The Common Good


Sojomail - July 13, 2001

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

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

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++++++++++++++++++++ 13-July-2001 +++++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
     *John Steinbeck...owning and being owned

 H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
     *Could Milosevic trial set precedents for U.S.?

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *Word play 

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *Lord's Prayer for cellular believers

 W o r d   o n   a   W i r e
	*Who is my enemy?

 B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
     *Segregation still touches U.S. minorities where they live

 B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
     *Why Johnny and Susie hate sports...

 C u l t u r e   W a t c h
     *New film by Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers

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

 R e l i g i o n   &   S o c i e t y
     *Vicar in tune with karaoke hymn-singing

 B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
     *Working Assets to help nonprofits - including Sojourners!

 W e b  S c e n e
     *Energy savers: tips on saving money and energy at home
     *Someone actually cares to hear you whine
     *Airline tracker
     *Real swell: best USA surfing (offline)

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

"If you could separate causes from results, if you
could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin, were
results, not causes, you might survive. But that
you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes
you forever into 'I,' and cuts you off forever from
the 'we.'"

           - John Steinbeck in "The Grapes of Wrath"


H e a r t s   &   M i n d s
Could Milosevic trial set precedents for U.S.?

by Jim Wallis

During the 1999 bombing of Serbia, I wrote in an MSNBC 
column that the creation of an international court to 
try those accused of ethnic cleansing and war crimes 
would be a far more effective way of dealing with those 
situations than massive attacks on a country.

In a sudden move two weeks ago, the Serbian government 
transferred former president Slobodan Milosevic to The 
Hague to stand trial before a U.N. war crimes tribunal. 
It is the first time a former head of state will go 
before an international court accused of war crimes. 
And it is the right thing to do; policy makers, 
including heads of state, should be held more 
culpable than the ordinary soldiers who are usually 
the ones tried.

The transfer of Milosevic did not come without 
substantial pressure. The United States had 
threatened to boycott an international conference 
considering aid to Yugoslavia unless the transfer 
occurred. Only two days after his arrival in The 
Hague, Western nations pledged $1.28 billion to 
help rebuild Yugoslavia. The New York Times quoted 
a Belgrade historian who said, "We sold him for 

In his first court appearance, Milosevic refused 
to respond to the charges against him and the 
next hearing is scheduled for August 27. It 
will be a trial of great significance for both 
Yugoslavia and the world, as any precedents set 
could have far-reaching implications.

During the bombing I also wrote that an 
international court, if it is truly to be an 
instrument of justice, must be able to rule on 
U.S. actions that violate international law. 
Yet the United States still has not approved 
the creation of the International Court of 
Justice: U.S. political leaders are not 
interested in such a body sitting in judgement 
of U.S. behavior.

In his now-famous opening statement to the 
Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945, U.S. chief prosecutor 
Justice Robert Jackson said: "We must never forget 
that the record on which we judge these defendants 
today is the record on which history will judge us 
tomorrow. ...While this law is first applied against 
German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to 
serve a useful purpose it must condemn, aggression 
by any other nations, including those which sit 
here now in judgment."

Those words are still true today. But no U.S. 
official has ever been judged for actions taken 
since then. From the atomic bombing of Hiroshima 
and Nagasaki to Vietnam to Central America and 
the war against Serbia, no court has punished the 
violations of international law committed by the 
United States.

The trial of Slobodan Milosevic could be a new impetus.



less than 2 weeks away (July 26-29 in Wheaton!), 
and you'll want to be there! Join us for any or all 
of the celebration. If you live in the Chicago area 
and would like to join us for an evening celebration, 
they are open to the public (for a suggested $5 
donation). The schedule:

Thursday 7/26 Tony Campolo, with the music of the 
DuPage AME Gospel Choir. Followed by a concert by 
Over the Rhine.

Friday 7/27 Jim Wallis and the music of Ken Medema.

