The Common Good

Ramadan

Sojomail - November 15, 2001

               
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                       S O J O M A I L

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                   in days of violence and fear

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+++++++++++++++++++++++ 15-November-2001 +++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Ramadan ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
     *Taliban commander: We want to be martyrs

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

 B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
     *The American people are not ready for peace in Palestine

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *Respect Ramadan: prayers and practice for Week 1

 S o j o C i r c l e s
     *Become a leader...of a SojoCircle

 B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
     *U.S. spending $1 billion a month on war

 E y e   W i t n e s s
     *Firsthand reports from Afghanistan

 P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
     *Afghans: don't hand my country to warlords

 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
     *Afghan archivist of culture
     *Jesus is back, and she's Chinese

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *From: the White House; To: Al Gore

 W e b   S c e n e
     *Environmental news you can use
     *Peacemakers speak
     *Plant a peace garden
     *Telemarketing fraud: ditch the pitch
     
******************************************************************

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

"The Taliban, as true Muslims, are looking to become
martyrs. We want to die for a cause while [our
Western enemies] want to live."

            -- Akhtar Mohammad Usmani, the Taliban
               commander in southern Afghanistan,
               on CNN, November 4, 2001.

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

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

by Jim Wallis

I've decided to fast during Ramadan. Sojourners has also
called for a halt to the bombing during the Muslim holy
season, and to focus instead on feeding the millions of
people in Afghanistan who face starvation this winter.
But that's not why I'm fasting. The reason I'm going to
fast is because I need to. I need the period of prayer,
fasting, and reflection that Ramadan offers. First, I
need the prayerful, focused rest that Ramadan suggests.
Like many others, I have hardly gotten a decent night's 
sleep since September 11 - both from overwork and from 
worry.

And I do worry about a lot these days. I worry about a
bombing campaign that just recruits more terrorists,
that turns away millions of peaceful Muslims we will
need to defeat violent Islam, and an American war in the
Arab world that could easily spin out of control into
an endless cycle of violence. But I also worry about
more terrorist attacks, and I worry that my family
lives on a very valuable target. Last night, my wife
and I discussed what we should take with us if we have
to quickly evacuate Washington D.C.
 
I'm doing my best to offer the public debate better
ways to defeat terrorism but, to be both honest and
humble, I know I don't have all the answers. Prayer
helps me remember how much I need God.
       
This week, I met with church leaders from Lebanon,
Pakistan, Palestine, Indonesia, Russia, France, and
South Africa who were visiting the U.S. They were worried
too - about what they were hearing from American
Christians, about what a growing conflict between the
Christian West and Islam would do to their situations,
about going to the root causes of terrorist violence
but, at the same time, finding real short-term
strategies for stopping it. I think we all agreed that
we need more prayer.

Prayer can change things because it changes us. Prayer
can alter our perspective and point of view - helping
us to look at things in different and deeper ways.
During the Gulf war, I undertook a Lenten fast that
lasted 47 days. Nothing else I did during that period
made such an impact on my thinking and my spirit. It
also brought me a peace during war that I couldn't
understand, but was deeply grateful for. Prayer also
helped me locate the causes of war within my own heart
and life. 

So I am going to fast and pray during Ramadan because
I need it. I suspect many of us will at Sojourners,
perhaps in different ways. Maybe you'd like to join us.

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

On Wednesday, the Washington Post published an op-ed piece
by Jim Wallis highlighting three crucial points: the 
importance of humanitarian aid, preventing a wider war, 
and that stopping terrorism is fundamentally not a 
military issue.

For the op-ed, see:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24936-2001Nov13.html

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

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

B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The American people are not ready for peace in Palestine

by David Batstone

Reading the daily news that bleeds out of Palestine
feels like a bad re-make of the movie "Groundhog Day."
Violent attacks, counter-violence, flickering hopes of a
ceasefire, quickly dashed by a return to the downward
spiral. Each side points a soiled finger at the other
as the true villain. Powerless civilians left in tears
and agony.

