The Common Good

SojoMail

Sojomail - September 7, 2001

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

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

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                 Visit: http://www.Sojo.net
                 

++++++++++++++++++++ 07-September-2001 +++++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
     *Never the Twain shall meet...

 H e a r t s   &   M i n d s
     *Let's fix the problems, not abandon the program

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *Just another miracle at the golf course

 B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
     *Sojourners participates in anti-globalization actions

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *Poetry for the heart

 B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
     *Leaving the family farm

 B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
     *Home alone - a new U.S. standard

 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
     *Kicking the Hobbit: Lord of the Rings comes to film

 P. O. V.
     *A letter back to Australia

 H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
     *When free trade is too much of a good thing

 W o r d   o n   a   W i r e
     *Life is a gift

 W e b  S c e n e
     *Where were you on the day the world was born?
     *Tour the fantastic forest
     *All the news that's fit to haiku
     *Check out your phobias
     
*****************************************************************

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

"We are always more anxious to be distinguished
for a talent we do not possess, than to be praised
for the fifteen we do possess."

                               - Mark Twain

*****************************************************************

H e a r t s   &   M i n d s
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Let's fix the problems, not abandon the program

by Jim Wallis

After a rejuvenating rest with my family, it's 
good to be back.

While I was away on vacation, John DiIulio 
announced that he was resigning as head of the
White House Office on Faith-Based and Community 
Initiatives. He cited the toll on his health 
and his family - commuting on 4 a.m. trains 
from Philadelphia to Washington several times 
a week - and the fact that his commitment to 
the job had only been for six months. 

But John also noted the bitter partisan debate 
over an idea he remains committed to - the 
importance of grassroots community and faith-
based organizations in the struggle to 
overcome poverty. DiIulio said, "It's a tough 
environment to work in when sometimes partisan 
considerations get in the way of the bald truth." 
He went on to say that it's "very frustrating 
and unfair...to people of good will on both sides. 
It's all the things the American people find 
distasteful. Things that should be bipartisan can 
turn partisan. Things that should bring people 
together divide them." 

I didn't vote for George W. Bush last year, and 
based on the record of his first six months, I 
won't the next time. But I believe that genuine 
opposition to many of Bush's policies is not a 
good reason to oppose every aspect of the faith-
based and community initiative - which, if done 
right, could really help many low-income families 
and their children. But this discussion hasn't 
been about how best to do a potentially good 
thing. Instead, debate has become bitterly 
politicized. 

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Andrew 
Young challenged his fellow liberals on the 
faith-based initiative. The former Democratic 
member of Congress, mayor of Atlanta, U.N. 
ambassador, and current president of the 
National Council of Churches wrote: "This is 
not a political issue, but a social one that 
involves caring for those who cannot care for 
themselves - a concern and responsibility for 
Republicans and Democrats alike. In fact, 
Charitable Choice was passed in 1996 under a 
Democratic administration with bipartisan 
support. Then, there were none of the alarmist 
reactions from various quarters that have 
accompanied the introduction of this year's 
legislation. Are such reactions based on the 
fact that this year's bill was introduced by 
a Republican, rather than a Democratic, 
administration?"

Young stands almost alone among liberal 
Democrats (along with Rep. Tony Hall of 
Ohio) when he says, "I am concerned 
that the Democrats in Congress, especially 
those who opposed the initiative even 
though they supported previous versions 
of it, now risk the perception that they 
are practicing partisan politics at the 
expense of the needy. I hope the Senate 
will support the initiative, and that my 
Democratic colleagues will join in 
reaffirming the vital role of faith-based 
organizations in serving the neediest 
members of our society."

I agree that the legislation that passed the 
House this summer has serious flaws. But the 
solution is to correct them, not to destroy 
the entire concept. The good news is that 
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Democratic 
leader who believes in a role for faith in 
politics and in the effectiveness of faith-
based organizations at the grassroots level -
is now crafting new legislation that he will 
introduce in the Senate. Majority Leader Tom 
Daschle has promised that it will come to the 
floor of the Senate early next year. A 
Democratically sponsored bill on faith-based 
initiatives, with broad Republican support, 
could open up a truly bipartisan 
discussion and overcome the perception of 
some that this is nothing but a bad idea 
from the Bush White House.

I met yesterday with several members of Sen. 
Lieberman's senior staff, and we discussed 
three major points of concern.