Saturday 7/28 A panel discussion on Activism Through 
the Generations, moderated by Rev. Calvin Morris and 
including Vincent Harding, Rocky Kidd, and Jim Wallis. 
With the music of Carrie Newcomer, followed by 
David Wilcox in concert.

The festival also includes Bible studies (with 
Ched Myers, Leah Gaskin Fitchue, Bill Wylie-Kellermann, 
and others), workshops, peace camp and child care for 
the kids, an outdoor fair, cyber café, coffee house, 
Sunday worship led by Rev. Yvonne Delk, and more!

We have a one-day registration option, and group 
registration rates for parties of 10 or more. For 
more information, call Robin at 1-800-714-7474, or 
register online at


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

The Washington Post's Style Invitational asked readers
to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding,
subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new
definition. Here are some recent winners:
Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which
lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit
and the person who doesn't get it.
Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you
are running late. 

Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off
all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like,
the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

Glibido: All talk and no action.

Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem
smarter when they come at you rapidly.



Send them a sample edition along with an introductory
letter...all with no ongoing commitment. Go to:


S o u l  W o r k s
Lord's Prayer for cellular believers

The Lord's Prayer has been translated into the language
of the text message as part of a new plan to send church
services to worshippers on their mobile phones. "Our Father,
who art in heaven" has become dad@hvn while "forgive us
our trespasses" is rendered as "4give r sins."

Other prayers, readings, and meditations are also to be
translated to give worshippers an entire service in text
message format. The idea is to bring Christianity to a
generation that is "too busy to go to church." The Muslim
community has already seen the benefits of text-messaging
believers with their five daily "calls to prayer."

The mobile phone church services will be launched at the
Greenbelt arts and music festival in Cheltenham, UK,
in August. When their messages arrive, it is hoped the
young people will stop what they are doing and read them
aloud to friends around them, creating a new form of
simultaneous virtual worship.

The idea came from a religious service conducted by text
messages in Germany. The Lord's Prayer was conceived after
an on-line competition to find the best version, cutting
it from 372 characters to 160 or fewer. A history student
at York University came up with the accepted version.

For more on the story, go to:,,2-2001223504,00.html

W o r d   on   a   W i r e
Who is My Enemy?

Readings for July 15:

Amos 7:7-17; Psalm 82; Colossians 1:1-14; Luke 10:25-37

God calls each of us to struggle for justice,
no matter what our profession, education, or
experience, a lesson well told by the great
prophets of Israel. Amos testifies that "The
Lord took me from following the flock, and
said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'"
He does his job so well that he is eventually
expelled from the kingdom for preaching
repentance to a people whose idolatrous greed
and exploitation of the poor provokes God's
fury. The psalmist also calls Israel,
especially the powerful, to account, crying
out, "How long will you judge unjustly, and
favor the cause of the wicked?

B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
Segregation still touches U.S. minorities where they live

Despite increased diversity across the country,
U.S. neighborhoods remain highly segregated along
racial lines, according to a recent study. It found
that Asians and Latinos are increasingly segregated
from whites as they become a larger share of the
population in more places. Blacks remain the most
segregated, a pattern that has persisted since
segregation was first measured in the 1920s. Black-
white segregation is highest in the metro areas in
the Northeast and Midwest, areas that absorbed most
of the black migration from the rural South before
World War II. The average white lives in an area
that is 83 percent white and 7 percent non-white. The 
average black lives in a neighborhood that's more 
than half black and 33 percent white.