George Bush, Colin Powell, and Tony Blair seem to appreciate
the urgent demand to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. Their language of late recognizes the valid
historical, cultural, and religious claims both
Palestinians and Israelis make for land ownership and
political sovereignty. That is a significant shift. Since
1948, Britain and the United States have carried out
a one-sided allegiance to Israel, almost deaf to the
justifiable demands for Arab justice.

Let's say it once loud and clear: there will be no peace
in the Middle East, nor will we effectively douse the
flames of terrorism, until a peace treaty is reached in
Palestine. It worries me that most Americans have not
reached that conclusion. As I've made my way around the
country giving talks in the last two months, I've
found a deeply shared belief in four myths that stand in
the way of peacemaking in Palestine:

1) I wish I had a Snickers bar (my weak spot) for every
time I've heard the statement: "Arabs and Jews will never
be able to get along." Truth is, for most of history that has
not been the case. By and large the Moor dynasty found room
for its Jewish population to live peacefully. And before
the centuries-long reign of the Moors, Jews and Arabs
co-existed peacefully in many regions of the world. If
you're keeping a scorecard, Christians have done more to
violate Jewish existence than Muslims: The Crusades, the
pogroms, the Holocaust. Enough said.

2) After a speech in California last month - in which I
criticized Ariel Sharon for his invasion of Bethlehem and
the senseless massacre of numerous civilians - a high
school English teacher, who was a Christian, approached me
with a challenge. "Do you realize your comments could be
interpreted as anti-Semitic?" Deeply concerned, I ran
back over the speech in my mind and, coming up empty,
inquired how. He told me that criticizing Israel and its
Jewish prime minister could fan the flames of anti-Semitism.
Irony is, in the same speech I critiqued the Bush
administration and Islamic fundamentalists much more
strongly. If we conclude that every criticism of the
state of Israel, or its political leaders, is de facto
anti-Semitic, we cannot have a Middle East discussion
of any relevance in this country.

3) There is virtually no space to discuss Arab claims for
justice among Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists,
not to mention Orthodox and Conservative Jews. I'm continually
surprised at how strongly it is believed that the state of
Israel has a special place in God's plan for the world. Arabs,
on the other hand, appear to carry the curse of Esau, forever.

4) Even in liberal political circles, a strong tide is
moving the political current to the conclusion that peace
will never come as long as Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon
are at the helms of their respective governments. That's
wrong-headed thinking. Arafat is the personification of the
Palestinian national movement. He was elected by the Palestinians
in the West Bank and Gaza, his decisions will ultimately be
accepted by most Palestinians, and he works ardently to put
limits on the terrorists who vie for regional power. Sharon was
elected democratically as well, and by a large majority. If
he were to broker a peace treaty, it would be much more
likely to be accepted by the strong hawkish militants within
Israel. Both Arafat and Sharon accepted - with reservations -
and pursued solid provisions for a peaceful settlement at
the Taba negotiations in January 2001. These guidelines
contain the fulcrum of a fair peace for both sides.

Two additional political realities dampen the prospects
of peace. In a matter of a day or so after the invasion
of Bethlehem, the U.S. Congress approved an aid package
for Israel in the amount of well over $1 billion. Can
Ariel Sharon read that as anything put a political nudge
and wink? Furthermore, how can the U.S. and Britain - with 
a straight face - ask Israel to negotiate with its 
"terrorist threat" when the leaders of the western alliance 
choose the strong arm of military reprisal in response to 
terrorist attacks? Actions that align principles with political
realities, not hypocrisy, will bring peace to Palestine.

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

FEED THE AFGHAN PEOPLE, HALT THE BOMBING, RESPECT RAMADAN

Join the campaign and send a letter to
President Bush. Act now at:

http://www.sojo.net/haltthebombing

Pass along this action alert to your family and friends.

