressed that funding might not go to groups 
whose social programs are too intertwined with 

The new White House Office is clearly focusing on 
inner city churches directly serving their 
communities. Those churches and their pastors operate 
on the ground, in the neighborhoods, and get results, 
according to John DiIulio, the head of the new White 
House office. DiIulio's primary connections and 
confidences are not in white suburban evangelical 
churches, but in black and Latino faith-based urban 
programs. For him, that's where the real action is.

In a speech last week to the National Association of 
Evangelicals, DiIulio admonished "predominantly white, 
exurban evangelical" leaders for their lack of 
involvement in solving urban problems. He went on to 
say that their objections to the new faith-based 
initiative would "rankle less if they were backed by 
real human and financial help" in overcoming poverty. 
The Catholic DiIulio doesn't claim to be an expert on 
evangelical affairs. But as an evangelical myself, I 
know the rebuke rings painfully true - the white 
suburban evangelical churches' record on urban poverty 
is not one of which anybody should be proud. Indeed, 
that's why evangelical groups like the NAE and World 
Vision are trying to change the stereotype.

The White House office promotes "funding results, not 
religion," according to DiIulio. In his NAE speech, 
DiIulio made it clear that the government will not fund 
proselytizing, but rather social service programs that 
can be separated from a specifically religious message. 
The programs that are purely "conversion-oriented" could 
only receive support through a voucher system that gives 
recipients a choice of service providers. DiIulio (and 
President Bush) have also made it clear that faith-based 
initiatives must not replace legitimate government 
responsibilities. In an interview last week, DiIulio told 
me that government still has obligations for the big 
structural needs like Medicaid for poor kids, health 
care for the uninsured, affordable housing, and 
education - things that local grass-roots groups, with 
or without faith, simply cannot provide.

DiIulio concluded his speech to the NAE by saying: "To 
me, the essential Christian social teaching is that there 
are no 'strangers,' only brothers and sisters we have 
yet to meet, greet, get to know, and come to love. I 
pray daily that I may honor that teaching in word and 
deed. Together, let's hold each other and all God's 
children, especially our poor and needy, in our hearts. 
If we do, then yesterday's disagreements and today's 
misunderstandings will be eclipsed tomorrow by 
faith-based and community initiatives so self-emptying 
in their obedience and love that they move the very 
heart of God."

May that be a daily prayer for all of us.


H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
CTR Summit starts this weekend

Facing the Divide: Mobilizing Networks to Overcome
Poverty takes place March 18-21 at National
City Christian Church in Washington, DC.

Two voices recently have been added to the Summit 
list. Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake will be leading our closing
worship service Tuesday night, March 20. Rev. Flake is a
former U.S. Representative and is the senior pastor
of the 10,000-member Allen African Methodist
Episcopal Church in Jamaica, Queens. During his
years in Congress, Flake established a reputation
for bipartisan, innovative legislative initiatives
to revitalize urban commercial and residential
communities. His church, Allen AME, is the second
largest African-American employer in New York City.

Presidential adviser Stephen Goldsmith will be
representing the Bush administration at Wednesday
morning's Capitol Hill event. As mayor of
Indianapolis, Goldsmith earned a national reputation
for his efforts to coordinate a network of government
and faith-based partnerships to revitalize the city.
He was a domestic policy adviser during the Bush
campaign and now serves on the board of the
Corporation for National Service, which is the
parent agency for federal programs like AmeriCorps.

There is still room for you! Register at the event.
For more information go to:


F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
Code blue!...or is it red?

By Ed Spivey, Jr.

My heart has a curious sense of humor. Every
three or four years something strikes it as
funny and it chuckles arhythmically in my
chest. Maybe it's anticipating how humorous
I look when, immediately thereafter, I fall
to the floor and come to rest with my face
pressed against the carpet. At that moment
I usually think two things: (1) I'm having a
heart attack; (2) The floor really needs

And then, of course, there's the ride in the
ambulance with the cool flashing lights and
the neat siren. By the time I arrive at the
hospital, I'm actually feeling much better and
don't see why I should stay. But then they do
an electrocardiogram (KGB) which shows an abnormal
heart beat. I have to take the doctor's word for
this, since the print-out just shows a bunch of
squiggly little lines. Sort of like the artwork
our kids used to make and then we'd have to say
what a fine job they did even though it was
just a bunch of squiggly little lines. (Sorry
kids. But I can't live with the lies any longer.)

