>Get your free issue today! In this issue of Sojourners: 1. The danger of Christian Zionism 2. Middle East: road map or dead end? 3. The Archbishop of Canterbury on the Iraq war 4. Vigilantes on the U.S.-Mexican border 5. Michelle Shocked talks about her faith 6. And much more. If you don't subscribe to Sojourners magazine, you are missing out on award-winning features, commentary, poetry, humor, devotionals, and much more! Go to: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.sojomail_free SOUL WORKS ^top The Staggering Gods by Terry Scott Taylor The gods are staggering Across the earth in their chains The gods are dying Clutching at lost fortune and fame (Chorus) The feel-good god And the lord of science Democracy's blind and Bewildered giants The hammer and the sickle And the modern appliance All the staggering gods The gods are stumbling Hopeless and sick unto death They're the ones we worship And they're gasping for their final breath And here's the terrible noise That gives them away The thud of worn-out shoes And cracking feet of clay We've heard the stammering words Of these dying kings And we shudder at the sound Of these fearsome things The gods are fumbling They're weak and they're ready to fall The gods are human Not one of them can help us at all From the album "Mr. Buechner's Dream," available at: http://www.danielamos.com/ BOOMERANG ^top Barbara Germiat writes from Appleton, Wisconsin: The cheap shot that says cuts in dividends and capital gains benefit only rich (and therefore evil, I guess) folks is no longer true. Everyone who is building a pension, or benefiting from a pension contributed to during a working life, is somehow involved with benefiting from dividends and capital gains, since all those pension funds and IRAs, etc., are invested in the market - the main way to make money grow. And a great many middle-income people are in the market these days, as opposed to maybe 40-60 years ago, when perhaps only richer folks were stock investors. Justice and compassion are important. So is clear, non-polemical thinking. ---------------------- George Luke writes from London, England: From my experience living in the U.K., I would like to explain to Ken Koonce [Boomerang 6.12.03] why media ownership is an issue Christians - of any persuasion - should be concerned about. Recently, one of London's last remaining independent stations (the only black-owned one) was bought out by a major radio group that owns stations across the country. One of the first things the station's new owners did was to cut the hours dedicated to gospel music programming on the station - even though the station's gospel show is one of its most popular programs. Sadly, we Christians - particularly in the West - have grown up with a mentality that compartmentalises everything. And if we can't see the obviously "religious" significance of an issue - be it media ownership or what brand of coffee we buy - our first instinct is to assume that it isn't important to us. ---------------------- Karen Davison of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, writes: In response to the Boomerang note from Mr. Calhoun [6.12.03]: Yes indeed, Saddam Hussein was a terrible dictator who lived in great luxury while starving and killing his own people. It kind of makes you think that maybe the United States should not have put him in power in the first place. Yes, we were responsible for Saddam Hussein being in the position to do what he did. Some of the government officials who put him in power are now the same ones who say he is so horrible and must be removed no matter how many civilians are killed - namely, Donald Rumsfeld. ---------------------- Kara Speltz writes: Re: "Reclaiming hope: The peace movement after the war" [6.04.03] - I absolutely agree we must not give up hope. Gandhi taught us that! I firmly believe that the ONLY REASON the U.S. government did not drop the "mother of all bombs" in Baghdad was because of the millions who demonstrated all over the world the day after the war began. Unfortunately it didn't stop this government from using "anti-personnel" weapons in Baghdad, approximately 1,500 of them, by their own accounts. But I know in my heart the reason I was able to return to the U.S. was because of all those people who showed their commitment to peace and opposition to this sinful war. My thanks go out to each and every one of them. ---------------------- Khanyisa Ndzuta writes from South Africa: I'd like to show a sense of appreciation to the members and webmaster(s) of SojoMail for an unquantifiable role that they both individually and/or collectively play through writing letters and news articles. This e-zine has (and continues to) opened my mind. ---------------------- 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 CULTURE WATCH ^top 'Spellbound': American dreams, sans schmaltz Young people journey from across the country to face round upon round of intense single-elimination competition on live television. No, it's not American Idol. Instead, this is reality-based entertainment in its purest documentary form, acquainting us with children from a wide spectrum of classes, cultures, and ambitions (including one child of south-Asian immigrants who cites "faith in Jesus" as his number one tip for spelling success). Full of humor, drama - and yes, geekiness - "Spellbound" offers us unvarnished glimpses into the heart of America's attitudes toward success and failure. Find the theater nearest you at: http://www.spellbound.tv 'God in the Inner City': Urban workers with soul Produced by Manifold Productions, "God in the Inner City" features stories about the leaders of faith-based groups that work with local crime enforcement, social workers, and welfare bureaucrats to save youth and others from jail, drug dependence, and unemployment. This one-hour documentary zeroes in on the people these programs are trying to help in Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Some believe that these groups form a new social movement. Can their faith-based approach transform America's inner cities, reversing decades of failure and neglect? This documentary will premier nationally on public television stations the week of June 22. Check your local listings for times. WEB SCENE ^top *Biblical reality entertainment View highlights from The Ark, a bold 40-day experiment in online "reality" programming that puts 12 Bible characters on a virtual Ark to be voted off one by one. Meet the characters, tour the boat, and read transcripts and Arkmates' diaries. Go to: http://shipoffools.com/theark/ *This American Life If your local NPR station doesn't carry this offbeat, edgy, and often hilarious radio magazine - or if they carry it at a really inconvenient time - find the complete archive, etc., online. Go to: http://www.thislife.org/ *Media watchers MediaChannel is a media issues "supersite" featuring criticism, breaking news, and investigative reporting from hundreds of organizations worldwide. Go to: http://www.mediachannel.org GIVE TO SOJOURNERS Donate now to support our work. SOJOMAIL STAFF David Batstone Executive Editor Molly Marsh Assistant Editor Ryan Beiler Web Editor Kate Bowman Internet Assistant Tucker Ball Marketing Director Lester Wall Advertising Director Bob Sabath Chief Technologist CONTACT US SojournersT 202.328.8842 2401 15th Street NWF 202.328.8757 Washington, DC 20009 http://www.sojo.net For more information, e-mail us:info@sojo.net Copyright (c) 2003 Sojourners. All Rights Reserved. SojoMail material may be freely distributed, as long as it bears the following attribution: Source: Sojourners 2003 (c) http://www.sojo.net ARCHIVES Browse | Search SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscribe | Unubscribe | Change Email Format SOJOMAIL IS A SPAM-FREE ZONE Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your address. Read our privacy policy. "/>
The Common Good