*****************************************************************
S o u l   W o r k s
+++++++++++++++++++
Respect Ramadan: Prayers and practice for Week 1

by Rose Marie Berger

Since Sojourners' initial invitation to Christians and Jews,
and people of faith and good will to act in solidarity with
Muslims by fasting for Ramadan, we have heard an inter-
national groundswell of response to the idea. People in 
England, Australia, and throughout the United States are 
respecting Ramadan any way they can and donating the money 
that would be spent on food to humanitarian agencies 
providing direct relief in Afghanistan.

We offer the following suggestions on fasting, daily prayers,
and daily prayer readings. Week 1 readings are from
the Torah and can be found at:

http://www.sojo.net/feedtheAfghanpeople/index.cfm/action/ramadan_readings.html#1

Week 1: November 16-22

Prayer and fasting:

*During Ramadan Muslims fast from first light until sundown.
In between - that is, during the daylight hours - Muslims
abstain from food, drink, smoking, and sex. The usual
practice is to have a pre-dawn meal (suhoor) and a post-fast
meal (iftar) after sunset. Fasting is a method of self-
purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts,
even for a short time, a fasting person develops sympathy for
those who go hungry, as well as gaining growth in one's
spiritual life by learning thankfulness and appreciation for
all of God's bounties. Ramadan is a time of intensive worship,
reading the Quran, giving charity, purifying one's behavior,
and doing good deeds.

*Since Ramadan emphasizes community aspects - everyone eats
dinner at the same time - Muslims often invite one another
to share in the Ramadan evening meal. Following the meal
it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and
friends. The fast is resumed the next morning.
    
*Be creative in your fasting. Your community might fast in
the traditional Ramadan manner or in another mindful way.
You might try a "rolling fast" where individuals commit to
fast one day during Ramadan until you have the whole month
covered. You might offer a public fast day and collect
donations for relief agencies. These agencies are providing
direct relief in Afghanistan:

Christian Aid: http://www.christian-aid.org.uk/index.htm
Oxfam: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/donation/afghanistan.html
International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent:
https://www-secure.ifrc.org/donation/donate.asp
Mennonite Central Committee: http://www.mcc.org/afghancrisis/index.html
Mercy Corps: http://www.mercycorps.org/
American Jewish World Service: http://www.ajws.org/afgan_projpg.html

*Daily prayer times with suggested prayers

1) Pre-dawn prayer: "I intend to fast this day in order to
perform my discipline and duty to God in this holy month of
Ramadan." - Niyyat (The prayer of Intention).

2) Morning meal before dawn: "Love was before the light began.
When light is over, Love shall be." - from "A Thousand and
One Nights."

3) Noon prayer:  "I thank You, Lord, for knowing me better
than I know myself, and for letting me know myself better
than others know me. Make me, I pray to You, better than
they suppose, and forgive me for what they do not know." 
-­ Abu Bakr, the first Caliph of Islam.

4) Mid-afternoon prayer: "You, O Lord, created night, and
I made the lamp. You created clay, and I made the cup. You
created the forest, the mountains, the desert; and I made
the walk, the garden, the orchard." - Mohammad Iqbal
(Muslim poet).

5) Post-sunset prayer: "O Lord, for Thy sake have I fasted
and now I break the fast with the food that comes from Thee." 
- Du'a (the Prayer of Fast Breaking. Traditionally the fast is
broken by taking a drink of water and eating three figs,
followed by a communal meal).

6) Night prayer: "My heart has become capable of taking all
sorts of forms - it is the pastures for gazelles and the
monastery for the monk, and the temple for the worshiper, and
the Ka'aba for the pilgrim. It is the tables of the Torah and
the Book of the Quran. It professes the religion of love
whatever the place toward which its caravans wend. And love
is my law and love is my faith." - Ibn Arabi (mystic
Islamic poet).

Let SojoMail readers know what you are doing for Ramadan.
For the full list of weekly readings and more on acting
in the spirit of Ramadan go to:

http://www.sojo.net/feedtheAfghanpeople/index.cfm/action/ramadan_readings.html

*******************************************************************
 
 A MORAL RESPONSE TO TERRORISM: CONSCIENCE IN A TIME OF WAR 

 A new study series by the editors of Sojourners magazine. 
  