First, we agreed on the importance of new 
resources for fighting poverty - particularly 
in the areas of housing, childcare, 
transportation, and health insurance. Simply 
expanding the pool of service providers 
without providing the necessary resources 
won't work. Faith-based organizations can't 
take more responsibility with less resources 
or be put in the impossible position of 
competing for diminishing funds.

Second, it remains my belief that churches 
should establish separate nonprofit 
organizations for government funds. My 
conversations with many people about the 
separation of church and state convince me 
that requiring 501(c)3 status for government 
funding would go a long way toward alleviating 
most of their fears and concerns, and doing 
so does not present any insumountable obstacles 
for faith-based organizations. Accepting 
public funding directly into a church bank 
account is not a good idea, and the law 
should recognize that.

Third, and most controversial, we need to 
carefully resolve the relationship between 
the ability of religious organizations to 
hire people who share their religious mission 
and the importance of civil rights and anti-
discrimination laws. Most resonable people 
(and most civil rights groups) have historically 
defended the right, for example, of a synagogue 
not to have to hire a Baptist preacher as their 
rabbi. At the same time, the religious community 
has been central to the fight for civil rights 
and anti-discrimination laws. While there are 
no easy answers or formulas to resolve the 
tension between those two crucial principles, 
I believe, with a good faith effort, this 
question can be satisfactorily answered for 
faith-based organizations who might receive 
some public funding for certain of their 
programs.

As Congress reconvenes and the Senate begins 
work on faith-based legislation, let's all 
take a deep breath, regroup, and work together 
to figure out the appropriate ways that faith-
based and community organizations can partner 
with government to overcome poverty. Those we 
serve deserve no less. And let's hope John can 
get some rest.

----------------------------------------------------------------

F u n n y  B u s i n e s s
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Just another miracle at the golf course

Rev. Francis Norton woke up Sunday morning
and, realizing it was an exceptionally beautiful and
sunny early spring day, decided he just had to
play golf. So he told the associate pastor that he was
feeling sick and convinced him to say Mass for him
that day. As soon as the associate pastor left the
room, Father Norton headed out of town to a golf
course about 50 miles away. This way he knew he
wouldn't accidentally meet anyone he knew from his
parish. Setting up on the first tee, he was pleased
to see he was alone.

At about this time, St. Peter leaned over to the
Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed,
"You're not going to let him get away with this, are
you?" The Lord sighed, and said, "No, I guess not."

Just then Father Norton hit the ball and it shot
straight towards the pin, dropping just short of it,
rolled up and fell into the hole. It was a 325-YARD
HOLE IN ONE! St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the
Lord and asked, "Why did you let him do that?" The
Lord smiled and replied, "Who's he going to tell?"

------------------------------------------------------------------
B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Sojourners joins anti-globalization actions

September 29th and 30th, Washington, D.C.

Thousands of protesters will gather on the 
streets of D.C. the last weekend in September.
Sojourners is actively organizing to make sure 
these demonstrations are peaceful and nonviolent. 
We invite you to join us.

Sojourners is part of the "Religious Working Group on
the IMF and World Bank," whose agenda is to call to
accountability the economic policies of these two
institutions. We do this through regular dialogue with
influential members within the IMF and World Bank and
through on-the-ground resistance to policies that hurt
poor people here in the United States and around the
world. Our word to them is simple and clear:
Put the poor first.

Sojourners invites you to be involved in four activities:

1. "A Fast for Justice and Life: Resisting Violence
in the Global Economy." During the recent G-8 meetings
the European religious community organized a "rolling
prayer fast." In the U.S. (and around the world) we
would like to do the same for the September 29-30
meetings in Washington, D.C. We'll write more about this
in upcoming SojoMails, but to get a comprehensive outreach
kit sooner call Witness for Peace at (202) 588-1471 or
the Religous Working Group at http://www.religiouswg.org.

2. "The Interfaith Service of Commitment to Restoration
and Justice in the Global Economy." Yikes! What a name!
On Saturday, September 29, 8:30 p.m., at St. Aloyisius Church
in D.C., the people of God will come together to
worship, pray, praise, and plead with God to bring a reign
of justice right down on the heads of the rich, the IMF,
the Bank, and the poor. This will be followed by an all-
night candlelight prayer vigil in front of the World Bank.
For more information on this call the Maryknoll Office
of Global Concerns at (202) 832-1780. If you are not able
to join us here in D.C., consider a vigil or service
at your place of worship, home, shopping mall, or federal
building, or other creative location.