The nice guys won

Sojomail - June 18, 2003

www.sojo.net06.18.2003
Quote of the Week T.S. Eliot's guesses
Hearts & Minds Jim Wallis: The nice guys won
Funny Business Ed Spivey Jr.: Tom DeLay's got monkeypox
Building a Movement Faith in action on the death penalty
Politically Connect John Dean on impeachable offenses
Soul Works The Staggering Gods
Boomerang SojoMail readers hit reply
Culture Watch 'Spellbound': American dreams, sans schmaltz | 'God in the Inner City': Urban workers with soul
Web Scene Biblical reality entertainment | This American Life | Media watchers

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR - tell friends, family, and others about this free, weekly email-zine of Sojourners: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=SojoMail.share


QUOTE OF THE WEEK ^top

These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline thought and action.

-T.S. Eliot

HEARTS & MINDS ^top
The nice guys won
by Jim Wallis

Jim WallisThe nice guys finished first this year.

In the midst of tax cuts for the rich and no child tax credits for the poor, weapons of mass destruction missing in Iraq, eroding civil liberties, and Code Orange as a way of life, let's talk about something uplifting - basketball. For those of you who don't follow the game, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the New Jersey Nets, on Father's Day, for the National Basketball Association championship. The Spurs are a team full of nice guys, in stark contrast to the thug and flash role models that have come to dominate the NBA in recent years. Who says nice guys finish last?

It was the final game in the remarkable career of David Robinson, the 14-year veteran San Antonio center - and what a way to go out. Robinson had been a league Most Valuable Player, won Defensive Player of the Year, made the All-Star team 14 times, and was named among the best 50 NBA players of all time. But most important, David Robinson is known as one of the best people ever to play the game. Motivated by a strong Christian commitment, Robinson spent $9 million to start a school for inner-city kids (and didn't even name it after himself!). He and his wife Valerie run a faith-based foundation that addresses the physical and spiritual needs of families, and created "Mr. Robinson's neighborhood," a section of special seats reserved at all Spurs home games for needy kids and their parents.