 This study guide - designed for use in classrooms, 
 Sunday school sessions, small groups, and study circles - 
 will be available December 1. For a table of contents and 
 to pre-order your copy, go to: 

 http://www.sojo.net/feedtheafghanpeople/index.cfm/action/study_guide.html


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

S o j o C i r c l e s
+++++++++++++++++++++
Become a leader...of a SojoCircle

As part of Sojourners' international campaign - Feed
the Afghan People, Halt the Bombing, Respect Ramadan -
we are lauching SojoCircles. These local study groups
meet monthly (or bi-weekly depending on the enthusiasm
of the group) to explore and discuss such issues as
terrorism on the homefront, U.S. military actions on
the warfront, the contours of Islam, and the politics
of the Middle East.

Sojourners is looking for leaders internationally
who are willing to pull together friends, family,
members of a religious community, and other local
networks; it may even be an existing study group that
would like to follow the Sojourners study guide.
If you so choose, we also will publish your email
contact in SojoMail so that other readers in your region
can join in.

If you are interested in becoming a group leader, and/or
want to order the Sojourners study guide - "A Moral 
Response to Terrorism: Conscience in a Time of War" - 
please contact us at sojocircles@sojo.net or call us at 
1-800-714-7474.

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

B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
U.S. spending $1 billion a month on war

$1,000:     Cost of 500-pound gravity bomb

$80,000:    Cost of 2,000-pound laser-guided bomb

6,000:      Approximate number of 500-pound and 2,000-pound bombs
            dropped in Afghanistan since October 7

$1 million: Cost of Tomahawk cruise missle

100:        Approximate number of cruise missles shot on
            Afghanistan since October 7

$30,000:    Cost of average F-18/F-14 sortie

35:         Approximate number of F-18/F-14 sorties over
            Afghanistan since October 7

$1 billion: Total monthly cost of war in Afghanistan

*Source: The New York Times

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
E y e   W i t n e s s
+++++++++++++++++++++
Firsthand report from Afghanistan

In the midst of a refugee crisis in Afghanistan,
furthered by ongoing U.S. military strikes, Mennonite
Central Committee (MCC) has sent three volunteers to
visit camps of displaced people within the country's
borders.

Doug Hostetter, of Evanston, Illinois, is a former MCC 
volunteer and past director of the Fellowship of 
Reconciliation. Wallace and Evelyn Shellenberger, of 
Paoli, Indiana, live in Qom, Iran, as part of an 
exchange program sponsored by MCC.

Hostetter writes as he waits for supplies to cross the
river border from Tajikistan to join workers from Help
the Afghan Children, Inc., a U.S.-based aid organization:

"On Oct. 30 we crossed into Afghanistan over the Panz River.
There is only one ferry that can carry one or two trucks
at a time. The river crossing is a few miles from the front
lines, and while waiting to cross we saw several large
explosions from jet strikes. The bombing is driving desperate
people from their homes and communities, and making it
extremely difficult for relief organizations to get the food,
medicine, and blankets to the people who need them before the
onset of winter, a few weeks away."

From the border, Hostetter and the others moved into the
refugee community of Khawja Bahauddin. They stayed in the
guest house of ACTED, a French development organization,
along with journalists from all over the world. Hostetter's
next reports tells of waiting for the relief supplies to
cross the border:

"It rained Friday, Nov. 2 - the second rain in 10 years.
The next day we visited several camps where displaced
people are living without permanent shelter. It was a
disheartening sight. People had built shelters out of
blankets and straw mats, which offer some shelter from
wind and cold but are of no help against rain. We received
word that our food convoy is now at the Tajikistan/
Afghanistan border competing with all of the military
traffic also trying to cross the only ferry across the
river.

