The Common Good

Jim Wallis and Tavis Smiley on Perspective, Prayer, and the President

Sojomail - July 16, 2009


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

You felt like a child playing around with a magnifying glass, burning up ants. A 20-year-old kid should not be doing such things to people ... the guys were running a Wild West scene: draw, cock, kill.

- Testimony of an Israeli solider describing last winter's assault on Gaza. His account was part of interviews with 26 unnamed Israeli soldiers released by Breaking the Silence, a group formed by army reservists in 2004. The report did not identify the soldiers by name because many of those quoted were conscripts who could be jailed for speaking to the media. (Source: McClatchy)

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Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis and Tavis Smiley on Perspective, Prayer, and the President

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Earlier this year, Jim Wallis sat down with Tavis Smiley to talk about his role in public media of raising issues and asking questions that others are not. Tavis talks about the movement that's needed to hold President Obama accountable to his potential, how Martin Luther King Jr., his mother, and prayer have shaped his life, and why he signs off each broadcast with "keep the faith."

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INSIDE SOJOURNERS MAGAZINE

New NIH Director Francis S. Collins on Faith and Science

Dr. Francis CollinsIn this audio interview, Francis S. Collins, recently nominated by President Obama to be the director of the National Institutes of Health, and author of The Language of God, talks with assistant editor Jeannie Choi about the importance of embracing all truth as God’s truth, and the inextricable link between faith and science. Also, read his commentary in this month’s issue of Sojourners.

ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

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Taking the Prairie Path: Seeking Sustainability in the Suburbs
by Tracey Bianchi

For me, this little crushed gravel trail that runs 55 miles east and west is a tiny respite from the sidewalks and alleys that surround me in my town. As far as trails go, lovely as it is, the Prairie Path is not really all that majestic or lovely. That said, the rush of passing a suburban parent with a bike trailer the size of an SUV can inject you with a healthy dose of adrenaline. You make the move left to pass. You shout, "On your left!" And then you hope that you can pass fast enough to not hit the cyclists from the oncoming side head on.
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Interpretation, Hermeneutics, and Judge Sotomayor
by Ernesto Tinajero

How people understand written text, especially ones composed in another time and culture, will be the unspoken context. The process of interpreting written text is tricky, hence the need for the Supreme Court.
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What My Broken Collar Bone Taught Me About Our Broken Health-Care System
by Melanie Weldon-Soiset

I shudder to remember the years of bureaucratic red tape my family and I endured because of this wreck. We made multiple calls and sent many letters to correct faulty billing procedures and to ensure that the insurance company would actually pay for the care I needed. I am thankful that I am alive and not bankrupt because of a chance collision, yet God has created us for more than being merely "alive and not bankrupt."
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False Witness Redeemed: Forgiveness After 11 Years of Wrongful Conviction
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

A white woman is raped by a black man in North Carolina. During the assault, she studies his face, determined to bring him to justice. She later identifies a suspect both in photos and in-person line-ups. Only she's wrong. An innocent man spends 11 years in jail before he's exonerated by DNA evidence. His response? Forgiveness.
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Stop this Malicious E-mail
by LaVonne Neff

Please, whether you love or hate the health care proposals now being discussed, check out the facts before ever passing on an e-mail. Any e-mail. Especially if it, like this one, says, "Please use the power of the internet to get this message out." E-mails that beg to be passed on are always annoying, usually false, and often malicious.
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Olympic Injustice
by Julie Clawson

The official goal of the Olympic movement is "to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play." But the question must be asked: Are they really building a better world or just helping injustice flourish?
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'Win Over' or 'Love On' for Jesus?
by Eugene Cho

In building relationships with people, we need to let go of the agenda of "evangelism" and "let's convert this person to Jesus Christ." When people wonder why people get scared and weary of Christians, it's because we seek other people as targets, projects, and people to "win over" or "love on" for Jesus.
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Immigration Policy: Where's the Love?
by Anne Dunlap

For those of us who are trying to be faithful to God's way, God's vision of communities filled with justice, dignity, and love, the reminder to "love the 'alien' as you love yourself" should be the touchstone of our work in solidarity with the immigrant community. For the person of faith, the question is not "What is legal and expedient?" but "What is faithful?"
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Obama, Africa, and Truth-Telling
by Valerie Elverton Dixon

In other important speeches to the world, President Obama has been courageous in telling the truth of the misdeeds of the United States. His critics call these simple statements of truth apologies. I have never heard an apology, even though an apology would be fitting. Still, stating the facts is important.
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Health Care in the UK: An Astonishing Example of Communitarian Justice
by Gareth Higgins

No one in the UK ever worries about how they are going to provide for their own or their family's health. And this is why, if I require major medical intervention in the future, instead of receiving it in the United States where I now live, work, and hope to contribute as a grateful immigrant, I may have to go back home.
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Obama in Ghana: The Capacity of Hope
by Nontando Hadebe