In the final game and throughout the playoff series, the 38-year-old Robinson made a mighty contribution to winning his second NBA title. He scored key points, snatched critical rebounds, blocked shots, and raced down the court on his old legs to make a dramatic steal that turned pivotal game four around. After the sweet victory, the scene on the court of an emotional David Robinson holding his three sons with his own father at his side - on Father's Day - was a rare and welcome picture of "family values" in big-time sports.

The Most Valuable Player in the championship series, and the season MVP, was Tim Duncan, Robinson's companion at power forward. Duncan was utterly dominant during the entire series, with his consistent spectacular play and team leadership - yet, at the same time, evidenced a humble spirit almost never seen in professional sports today. A humble NBA basketball star? Duncan is a quiet, even self-effacing, just-get-the-job-done kind of guy. And get it done he does. In the last game, Duncan accomplished the nearly unbelievable - "a quadruple double," meaning he reached double figures in four categories: points, rebounds, assists, and blocked shots. Game announcer and Hall of Fame center Bill Walton just kept repeating that Duncan was simply the best player in basketball today (take that Shaq, Kobe, and Iverson!). Duncan doesn't trash talk, chest bump, strut his stuff, go into tirades for the camera, and embarrass his city off-court. Instead, he just plays good, smart, team-oriented, and amazing basketball, and brings a big breath of fresh air for all of us who love the game but have gotten depressed by players with no work ethic, no respect, no character, but lots of commercial endorsements.

The whole San Antonio team seems to embody the ethos of Robinson and Duncan, showing that good habits and attitudes can be as infectious as bad ones. While, of course, staying focused on Iraq, the federal budget, and faith-based initiatives that bring a prophetic political witness, I watched every game of this championship series. It proved to be a welcome break and lovely diversion from life's intensity these days. It brought together two great things: good basketball and good values. What a combination.

Culture does shape politics, and spiritual values are central to that. Role models, in particular, are hugely important today, especially in shaping the character of young people. I am discovering that quickly as my 4-year-old discovers basketball - "Daddy, which one is Allen Iverson?" (The Philadelphia 76ers bad boy) Ugh! Perhaps the best thing the Spurs did this year was to beat the mighty Los Angeles (Hollywood Hype) Lakers who have gotten used to cruising through the season and winning the playoffs. This year the post-game interviews were not with oversized prima donnas droning on endlessly about themselves, but with polite and modest superstars giving the credit to their teammates, a great game, and even to God. Sweet.

Find more commentary by Jim Wallis at:

http://www.sojo.net/wallis


Spirit of FireSpirit of Fire: Faith, Art, and Action
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This art-filled resource explores the passionate and often contentious relationship between art and the church. Topics include the connections between creativity and spirituality; beauty, political resistance, and the artistic vocation; and models for bringing art to church and to the street.

100 pages. Price: 1-9 copies: $14.95 each; 10-49 copies: $12.95 each; 50-99 copies: $10.95 each; 100+ copies: $9.95 each.

Available in just three weeks - order your copies today at:
https://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=resources.catalog&mode=display_detail&ResourceID=362


FUNNY BUSINESS ^top
Tom DeLay's got monkeypox
by Ed Spivey Jr.

When Democratic lawmakers attempted to re-insert tax breaks for the working poor into next year's budget, conservative Republican Tom DeLay told reporters "it ain't going to happen." He later said it would be considered only if another round of tax breaks for the rich were added. For most veteran DeLay watchers this was no surprise. For years it has been assumed that his ruthlessness has been due to low self-esteem caused by the Ross Perot haircut his barber insists on giving him.

But a bad haircut does not explain his specific callousness to the poor since, in a singular act of compassion, he once personally intervened in the District of Columbia's foster care crisis. This moral reversal - while not unexpected from many politicians who speak out of both sides of their mouths ("I'm not contradicting myself, I'm talking in stereo!") - is such an unexpected and bizarre turn of events that it can have only one explanation.