Of the 50 metropolitan centers with the largest percentage
of Asians, here are the 10 areas where Asians and whites
are most segregated:

                2000 rank               1990 rank

New York            1                       7
Stockton, CA        2                       1
Houston             3                       8
Sacramento          4                       6
San Francisco       5                       4
Los Angeles         6                      15
Vallejo, CA         7                      16
San Diego           8                      10
Detroit             9                       9
Atlanta            10                      17

Of the 50 metropolitan centers with the largest percentage
of blacks, here are the 10 areas where blacks and whites
are most segregated:

                2000 rank               1990 rank

Detroit             1                       1
Milwaukee/Waukesha  2                       4
New York            3                       7
Chicago             4                       2
Newark, NJ          5                       3
Cleveland           6                       5
Cincinnati          7                       6
Nassau-Suffolk, NY  8                       9
St. Louis           9                       8
Miami              10                      15

Of the 50 metropolitan centers with the largest percentage
of Latinos, here are the 10 areas where Latinos and whites
are most segregated:

                2000 rank               1990 rank

New York            1                       2
Newark, NJ          2                       1
LA/Long Beach       3                       5
Chicago             4                       4
Philadelphia        5                       3
Salinas, CA         6                       7
Boston              7                       8
Bergen, NJ          8                       6
Ventura, CA         9                      11
Orange County, CA  10                      14

*Source: Lewis Mumford Center, University of Albany


Bilingual Grassroots Manager Needed

Centro Independiente de Trabajadores Agricolas (CITA) 
seeks a non-profit manager to coordinate its development, 
administrative, and financial operations. Bilingual 
Spanish/English a must, 2-5 years experience in grassroots
management, and commitment to workplace justice. Send 
resume/cover letter to: A. Alacantara, CITA, POB 78, 
Florida, NY 10921


B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
Why Johnny and Susie hate sports

by David Batstone

Youth sports today are too often about frustrated
parents living out their own long-lost dreams on a
school playground. About sons becoming highly
recruited pitchers with college scholarships, about
daughters being the next Brandi Chastain.

Kids are fleeing sports in droves as a result. The
National Alliance for Youth Sports reports that
nearly 70 percent of the children drop out of
organized leagues by the age of 13. The number one
reason they gave in a survey was that it ceased to
be fun.

Maybe it's time to ban parents from the ballfields
and let the kids have their fun. In fact, youth
leagues around the country are starting to
institute a "no-tolerance rule." One outburst of
aggression and that parent is banned for the season.
That's certainly a good start.

But more is needed - above all, a total mind shift
about the goal of youth sports. Let's pause for
a reality check here. Youth leagues are not a
farm system for the NCAA. The chances of your
kid getting a college scholarship - let alone a
pro career - for kicking, throwing, or catching
a ball are next to nil. Whenever my son announces
he'll be going to North Carolina on a basketball
scholarship (and hey, he does have a great shot
for an 8-year old!), I tell him to deflate
the ball and pick up that book laying beside his
bed. While an academic scholarship might be the
equal of sinking a half-court shot, a sports
scholarship is the equal of throwing one in
the hoop from the parking lot.

I hold a silly hope that by joining a sports
league my children will gain skills that will
endure both on and off the field. I'm most proud
of my own children when they walk off the field
after a loss and feel proud of their efforts, or
show true respect for their opponent in a winning
effort. Spiritual maturity is to find value in
the win and the loss.

See below for the full article:




Culture Watch
New film by Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers

Director: Ra'nan Alexandrowicz
Producers: Liran Atzmon, Raed Andoni

THE TOUR, a feature-length documentary shot last
summer before the intifada, observes a three-day
bus tour bringing Palestinians from the West Bank
and Gaza into Israel. It brings home more
forcefully than countless pamphlets or meetings
the human loss that must be faced and the historical
injustice that must be remedied if there is to be
peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Look out
for it at your local (art house) theater.


Part-time job opening: Bilingual Minister

Western N.Y. minister sought by Hudson Valley based 
organization. Must be bilingual English/Spanish with 
experience in social change movements. Salary:
$13K (20 hrs./week). Reply by July 20, 2001 to:
Richard Witt, RMM, Box 4757, Poughkeepsie, NY 12602, 
or fax (845) 485-1963.

B o o m e r a n g

Tom Gilsenan of Ames, Iowa, wrote:

Thanks to [David Batstone] for his reflections on
gun violence. I know all too well what a terrible
epidemic it is among young people. During the 1990s,
while a teacher and community worker in
Minneapolis, more than a dozen young people I
knew were shot and killed with handguns.