3. Sign the "Call to Communities of Faith: Global
Arrogance or Planetary Community?" Rabbi Arthur
Waskow and the Shalom Center have invited people to
join them during Yom Kippur (September 26) to reflect
and act on issues of power, care for the earth, the
rights of the worker, and responsibility toward the
common good. Sojourners has signed on to this and
we hope you will too. For more on this contact Rabbi
Arthur Waskow at awaskow@aol.com.

4. Last, but not least, is the September 30 presence
on the Ellipse (south side of the White House) for everyone
to come together in a day of celebration, teaching, and
community. This gathering will have a three-platform
political agenda: a) Opposing "Fast Track" trade
negotiating authority and the proposed Free Trade Area
of the Americas; b) Supporting cancellation of poor
countries' debt and socially and environmentally harmful
World Bank and IMF policies; c) Full funding for the
Global AIDS Fund.

Visit http://www.sojo.net for further information and updates


******************* ADVERTISEMENT *****************************

        CONFERENCE ON RELIGION, CRIME & PUNISHMENT

The International Conference on Religion, Crime, & Punishment,
September 24-25, 2001, Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, Fla.
Theologians, philosophers, criminologists, sociologists,
psychologists, legal scholars, historians, clergy, and
professionals from the social service and government sectors
will examine the following topics: Crime and Religion;
Punishment and Religion; Church and State Relationships;
Philosophy of Science and Religion. Registration fee is $165.
For additional conference and registration information visit
http://www.dce.ucf.edu/rcp or contact Dr. Karol Lucken at
(407) 823-6487.

**************************************************************

S o u l   W o r k s
++++++++++++++++++++
A song of the heart

grace him my heart there grown pale
joy to hear and see him kind
but now I speak only to air
yet how like my mind he is to me

          - Alice Notley
            American poet living in Paris

------------------------------------------------------------------------

B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Leaving the family farm

by David Batstone

My brother and I spent some time together
with my parents this last weekend. My parents
moved across the country recently from Florida
and took up residence in a home near me in
coastal California. Out of a light banter over
a meal during the weekend, someone suggested
counting up the number of times my parents
had moved their home during their 49 years of
marriage. Their total shocked us: 23 times.
That's nearly a move every two years. Certainly
out of the ordinary, it seemed at first blush.
Then my wife and I went through the same exercise,
and discovered that in our 13 years of marriage
we have lived in six different homes. I guess
you'd call that a family pattern.

Multiply this trend geometrically across
a nation of migrant families - let's name it:
it's exactly what most of us are in the U.S.,
not only those who recently arrived on a boat
or jumped a fence - and you better understand
our cultural ethos in the United States. We
long for community, yet are constantly
uprooting ourselves in pursuit of a better
life. In the words of a U2 song, "I still
haven't found what I'm looking for." But
doggone it, I have the confidence that
one day soon I'll find it.

That's pure Americana.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Home alone - a new U.S. standard

For the first time, the number of households with
Americans living alone surpassed the number of
married-couple households with children. Here's a few
trends from the most recent U.S. census:

*The number of Americans living alone comprise
26% of all households.

*The percentage of married-couple households with
children under 18 has declined to 23.5% of all
households in 2000 from 25.6% in 1990.

*Households headed by single mothers account
for 7% of all households

*The number of unmarried couples in the U.S.
nearly doubled in the 1990s, to 5.5 million
from 3.2 million in 1990.

*The median age of first marriage for men: 27
The median age of first marriage for women: 25
In 1960, it was 20 years old for men, 22 for women.

*The median age of the country's population: 35.3

Source: U.S. Census and The New York Times

---------------------------------------------------------------------

B o o m e r a n g
++++++++++++++++++

William Bell, an officer with Christian Aid in London, writes:

Re: Rob Porter's Comments About Israel/Palestine Conflict

Firstly, please let me thank you for publicizing
Christian Aid's humanitarian work in Sojomail. In
response to the comments made by one of your readers,
I would like to make some general points with regard
to Christian Aid's position and then deal more
specifically with the issue of Gilo settlement.

Christian Aid's mandate from our sponsoring churches
is to strengthen the poor, firm in the belief that
all people are made in the image of God and therefore
of equal worth. In Israel and the Palestinian
territories, we work with Israeli and Palestinian,
Jewish, Muslim, and Christian groups, and have done
so for more than 25 years. Our work is guided and
informed by the experience of these partner
organizations.  We are committed to long-term
development programs in the West Bank, Gaza Strip,
and Israel and take no regard for ethnic group or
faith tradition.