On Nov. 3, Wallace and Evelyn Shellenberger visited a
camp for displaced Afghans organized by the Iranian Red
Crescent Society (IRCS) in a Taliban-controlled section
of western Afghanistan. Evelyn writes:

"With a mixture of emotions we departed Iran to visit one
of the refugee camps, called Mile 46. We were accompanied
by several IRCS workers who made it much easier to pass
through the checkpoints into Afghanistan. The countryside
was desert: flat, dusty, windy. No signs of plant life
could be seen. About four kilometers inside the border,
we saw the camp in the distance - rows of tents in neat
lines clouded by the dust. Nearly 600 Afghan refugees are
living in the camp, many of whom are children. Each family
has access to a tent, blankets, cooking equipment and food.
Huge water tanks are carried in by truck. A generator has
also been brought in to supply electricity to the tents.
But IRCS staff worry about a prolonged war and the
possibility of more refugees. They wonder just how much
they can do.

"As we walked through the camp, the children told us stories
of leaving their homes, which was very difficult. They miss
their schools, friends, and family members. Once my eye caught
sight of a beautiful stone and I stopped and picked it up.
Then I saw another and also reached for it. The children
watched me carefully. 'I want to take these stones back to
America with me so I can remember you,' I explained. They
looked at one another and smiles crossed their faces.

"Later, while in a meeting, I heard a commotion of children's
voices outside. I went to the door of the tent. There stood
a group of about 25 children, each holding a beautiful stone.
Each child told me his/her name as the gift was given, and
I commented on the stone's beauty and value to me. The
children told me they had run to the far edges of the
camp to find the 'best stones.'

"I have since reflected on this exchange of gifts. Out of
compassion we have given of our resources: food, blankets,
and money. Out of love, the children have given of their
resources: beautiful stones gathered from their land.

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

P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Afghans: don't hand my country to warlords

The military strategy of the coalition forces robbed Afghans
of a rare opportunity to forge an enduring solution. Alliance
political leaders repeatedly indicated their preference for a
political arrangement over a military attack on Kabul, but
bombing overwhelmed their voices.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,592518,00.html

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

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

John Davies of Liverpool, England, wrote:

Thank you for your consistently excellent weekly e-zine;
I have added my emails to yours in writing to the
president re: "Feed the People, Halt the Bombing, Respect
Ramadan," and will also write to our prime minister and
my local member of Parliament.

You may be interested to read an article that I found
riveting by Eqbal Ahmad, formerly professor emeritus of
international relations and Middle Eastern studies at
Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, who died
in 1999. The article, published by the Institute of Race
Relations (http://www.homebeats.co.uk/terrorism/index.htm),
is from an address given at the University of Colorado,
Boulder, on Oct. 12, 1998, and is very relevant
to the current world situation.

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

Ex-SojoMail reader Don Griffin wrote:

I can't believe you actually sent this action alert out.
It's bleeding hearts like that who are responsible for
all the problems we have in this country today. I
support the war. I support the bombing. To stop
anything until this war is won is stupid. We need to
kill the enemy any way, any time, any where we can
find them. They are culls and need to be eliminated
from the human race. And just who said we had a
responsibility to feed the Afghans or anyone else.
If you want to help, first think of all the people who
gave their lives so that stupid people like Sojourners
can spout that [#@^&%*]. Then do something for the
victims of terrorism in this country. Please don't
send me any more of this crap.

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

Kenny Kistler, Park Ridge, New Jersey, wrote:

Has your e-zine been hijacked?

I am quite shocked that in the latest issue of SojoMail
you actually suggest that American Christians "honor
Ramadan." What happened to the voice of the Hebrew
prophets who not only preach about poverty and injustice,
but warned God's people against following the errant
religious ways of their neighbors? Ramadan celebrates
the month when Muhammed received the Quran - a book
that repeatedly blasphemes God by saying he has no Son,
and that Christians are misled. Why should Christians
be honoring that? This suggestion is little more than
putting one's politics above one's religious convictions.
I, for one, will not do that. And if that's Sojourners'
prescription, then I'll find a ministry more true to
the prophetic voice.

Our government officials have repeatedly told the world
that this is not a war against Islam, and it's clear
that Muslims in this country are a lot safer than
Christians are in Pakistan, Sudan, Indonesia, and
elsewhere. If that's not enough to convince the Muslim
world, then they must have hearts and minds of stone.