Tom DeLay's got monkeypox.

That's right, monkeypox, the disease you get from having a Gambian Giant Pouch Rat around the house, or in the office, depending on your devotion to the little guy.

Understandably, homeland security czar Tom Ridge is highly suspicious of the growing Gambian Giant Pouch Rat threat and has ordered local governments to immediately dispatch police to pet stores and confiscate any rodent that looks suspicious, not including Tom DeLay who, as we've stated, really can't help it. The rats will then be flown to an undisclosed location where they will be held in secret and without legal representation.

Read the full story at:

http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=news.display_archives&mode=current_opinion&article=CO_030618


Web Development and Hosting with Sojourners! Sojourners is considering a new service for our readers and partner organizations. If you (or your company, church, organization, university) is interested in developing a database-driven Web site on a tight budget, revamping your current site, need a reliable Web site host, or desire peace of mind from working with a like-minded organization, please e-mail Jeremiah at hosting@sojo.net for more information.


BUILDING A MOVEMENT ^top
Faith in action on the death penalty

"The movement to abolish the death penalty needs the religious community because the heart of religion is about compassion, human rights, and the indivisible dignity of each human person made in the image of God."
-Sister Helen Prejean

Amnesty International's National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty (NWFA) is an annual project of the Program to Abolish the Death Penalty. It takes place the second weekend in October and seeks to bring together two important approaches to social justice - that of human rights and that of faith-based community action. This national observance weekend invites a diverse range of faith communities throughout the country to devote a weekend to reflect, discuss, and take action on abolishing the death penalty within a faith-based framework.

Find out how you can participate at:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/faithinaction.html

POLITICALLY CONNECT ^top
Is lying about the reason for war an impeachable offense?
by John Dean

President George W. Bush has a very serious problem. Before asking Congress for a joint resolution authorizing the use of American military forces in Iraq, he made a number of unequivocal statements about the reason the United States needed to pursue the most radical actions any nation can undertake - acts of war against another nation.

Now it is clear that many of his statements appear to be false. In the past, Bush's White House has been very good at sweeping ugly issues like this under the carpet and out of sight. But it is not clear that they will be able to make the question of what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction go away - unless, perhaps, they start another war.

Read the full story at:

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0606-05.htm


Sojourners magazineGet your free copy of the July-August issue with a risk-free trial subscription to Sojourners! If the magazine isn't for you, simply write cancel on the invoice and the issue is yours to keep.
>>Get your free issue today!

In this issue of Sojourners:
1. The danger of Christian Zionism
2. Middle East: road map or dead end?
3. The Archbishop of Canterbury on the Iraq war
4. Vigilantes on the U.S.-Mexican border
5. Michelle Shocked talks about her faith
6. And much more.

If you don't subscribe to Sojourners magazine, you are missing out on award-winning features, commentary, poetry, humor, devotionals, and much more! Go to: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.sojomail_free


SOUL WORKS ^top
The Staggering Gods
by Terry Scott Taylor

The gods are staggering
Across the earth in their chains
The gods are dying
Clutching at lost fortune and fame

(Chorus) The feel-good god
And the lord of science
Democracy's blind and
Bewildered giants
The hammer and the sickle
And the modern appliance
All the staggering gods

The gods are stumbling
Hopeless and sick unto death
They're the ones we worship
And they're gasping for their final breath

And here's the terrible noise
That gives them away
The thud of worn-out shoes
And cracking feet of clay
We've heard the stammering words
Of these dying kings
And we shudder at the sound
Of these fearsome things

The gods are fumbling
They're weak and they're ready to fall
The gods are human
Not one of them can help us at all

From the album "Mr. Buechner's Dream," available at: http://www.danielamos.com/

BOOMERANG ^top

Barbara Germiat writes from Appleton, Wisconsin:

The cheap shot that says cuts in dividends and capital gains benefit only rich (and therefore evil, I guess) folks is no longer true. Everyone who is building a pension, or benefiting from a pension contributed to during a working life, is somehow involved with benefiting from dividends and capital gains, since all those pension funds and IRAs, etc., are invested in the market - the main way to make money grow. And a great many middle-income people are in the market these days, as opposed to maybe 40-60 years ago, when perhaps only richer folks were stock investors. Justice and compassion are important. So is clear, non-polemical thinking.