Christian Aid believes that a peaceful resolution
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is necessary
for all peoples in the region to live in peace
and security with one another. Moves towards peace
must take into account the binding resolutions of
the U.N. Security Council, which call for withdrawal
from occupied territory. The security needs and
right to national self-determination of both
communities must be met in the search for a just
and lasting peace in the Holy Land.

Gilo is not a "suburb" of Jerusalem, as some like
to call it.  Gilo is an illegal Israeli settlement
built on land confiscated from the predominantly
Christian Palestinian town of Beit Jala (the world
Jala and Gilo come from the same root). The land
on which Gilo is built used to be orchards from
which the people of Beit Jala would make a living.
Contravening U.N. resolutions, Israel has annexed
part of Beit Jala and incorporated it within the
amorphous municipal boundaries of Jerusalem.
Thus, the illegal settlement of Gilo is now
inaccurately referred to by some as a "suburb"
of Jerusalem. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to
reiterate that Christian Aid both deplores and
condemns violence, whoever the perpetrator, and
strives for a solution that allows all the
people of this troubled region to live in peace
and security.  

---------------------

Dennis Brown of Mount Sidney, Virginia, wrote:

I do not profess to be an expert on the Middle East.
But there is just something about a heavily armed nation
that was once a terrorist state, that owes its
existence to a benevolent or guilt-ridden world,
beating up on its neighbor who lost its statehood by
the creation of theirs. And then for reasons beyond
my understanding American Jews go to Israel and make
the situation worse by moving into settlements on land
that rightfully belongs to the Palestinians. I am a
pacifist, a member of the Church of the Brethren, but
I confess there are days when I wish the Palestinians
had the fire power to stand up for themselves.  God
forgive me.  

--------------------

Dave Pruett of Lake Village, Arizona, wrote:

I love SojoMail. I rarely disagree with an article,
but the article in Sojourners magazine "'Israel
Holds the Cards': Rabbis for Human Rights" (Sept-Oct 2001) 
is not quite fair.

First, the Israelis do not hold all the cards. A peace
accord was reached that offered the PLO more than they
were asking for. As some commentators have said, this
was taken as a sign of "weakness" by a group that only
believes in strength. Instead of leaping at an incredible
offer, Arafat and his "gang" demanded more. Arafat
thrives on war, could not hold power without war, so a
settlement is not a part of his mentality. And instead
of waging war on Israeli Defense Forces, he has attacked
innocent people, women and children, school busses full
of students, and shoppers in Jerusalem. That could stop
at any time; talks could re-open. How dare anyone say
Israel has all the cards. Israel is hostage to a gang
of thugs.

My own church has been taken in; in fact, I expect
"Christians" are the only ones blind to what really
is going on. So why don't you don helmet and flak
jacket and travel to Israel to see for yourselves?
Hotel rates are great now.

-----------------------

Jon Adelsman of Olympia, Washington, wrote:

Mr. Porter and his Jerusalem friend clearly believe
that those who don't share their views regarding the 
Middle East conflict either have an agenda or are just
"plain stupid." If I relied only on mainstream news
I believe I would indeed still be "stupid" concerning
the truth of this terrible conflict. Fortunately I
have read Tom Segev's book, "One Palestine, Complete"
and am familiar with Rabbi Michael Lerner's writings
and http://www.Tikkun.org. What truly puzzles me is how so
many people can continue to portray Israel as the
innocent victim and the Palestinians as demonic
terrorists if they have even a partial knowledge of
the true history and facts. Such appalling and
apparent deliberate deceit certainly does Israel and
its just cause to live in peace a grave disservice.
 
--------------------

Tracy Bechtel of Colorado wrote:

I have been a United Methodist for almost 10 years.
The UM church I belong to is the best place I have
been for several years. It is a member of the
Reconciling Congregation movement, meaning opened to
and affirming of the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transexual
(GLBT) community. 

I don't think that we will be participating in the
[church's] publicity campaign because the denomination 
itself is not willing to end its exclusion of gays and 
lesbians.  We are uncomfortable with taking part
because we feel that would not be honest.