So what can we do? I have these ideas: First, comfort
those who have suffered a homicide in their families.
If it has happened to parents you know, call them.
Ask them how they are doing. Say the name of their
deceased son or daughter out loud. If it has not
happened to someone you know, you can still reach out.
Next time you read about a youth homicide, find the
address of the family. Send them a card and let them
know you are grieving with them. These notes do
make a difference.
As a second step, speak out in favor of gun control.
Regulation of handguns is essential to halting the
epidemic of youth violence. Nearly every young person
I know who has been murdered has been shot and killed
with a handgun. 

Third, try to be a witness for peace at home and in
your neighborhood. As parents, we can do a lot to
teach and model ways to resolve conflicts without


Pam Swift of Glasgow, Scotland, wrote:

I've noticed a number of folks from the UK
amongst the Boomerang correspondents. I wonder
if they realise that they can take the Sojourners
journal for only £21 yearly and so help to build
up the Sojourners community in the UK. I am happy
to send a sample copy of the journal to anyone
who contacts me at with
their name and address. For a subscription at the
special introductory rate of £18 for the first year,
send cheques (payable to Sojourners UK) to
Sojourners UK, St. Matthew's, 200 Balmore Road,
Possilpark, Glasgow G20 0BQ.


Chris Beach of Tulsa, Oklahoma, wrote:

In response to the letter to President Bush last week,
I would like to offer my own letter to the president
via SojoMail: 

President George W. Bush
The White House 
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20050

Dear President Bush,

We are very appreciative of the fact that we are
receiving a tax rebate as a result of the Tax Relief
Act of 2001. We want to thank you for the government's
increased role in better serving the poor through
empowering the faith community.  We believe that
any government budget surplus should be given back
to taxpayers so they may donate more money to
faith-based ministries to help address the unmet
needs of our most vulnerable citizens. Please keep
up your efforts. We'll do our part!


Steven Clark of Bainbridge Island, Washington, wrote:

Farhad Manjoo seems to have missed the point of the
A.I. movie by getting lost in the technology. Spielberg
uses the medium to call the basic assumptions of Western
"civilization" into question. We have created a dichotomy
between myth and fact, so much that to many people,
myth = false.

Will Campbell has observed that we have become myth
poor. Our society has taught us that you don't respond
to myth. Thus, we cannot respond to God Who IS beyond
our language and science. Just because we have to use
myth to speak of that which is beyond our speech does
not mean it did not happen.


Mark Forrester of Nashville, Tennessee, wrote:

As always, I appreciate Jim Wallis' "Hearts & Minds,"
especially his post-McVeigh assessment of the death
penalty and where the public now sways. For those of
us who feel a biblical mandate to abolish state killing,
it comes as both bane and blessing that moratoriums,
like that called for by Gov. Ryan of Illinois, don't
really address the substance of the issue itself.
Moratoriums rightfully acknowledge racial and class
inequities in the system, how the poor and mostly
minority defendants in capital cases are under-
represented, how capital punishment means, essentially,
that those who don't have the capital get the punishment.
This is a good first step in the right direction, but
the journey from moratorium to abolition is long
and arduous. As a Christian it's hard to put a lot of
confidence in public opinion, since our Lord himself
was crucified only after Pilate took a poll.


Paul L. Whiteley Sr., of Louisville, Kentucky, wrote:

I hope Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's
rethinking the inequities of the death penalty will
lead to its abolishment in our country. The only way
executions are going to stop in America is for an
enlightened majority to vigorously protest the death
penalty and all its inequities. Then the Supreme Court
and members of Congress will pay attention to the
voice of the people and abolish the death penalty.
It is sad that every single Democrat and Republican
who ran for president in 2000 favored the death penalty.  
Most candidates for public office would be anti-death
penalty if a majority of the electorate opposed it.