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

George Luke writes from London, England:

From my experience living in the U.K., I would like to explain to Ken Koonce [Boomerang 6.12.03] why media ownership is an issue Christians - of any persuasion - should be concerned about. Recently, one of London's last remaining independent stations (the only black-owned one) was bought out by a major radio group that owns stations across the country. One of the first things the station's new owners did was to cut the hours dedicated to gospel music programming on the station - even though the station's gospel show is one of its most popular programs.

Sadly, we Christians - particularly in the West - have grown up with a mentality that compartmentalises everything. And if we can't see the obviously "religious" significance of an issue - be it media ownership or what brand of coffee we buy - our first instinct is to assume that it isn't important to us.

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

Karen Davison of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, writes:

In response to the Boomerang note from Mr. Calhoun [6.12.03]: Yes indeed, Saddam Hussein was a terrible dictator who lived in great luxury while starving and killing his own people. It kind of makes you think that maybe the United States should not have put him in power in the first place. Yes, we were responsible for Saddam Hussein being in the position to do what he did. Some of the government officials who put him in power are now the same ones who say he is so horrible and must be removed no matter how many civilians are killed - namely, Donald Rumsfeld.

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

Kara Speltz writes:

Re: "Reclaiming hope: The peace movement after the war" [6.04.03] - I absolutely agree we must not give up hope. Gandhi taught us that!

I firmly believe that the ONLY REASON the U.S. government did not drop the "mother of all bombs" in Baghdad was because of the millions who demonstrated all over the world the day after the war began. Unfortunately it didn't stop this government from using "anti-personnel" weapons in Baghdad, approximately 1,500 of them, by their own accounts. But I know in my heart the reason I was able to return to the U.S. was because of all those people who showed their commitment to peace and opposition to this sinful war. My thanks go out to each and every one of them.

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

Khanyisa Ndzuta writes from South Africa:

I'd like to show a sense of appreciation to the members and webmaster(s) of SojoMail for an unquantifiable role that they both individually and/or collectively play through writing letters and news articles. This e-zine has (and continues to) opened my mind.

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

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

CULTURE WATCH ^top
'Spellbound': American dreams, sans schmaltz

Young people journey from across the country to face round upon round of intense single-elimination competition on live television. No, it's not American Idol. Instead, this is reality-based entertainment in its purest documentary form, acquainting us with children from a wide spectrum of classes, cultures, and ambitions (including one child of south-Asian immigrants who cites "faith in Jesus" as his number one tip for spelling success). Full of humor, drama - and yes, geekiness - "Spellbound" offers us unvarnished glimpses into the heart of America's attitudes toward success and failure.

Find the theater nearest you at: http://www.spellbound.tv


'God in the Inner City': Urban workers with soul

Produced by Manifold Productions, "God in the Inner City" features stories about the leaders of faith-based groups that work with local crime enforcement, social workers, and welfare bureaucrats to save youth and others from jail, drug dependence, and unemployment. This one-hour documentary zeroes in on the people these programs are trying to help in Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Some believe that these groups form a new social movement. Can their faith-based approach transform America's inner cities, reversing decades of failure and neglect? This documentary will premier nationally on public television stations the week of June 22. Check your local listings for times.

WEB SCENE ^top
*Biblical reality entertainment

View highlights from The Ark, a bold 40-day experiment in online "reality" programming that puts 12 Bible characters on a virtual Ark to be voted off one by one. Meet the characters, tour the boat, and read transcripts and Arkmates' diaries.

Go to: http://shipoffools.com/theark/


*This American Life

If your local NPR station doesn't carry this offbeat, edgy, and often hilarious radio magazine - or if they carry it at a really inconvenient time - find the complete archive, etc., online.

Go to: http://www.thislife.org/


*Media watchers

MediaChannel is a media issues "supersite" featuring criticism, breaking news, and investigative reporting from hundreds of organizations worldwide.

Go to: http://www.mediachannel.org



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