If the United Methodist church truly wanted to be
seen as welcoming and a church full of love, they
would acknowledge and honestly accept the GLBT
community who have much to offer in the life of
the church. 

--------------------------------------

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

"boomerang@sojo.net"

****************************************************************************

Read the cover story of the September/October issue
of Sojourners magazine, "Against Impossible Odds,"
about an interfaith nonviolent movement taking
root in Palestine. Go to:

http://www.sojo.net/magazine/index.cfm/action/sojourners/issue/soj0109/article/010910.html

NOT A SOJOURNERS MAGAZINE SUBSCRIBER? SIGN UP AT A SPECIAL
INTRODUCTORY RATE! GO NOW TO:

https://www.kable.com/pub/sjrn/newsubs.asp

****************************************************************************

C u l t u r e   W a t c h
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Kicking the Hobbit: Lord of the Rings comes to film

The book of the 20th century is about to become the
motion picture event of the 21st century. J.R.R.
Tolkien's groundbreaking "Lord of the Rings" epic
of good versus evil, extraordinary heroes, wondrous
creatures, and dark armies of terror will be presented
in a trilogy of feature films. "The Fellowship of the
Ring" is due out this December, followed by "The Two Towers"
in December 2002, and "The Return of the King" in 2003.
New Line Cinema's production of "The Lord of the Rings"
marks the first time an entire feature film trilogy is
being filmed concurrently with the same director and cast,
making it one of the longest, most massive, and most
unique productions in Hollywood history.

When it comes to the fantasy novels of J.R.R. Tolkien,
it is a truism that critics either love the books or
hate them: Concerning Middle Earth, there is no middle
ground. Such has been the case ever since Tolkien, an
Oxford philologist, first published his epic novel
"The Lord of the Rings" in three volumes ("The Fellowship
of the Ring," "The Two Towers," and "The Return of the
King") between 1954 and 1955. In 1956, W.H. Auden wrote
in The New York Times that, in some respects, Tolkien's
story of the hobbit Frodo's quest to destroy the Dark
Lord Sauron's "One Ring" of power surpassed even Milton's
"Paradise Lost." But that same year, Edmund Wilson, at
the time America's pre-eminent man of letters, dismissed
"The Lord of the Rings" as "balderdash" in a review for
The Nation titled "Ooh, Those Awful Orcs." Wilson also
swatted at Tolkien defenders like Auden and C.S. Lewis,
observing that "certain people - especially, perhaps,
in Britain - have a lifelong appetite for juvenile trash."

For a very intellectual introduction to some of the
literary history and criticism around the Tolkien
classics, read "Kicking the Hobbit," by Chris Mooney,
published in The American Prospect. Go to:

http://www.prospect.org/print/V12/10/mooney-c.html

------------------------------------------------------------------------

P. O. V.
+++++++++
A LETTER BACK TO AUSTRALIA

by Jim Peck

*Jim Peck is a United Church of Christ minister
who worked in politics before being ordained.
This open letter is a response to "A LETTER TO
AMERICA," written by an Australian priest and
published in last week's SojoMail.

Dear Barbara Le Rossignol:

It is good for Americans to hear perspectives from
people in other nations. These perspectives help us
understand ourselves better, so I am grateful for
your letter. Will you accept a response to your
observations about us, including an observation or
two about Australia?

You are correct in observing that none of our founding
documents define the responsibilities of citizens. You
are wrong to think we do not recognize that we have
responsibilities, both as individual citizens and as
a nation among other nations. Our individual rights
are limited by statute, judicial decision, common law,
custom, and personal choice.

I have a constitutionally protected right to own a gun,
but for both moral and practical reasons, I do not own
one. If I did, my use of it would be limited by law.
The excessive violence in American life is, I believe,
a direct result of this protection. I, for one, favor
amending our Constitution to remove it. The United
States is not a police state, though, attempting to
control every action of every citizen.

I must also say that our freedoms do benefit the weak
and the needy. We have a constitutionally protected
right to petition our government for redress of
grievances. I exercised this right a few weeks ago
when I stood in a public meeting and admonished the
mayor of my city regarding the police department's
practice of racial profiling. The police captain was
present, as were other elected officials, and I have
no fear at all that the police will come to my house
and arrest me for speaking against them. Every time a
journalist writes against the death penalty or in
support of free national health care for all, our
freedoms are being exercised on behalf of the weak or
needy. Every time a peaceable assembly is held to
demand justice for the poor, our freedoms are being
exercised on behalf of the weak and needy.