So for the next three hours I'm walking around
the emergency room with all these wires coming
out of me, not realizing that my movements were
sending false signals that I was either having a
major cardiac event or was standing in a pool
of water being struck repeatedly by lightning.

For Ed Spivey's true adventure through the surgery
ward, go to:


P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
Mideast conflict by the numbers

Ratio of public housing units built in Jewish
communities in Israel since 1975 to those built
in Arab communities: 337:1

Number of land mines per square mile left behind
in southern Lebanon by Israeli forces when they
withdrew last May: 376


S o u l   W o r k s
Boomer Buddhism

By Stephen Prothero

As anyone who hasn't spent the last few years
meditating in a cave in Asia knows, American
Buddhism is booming. The 1990s saw three Buddhist
movies and a gaggle of celebrity Buddhist pitchmen,
including Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and actor Richard
Gere. The United States is now home to at least
a million not-so-famous Buddhists as well, most of
them new immigrants from Asia. But Buddhism is
also popular among hip Americans who have never
attended a Zen center or visualized a Tibetan

Typically these sympathizers get their Buddhism,
as the beat author Jack Kerouac did, from books.
Buddhist bestsellers used to come along once a
decade: Kerouac's "Dharma Bums" in the '50s,
Philip Kapleau's "Three Pillars of Zen" in the
'60s, and Shunryu Suzuki's "Zen Mind, Beginner's
Mind" in the '70s. Today they materialize monthly,
along with more evanescent titles like "Zen and
The Art of Screenwriting" (really).

Demand for Buddhist books has turned many teachers
into stand-alone brands with remarkable marketing
muscle. The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh are
the Coke and Pepsi of this Buddhist generation,
but home-grown brands such as Jack Kornfield
and Lama Surya Das can also move 100,000 tomes
without getting off their zafus.[]

For more on "Boomer Buddhism," go to:


B i z  E t h i c s
Saving the Earth, one slice at a time

At $1.85 a slice, the daily pizza special at
Guido's Restaurant in Boise, Idaho, delivers
more than just a mouth-watering taste of sage,
thyme, and mushrooms slathered in olive oil
and white sauce.   
The Owyhee National Monument Pizza is also
cooked up to make a statement and give hungry
patrons an opportunity to vote for landscape
preservation with their stomachs.

A percentage of the money goes straight from
the cash register to a grass-roots campaign aimed
at securing greater protection for the rugged
cliffs of the Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands.

Certainly, the phenomenon of businesses teaming
up with nonprofits in support of a cause isn't
new. But increasingly, smaller shopkeepers and
mid-size corporations are taking responsibility
for their own backyards.

Moreover, with national public-opinion polls
showing that most Americans firmly back environmental
protection, businesses are finding that these
partnerships are not just good for charity, but
also good for the bottom line.[]

Read the full story at:


C u l t u r e  W a t c h
Are you a 'Cultural Creative?'

A new book, "The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million
People Are Changing the World," by Paul H. Ray and
Sherry Ruth Anderson, is a detailed study of an
interesting category of folk that may sound familiar
to SojoMail readers. You are likely to be a Cultural
Creative if you... 