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

David Pruett of Lake Village, Arizona, wrote:

I dearly love Sojourners. I was an ardent follower of
William Stringfellow, and I hate war. That said, we
really are in a war, and while most of what is happening
in Afghanistan right now is a "show" of revenge for the
American People, and next to useless, I do believe that
stopping for Ramadan would send a signal that could well
be interpreted the wrong way by the Islamic world.

They are counting on the USA to not have the will to
follow through, and we haven't done so since Korea.
Perhaps more lives could be saved by sending the signal
that we will endure. Muslim nations count on others to
observe their holy days. Remember the "Yom Kippur War,"
started by the Arabic Nations, but pre-empted by Israel?

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

Nigel Mander of Upper Hutt, New Zealand, wrote:

In New Zealand we write the date in ascending order:
day first, then month followed by year (DD/MM/YY).
Last Friday the date was 9/11! What a lot has happened
in the world since (the American) 9/11. I can say I'm
glad the Afghans are being given a taste of what it's
like to be the target of terrorist attacks, killed by
people they've never seen. How glad am I? About as glad
as the Afghans are glad that they are being killed by
a civilized, democratically-elected regime. That makes
all the difference, doesn't it?

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


David Weinschrott of Indianapolis, Indiana, wrote:

Like many of the readers, I was filled with foreboding
when the war started. I advocated "police action"
instead of military action. I saw the continuing
impasse in Israel as a driver of the terrorist attack
we suffered. I have begun to research many of these
issues, including reviewing the last 50 years of the
struggle in Israel and some preliminary investigation
of Islam and, more particularly, "fundamentalist"
Islam. My foreboding has not ended, but my thinking
has shifted a bit. 

In my view, the impasse in Israel cannot be loaded on
one side or the other - the problem began in the '20s
and '30s, it was exacerbated by the British promise
of the same land to two people groups, and the stream of
hawks and doves among Israel's leaders, the continuing
presence of terrorist elements in the Palestinian
authority, and the tangle of Arab League geopolitical
objectives all influenced by superpower politics
between the U.S. and the Soviet Union has created a
murderous soup that begs for divine intervention.

[But] the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, explosive as it
is, is a pretext for larger objectives among bin Laden
and a dozen or other spokesman for the fundamentalist
factions over the past 100 years. Anger against the West
preceeded the creation of Israel. It began with the
shrinkage of the Ottoman empire, the reconstruction of
boundaries and kingdoms by Britain and France in the
Levant after World War I *and* the establishment of Israel.
Kingdoms in the Arabian peninsula still are linked to
Western political power and are the source of anger
for many in traditional Islam, but expressed most
forcefully in militant factions.

If the Israel/Palestine problem would go away, the
hatred toward the West among the militant factions
would not. These groups do not, for the most part,
represent traditional Islam. Bin Laden won't stand
down and be a "nice guy" unless we separate ourselves
from our "assets" in the Middle East, evacuate the premises,
and the governments of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia,
the Emirates, and maybe Syria all fall. We may (I
fervently hope) not be at war with all Islam, but we
must assuredly are at war with some militant factions.

A bombing halt may enable food aid, it might also
create a security nightmare for the aid effort.
Hopefully, we can now establish bases and security in
the North before the full onset of winter. So - shall
we also fast?

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

John Lapp, executive secretary emeritus of the Mennonite
Central Committee, wrote:
    
A short word of great appreciation for Jim Wallis' piece
in SojoMail on 10/31. Jim put his finger on the critical
issue of economic disparity not only in the world but
right here at home. Indeed "somebody is not getting the
message of unity." 

The critical issue in dealing with Osama bin Laden is
whether the global Christian church can rise to the
occasion and deal with the question of the poor or, as
happened in the seventh century, will Islam again be
the spokesperson for the global masses. The same thing
can be said for the church in the U.S. Can we remember
and speak for the poor or will we be like the Congress
that doesn't get the message?