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




Call to Renewal, a national network of churches and 
faith-based organizations committed to overcoming poverty, 
is seeking energetic candidates for the exciting new position 
of Campaign Manager.

The Campaign Manager shall:

* Develop policy associated with the Campaign to Overcome 
* Facilitate communications with elected and government 
* Provide a voice in Congress for those in poverty
* Coordinate and assure participation of entire CTR network 
(to include national partners, local affiliates, activities, 
and roundtables) in our "Campaign to Overcome Poverty"
* Represent the convener on campaign-related matters
* Participate in and facilitate strategic thinking
* Coordinate National Roundtables
* Work with CTR denominational and FBO policy representatives
* Assist convener with writing/speaking
* Oversee the Call to Renewal policy team
* Supervise campaign volunteers

For more information, go to or call 
(800) 523-2773.


R e l i g i o n   &   S o c i e t y
Vicar in tune with karaoke hymn-singing

by Maurice Weaver
UK Telegraph  

A vicar has improved the singing of hymns in his
church by installing a karaoke machine. The Rev.
Brian Duckworth's congregation failed to make
the heavens ring after their organist moved away.
But the karaoke machine has made all the difference
to services at St. John the Evangelist's Church in
Hucknall, Notts.

Rev. Duckworth can control the karaoke machine from
his pulpit and even take it with him for outside
services. "After the organist departed, one of our
worshippers stepped in with a guitar but then she
left, too," said Duckworth. "Our services were
getting very dull. I'm afraid singing unaccompanied
just wasn't the same," he added.

Stephen Langford, assistant secretary of the Southwell
Diocese, which approved the vicar's music-making idea,
said: "This machine is making its mark on St. John's in
a way the original organ probably did 100 years ago."

The congregation raised £2,850 to pay for the Digital
Hymnal, an American-made ecclesiastical version of the
Japanese sing-a-long device. It plays 2,400 hymns.


B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
Tax rebate matching grant through

Is your check from George W. Bush in the mail? We 
have a great idea for how to use this money. Show 
your opposition to Bush administration policies that 
punish the poor and endanger the environment by 
making a donation to Sojourners -- Working Assets and 
GiveForChange will match contributions (up to $1 million). 

Here's How It Works:
Just donate exactly $300 or $600 to Sojourners in one 
transaction through before November 
1, 2001 - and your donation will be matched. Please 
note: Your individual contribution will be matched up 
to $600 only.

You can even send President Bush a gift card to thank 
him for the rebate and to let him know about your 
donation. Just enter "President Bush, 1600 Pennsylvania 
Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500" in the gift card fields. 

As always, your online transaction is fast, easy, 
and tax-deductible - simply click to donate. Thank 
you for your generous support! 

To choose Sojourners as your rebate designee, click on:

To get more information about Working Assets and 
GiveForChange's campaign, see 


W e b  S c e n e

*Energy savers: tips on saving money and energy at home

The U.S. energy crisis is front-page news, but
there are steps you can take to conserve energy
and save money. This site has tips on home
insulation, lighting, landscaping, and more.


*Someone actually cares to hear you whine

Whether it's an airline that's lost your luggage
or a restaurant that gave you food poisoning, gives you an outlet to vent your
frustrations where it could do some good. Submit
your consumer horror story to,
and they'll publish it on the Web and send
a letter to the offending company. Go to:


*Airline tracker

This is a nifty Web site for the frequent flyer.
When you type in the flight number, it shows
you exactly where the plane is, the ETA, and
arrival gate, in real time! Go to:


*Real swell: best USA surfing (offline)

Surf the Web to find the best places to do some real
surfing. Swell is dedicated to bringing U.S. wave-riding
devotees the latest surf reports, forecasts, travel tips,
and much more. The site covers the surfing hot spots of
California and Hawaii as well as Florida, parts of the
East Coast, and even areas abroad, like Mexico, the
Caribbean, and South America. Surf on over to:


....................... E D I T O R I A L ......................

  David Batstone                               T 415.422.6660
  Executive Editor                         

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