1.  Love nature and are deeply concerned about its destruction
2.  Would pay more taxes or pay more for consumer goods if you
    could know the money would go to clean up the environment
    and to stop global warming
3.  Place a great deal of importance on developing and
    maintaining your relationships
4.  Volunteer for one or more good causes
5.  Care intensely about both psychological and spiritual
6.  Want more equality for women at work, and more women
    leaders in business and politics
7.  Are concerned about violence and abuse of women and
    children around the world
8.  Want our politics and government spending to put more
    emphasis on children's education and well-being, on
    rebuilding our neighborhoods and communities, and on
    creating an ecologically sustainable future
9.  Are unhappy with both the Left and the Right in politics,
    and want a to find a new way that is not in the mushy middle
10. Tend to be somewhat optimistic about our future, and
    distrust the cynical and pessimistic view that is given
    by the media 
11. Are concerned about what the big corporations are doing
    in the name of making more profits: downsizing, creating
    environmental problems, and exploiting poorer countries
12. Have your finances and spending under control, and are
    not concerned about overspending
13. Dislike all the emphasis in modern culture on success and
    "making it," on getting and spending, on wealth and luxury
14. Like people and places that are different and foreign, and
    link experiencing and learning about other ways of life.
And if you think that sounds like the stereotypical cast of
New-Agers, explode your prejudices at:


B o o m e r a n g

Betty Neville Michelozzi of Corralitos, California wrote:

Re: Traffic and the drug war....An activist said at a
talk recently, "Like 'communism,' "War on Drugs' is a
code word." It rouses people to support the cause of
the moment, for example, getting us embroiled in a
civil war in Colombia, supplying weapons to one side
as we did in Central America. The result there was
terrible. What will it be in Colombia?

Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of
views. Want to make your voice heard? Send
Boomerang e-mails to the editor:



F a i t h   &   P o l i t i c s
Religion leads you to the streets

New study shows that religion coincides with
social involvement, not isolation

Religious ties motivate Americans to participate
in community-building social activities, according
to results from the new Social Capital Community
Benchmark Survey. 

Among 30,000 Americans polled, religious belief
and participation emerged as the key indicator of
civic involvement. People with religious ties scored
higher in measures of trust of others and were likely
to have a wider, more diverse circle of friends
than non-religious people, in addition to giving
and volunteering for charitable causes at higher-
than-average rates.

Principal investigator in the project was Robert
Putnam, a Harvard University professor and the
author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and
Revival of American Community. The survey may
indicate that America's social ties are in better
shape than Putnam predicted in his book. More
than three-quarters of respondents identified
themselves with either or both of two key
benchmarks of civic engagement: involvement in
religion and tolerance for those of a different
racial or ethnic background.

For copies of the survey results, contact: Saguaro
Seminar, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
University, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138; 
(617) 495-8809; or point your browser to:


B u i l d i n g   A   M o v e m e n t
Action to cancel 3rd World debt

This action alert originates from the Jubilee
USA Network:

Tell President Bush and your members of Congress
that it is time to complete the unfinished
business of Jubilee debt cancellation. Ask them to
instruct the World Bank, International
Monetary Fund, Inter-American Development
Bank, and Asian Development Bank to cancel the
debts of low-income countries now, using their
own resources, without requiring Structural
Adjustment Programs, and without requiring
privatization of public resources such as water.

Ask President Bush to make debt cancellation a
top priority for action this year. Remind him of
his campaign promise to cancel debts of Third
World countries. Urge him to advocate with other
creditor country leaders for cancellation of debts
owed to the World Bank, IMF, and regional
development banks. Thank him for putting $240
million in his budget for debt reduction. Make
the connection between debt and the global AIDS
crisis, which Bush has also promised to act on.


1) Send a signed letter to: President George W.
Bush, The  White House, Washington, DC 20500

2) Send similar letters to your Senators: (A
complete list is available at 
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510

3) Send a similar letter to your Representative:
(A complete list is available at
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20510


W e b  S c e n e

*The Natural Step  

The Natural Step helps many companies worldwide to
transform their business from one that takes away
from the Earth to one that's restorative. Go to:



Tools for practicing spirituality in the day-to-day,
including parenting ideas, weekly meditation, and
a wealth of resources, go to:


*State and local government on the Net

Maybe you're in the mood to e-mail your state's governor, or
you want to find your town's nearest recycling center.
Whatever local government information you're seeking,
chances are this site can point you in the right direction
with its well-organized collection of links to U.S. state,
county, and city government Web sites. Go to:


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