Aware of the legacy of colonialism, President Obama acknowledged its role but challenged Africans to work with this legacy without being fixated on it and blaming everything that goes wrong on the past – to take the negative aspects of history and transform them. This requires a collective effort based on belief in our capacity, taking responsibility, and getting on with the challenge of building strong institutions that benefit our people.
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Women Excluded from Ministry: 'I Just Didn't Think About You'
by Nicole Saylor

Feeling silenced or overlooked due to their gender is an experience that is universal among the women in ministry whom I have known as friends and as patients. Repeatedly, many of them are given the message, "I just didn't think about you." This problem is much harder to identify and to address than outright opposition to women in positions of leadership within the church.
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Women Leaders in the Early Church
by Mimi Haddad

As you may know, the question of whether women can serve as deacons has been recently debated among many evangelicals. Since scripture makes clear that Phoebe served as a deacon in the church in Cenchrea, there is an abundance of historical and archeological evidence that women deacons were upheld by the apostles.
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A Martyr in Mauritania: Missionaries, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights
by Aaron Taylor

As the world mourned the death of Michael Jackson, another man went not so quietly into the night, though largely unnoticed by mainstream media. On Tuesday, June 23, 2009, an American Christian worker named Chris Leggett was gunned down by al Qaeda for the alleged "crime" of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.
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Michael Jackson's Legacy of Social and Environmental Concern
by César Baldelomar

Michael Jackson's music and dances brought not only joy, but also social and environmental consciousness. His art also reached something fundamental in our souls, namely our affinity for art that expresses and/or elicits emotions central to human existence.
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Voices of the Poor Lost in Honduras' Power Struggle
by Amanda Lind

I think it's human nature to want to know who the good guys and bad guys are in situations such as these so we can take the necessary steps to support the good guys and condemn the bad guys. In this case it's really not that simple. I think this is a case of wealthy people and career politicians doing their best to retain power and wealth. The ones who will lose in this political clash, as always, already are and will continue to be the poor.
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A Mother of the Disappeared Rejoices at Another's Release by Katrina Abarcar
Every time we hear of an abduction, we die all over again, thinking of Jonas. But every time we hear about a victim of abduction being surfaced or found alive, even if it is in jail or elsewhere in captivity, we rejoice with the family and consider it a triumph of good over evil.
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Executions Worldwide Nearly Doubled in 2008
by Rose Marie Berger

The number of executions worldwide nearly doubled last year compared with 2007, according to a study released in March by Amnesty International. At the same time, Europe and Central Asia have become virtually death penalty-free zones, with only Belarus still maintaining capital punishment. The United States is the only country in the Americas that consistently executes, but the number of executions in 2008 was the lowest since 1995.
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The Pope and the President: Unlikely Allies Seeking Common Ground for the Common Good
by John Gehring

While the president and the pope won't agree about legal access to abortion or embryonic stem cell research, Benedict and Obama share a broad, internationalist agenda that includes Middle East peace, nuclear deterrence, the plight of refugees, religious freedom, immigration reform, and global climate change.
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Pope Benedict Gets It Right
by Brian McLaren

Of particular interest to me is his strong endorsement of the key concepts behind the sustainability and fair trade/ethical buying movements. These related movements help us see that the economy is an important sphere where we can, in a sense, cast votes with every dollar we spend, literally loving our neighbors (or not) by the way we buy (or don't buy) groceries, clothing, corporate shares, and so on.
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In Defense of the 'Nice White Lady'
by Eugene Cho

I really hope no one gets offended – especially some of my 'nice white lady' readers. I certainly appreciate you and showing this video isn't intended to be offensive, but it's just too funny not to share. It's funny because this is the plot of most Hollywood films in this feel-good genre. Check it out and tell me you didn't laugh just a little.
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SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

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Top Stories:

Obama's 10 Most Important Faith Leaders
U.S. News and World Report
Progressive evangelical Jim Wallis has been a political oddity ever since he landed in Washington more than 35 years ago. Lobbying for poverty relief and against war, Wallis was at odds with Christian right leaders who claimed to speak for evangelical America. ... As younger evangelicals have branched out beyond hot-button issues and Democrats have begun wooing born-again Christians, however, Wallis is suddenly very much in demand.
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Health Care Reform is Urgent Given Economy, Religious Leaders Say
The Christian Post

PM proves a convert to the politics of faith
The Australian

Churches encouraged to try 'liberating' approach to mission
Christian Today

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.


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Summer reading: Books by New York Times best-selling author Jim Wallis: The Great Awakening, God’s Politics, The Call to Conversion, Faith Works, and the Soul of Politics. Visit the SojoStore.

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