I do not see a logical connection between your argument
about individual rights and responsibilities and the
international policies of the current American
administration.  Nonetheless, your point is well taken.
I agree that our current president has not acted
responsibly in these matters. He said in a debate
during the election campaign that American foreign
policy should be "humble," hardly the word I would
use to describe his actions since his inauguration.
Under our system, he is our president for four
years even if party control of our congress changes.

But you seem to think that no one in the United States
is challenging his decisions. Nothing could be further
from the truth. In addition, there are many international
agreements that we continue to support and abide by.
Last week, the last Minuteman missile in eastern North
Dakota, a missile built during the Cold War, was
destroyed in accordance with arms limitation treaties
signed with the former Soviet Union.

I accessed the Australian Constitution Act and its
subsequent amendments through the Web site of the
Australian National Archives. None of these documents
define the responsibilities of Australian citizens.
Indeed, in unattributed commentary on the same Web site,
I found this statement: "Researchers may be disappointed
to learn that the rights and obligations which they
regard as crucial components of citizenship were not
treated as such by the Commonwealth government.
Citizenship in Australia has never been clearly defined
by reference to a set of rights and corresponding
obligations."

I have been under the impression that Australia is
compassionate to refugees and welcoming to immigrants.
Your government's refusal to allow entry to the
Afghan refugees is changing my impression. I have been
under the impression that Australia is progressive
on issues of gay and lesbian equality, but your prime
minister has spoken some harsh words recently about
same-sex relationships.  Have I been under the wrong
impression on both matters?

I am grateful for your letter. Because the United
States is a powerful nation, we need your thoughts to
remind us of the responsibilities that accompany such
power. I, and many others in the United States, are
working to hold our leaders accountable for their
actions, both domestically and internationally. I
trust you are doing the same with your leaders.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
When free trade is too much of a good thing

A senior World Bank official said that developing
countries could gain $200 billion more a year to
combat poverty if industrialized nations lowered
trade barriers and increased foreign aid, the Wall
Street Journal reported.

The WTO has scheduled a ministerial meeting in Qatar
for November in an effort to revive progress on the
next round of tariff reductions. But many
difficulties remain unresolved. The WTO has made
a number of appeals recently in an effort to stimulate
interest in lowering trade barriers before the Qatar
meeting. In a speech last spring at the London Business
School, the WTO director-general affirmed that "the
economic case for a new WTO round is compelling."
Cutting barriers to trade in agriculture, manufacturing,
and services by one-third would boost the world
economy by $613 billion, he said.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

W o r d   on   a   W i r e
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Life is a gift

by Michaela Bruzzese

Readings for September 9:

Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18;
Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-33

The psalmist stands in wonder, utterly overwhelmed
by the gift of life given to each of us as God's
first act of unconditional love: "Such knowledge
is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to
attain. Truly you have formed my innermost being.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully
made" (Psalm 139:13-14). Truly we each begin purely
as gift and as gifted; we are granted the spirit
of life at no cost, with nothing owed. 

Read this week's complete scripture reflection at:

http://www.sojo.net/magazine/index.cfm/action/sojourners/issue/soj0109/article/010949.html#010909

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

W e b  S c e n e
++++++++++++++++

*Where were you on the day the world was born?

The Big Myth is a new experimental learning
module designed for use in school classrooms.
It is a fantastic introductory reference for
the comparative study of world creation mythology.
The myths are told using flash animation and
are accompanied by an overview of the culture,
the pantheon of the gods, and a series of
exercises based on that culture. Highly
recommended; it deserves its many design
awards. Go to:

http://www.bigmyth.com/

------------------

*Tour the Fantastic Forest

National Geographic lets you take a
multimedia tour of the Fantastic Forest.
Get your safari on at:

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/features/96/forest/

------------------

*All the news that's fit to haiku

The fact that this site presents the day's
news as haiku poetry is strange enough. The
fact that the poems are computer-generated is
eerie, particularly when you see how clever
some of them can be. Go to:

http://www.headlinehaikus.com/

------------------

*Check out your phobias

Most people know about claustrophobia,
agoraphobia, and xenophobia. But do you know
what people fear when they suffer from
ephebiphobia, logizomechanophobia, or
homichlophobia? (Teenagers, computers, and
fog.) Learn about hundreds of phobias at
this site. Go to:

http://www.phobialist.com/

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