Blessings on your creative and courageous ministry.

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

Shelley Sandow of Forest Park, Illinois, wrote:

If Washington won't institute a payroll tax cut to put
money directly into the pockets of people who need it
and will use it to purchase goods and services, can we?

An idea: When we go out to eat, leave an extra quarter
or dollar with the tip. When you buy a newspaper from
street vendors, give them 60¢ or 75¢ for a 50¢ paper.
Gadzooks! Maybe even an extra tip for a cabbie! The
folks that receive this cash will probably not use it
to purchase mutual funds, but will spin it right back
into the economy.  

Some of us may be hurting financially also, but our
widow's mite times the thousands or tens of thousands
of us who care can make a difference for people and
for the economy. Just maybe.

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

Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of
views. The views expressed are not necessarily
those of Sojourners. Want to make your voice
heard? Send Boomerang e-mails to the editor:

"boomerang@sojo.net"


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study "Who Is My Neighbor?: Economics As If Values Matter,"
one of the compelling study guides from the editors of
Sojourners magazine. Nine sessions, 180 pages. Prices:
1-9 copies, $10 each; 10-49 copies, $8.50 each; 50-99 copies,
$7.50 each; 100+ copies, $6.50.

Order now and learn how even the simple act of drinking coffee
can have far-reaching effects on the world around us...and
while you are reading, have a great cup of java!

Order "Who Is My Neighbor?: Economics As If Values Matter" at:

http://www.sojo.net/resources/index.cfm/mode/display_detail/ResourceID/86/action/catalog.html

**************************************************************************
C u l t u r e   W a t c h
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Afghan archivist of culture

by Robin Clewley

In the face of the Taliban's quest to destroy all
vestiges of arts and culture in the country, one man
with a Web site hopes to keep Afghanistan's history
alive. Go to:

http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,47842,00.html?tw=wn20011106

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

Jesus is back, and she's Chinese

by Matthew Forney

A fast-spreading sect named Lightning from the East is
alarming Christian communities across China by winning
large numbers of converts to its unorthodox tenets, often
by abducting potential believers. Its followers, who say
they number 300,000 but whom observers measure in the
tens of thousands, believe that Jesus has returned as a
plain-looking, 30-year-old Chinese woman who lives in
hiding and has never been photographed. They credit her
with composing a third testament to the Bible, writing
enough hymns to fill 10 CDs, and teaching that Christians
who join her will ascend to heaven in the coming apocalypse.

To read the entire story, go to:

http://www.time.com/time/asia/news/magazine/0,9754,181681,00.html

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

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

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

F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
From: The White House
To: Albert Gore 
    
Dear Al: 
    
Let's forget the recount. We found some more
votes. You won. When do you want to take over?

Respectfully,
    
George W. Bush

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

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

*Environmental news you can use

Every weekday, the Daily Grist - published by Earth Day
Network - summarizes five or six of the world's most
important environmental news stories and provides hot
links for further coverage and related activism. The
punchy, one-paragraph items are written with attitude,
and they are often laugh-out-loud funny. For a free
subscription, go to

http://www.gristmagazine.com/grist/signup/subgrist.asp?source=dhltr

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

*Peacemakers speak

Leaders from the technology and nonprofit sectors join to
promote local and global activism at this site. Of special
interest is a section titled "The Peacemakers Speak," which
features the statements of 17 Nobel Peace Prize winners
commenting on the September 11 terrorist attacks. Go to:

http://www.thecommunity.com/

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

*Plant a peace garden

In 1932, on the border between the United States and
Canada, the International Peace Garden was created. This
has been an inspiration and a constant symbol that peace
can endure, that people can join together and declare
peace evermore. For more information about Community Peace
Gardens, go to:

http://www.ctogardens.org

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

*Telemarketing fraud: ditch the pitch

Phone calls from telemarketers can be aggravating enough,
but in some cases they are also fraudulent. This new site
by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission explains the laws
that govern how telemarketers must operate. It also lists
consumer tips for avoiding scams.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/telemarketing/

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

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

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