The Common Good

Jim Wallis and Glenn Beck Meet for Social Justice Dialogue

Sojomail - April 1, 2010



QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Humor is the foundation of reconciliation.

- St. Francis de Sales, quoted in the sermon, "Giving Up Piety for Lent" by Rev. Richard Charles Wrede of Christ Episcopal Church in Riverton, New Jersey. (Source: Tower Bell)

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HOLY WEEK MIRACLE

Jim Wallis and Glenn Beck Meet for Social Justice Dialogue

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On the eve of Good Friday, recognizing that sad and tragic events often dominate the headlines, airwaves, and even our own blog, a dose of the "best medicine" might help us all make it through to the joy of Easter.

With that in mind, here's some surprising news: Though Jim Wallis is allegedly on vacation with his family this week, we were able to obtain footage of a top secret meeting between Jim and Fox News commentator Glenn Beck! Apparently, Beck finally accepted Jim's offer to dialogue, and the two met in an undisclosed location. You may not recognize their faces in the video, because they are wearing disguises to avoid the media spotlight while discussing such a sensitive topic. But we think you'll find their conversation a truly fascinating and unforgettable tete-a-tete. Click here to watch the video.

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We sincerely hope that you enjoyed this little April Fools' Day project in the spirit in which it was intended -- just good fun, and a needed break from the usual trials and tribulations. All quotes were scrupulously pulled from relevant in-context references (except for Jim's last one!) and no phrases were artificially reconstructed to make someone say anything they didn't originally mean. (That was last year's Rush Limbaugh video.) Perhaps some day such a conversation could really take place, but until then, may we all live in the joy and hope of Easter, in expectation of the miracle of reconciliation through the love of Jesus Christ!

+Seriously now, click here to join this conversation and let Glenn Beck know that you're a social justice Christian too!

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APRIL FOOLS' DAY ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

U.S. Anti-immigration Law Sparks International Exodus
by Ike Arumba

A legislative victory by opponents of immigration has had the unintended consequence of forcing the deportation of almost every U.S. citizen to their country of ancestral origin. Capitalizing on xenophobic hysteria, the vaguely worded law stated: "Whereas people come here and don't speak the language and take all the jobs, all immigrants and all of their families that weren't here to begin with hereby have to leave right now."
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Biden and Palin Upstage Obama with Bipartisan Diplomacy
by Uri Dikulous

On the heels of President Barack Obama's surprise visit to the troops in Afghanistan on Sunday, Vice President Joseph Biden and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin revealed a surprise of their own: The announcement that they had jointly negotiated a comprehensive peace treaty with the Taliban and the al-Qaeda terrorist network led by Osama Bin Laden.
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Archbishop Tutu Underwhelmed With U.S. Version of 'Reconciliation'
by Mel Arky

Archbishop Desmond Tutu's excitement that Congressional leaders were going through a process known as 'reconciliation' was abated last week when he learned that the procedure was not, in fact, a healing process for two bitterly feuding parties, but rather a technical congressional procedure designed to address budget items and bypass a filibuster.
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Bill To Reject Bipartisanship Receives Broad Bipartisan Support
by Phil A. Buster

Leaders of both parties in the House of Representatives hailed the passage of landmark legislation on Tuesday that rejects bipartisanship once and for all. The bill, which passed on Wednesday by a vote of 431-1, would codify the often ugly partisan divide that has halted Washington to a near standstill in recent months.
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OKAY, JOKE'S OVER. SERIOUSLY NOW, EVERYTHING BELOW THIS POINT IS A SERIOUS ARTICLE AND NOT AN APRIL FOOLS JOKE. SERIOUSLY.

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BUILDING A MOVEMENT

From the March on the Mall to Our Members of Congress

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Following up on last week’s 200,000-strong rally in support of immigration reform on the National Mall, we’re now asking our members of Congress to act! Our current immigration system does not reflect our nation’s best values. It is time to enact humane and practical laws that move beyond the legislative stalemate of the past few years.

+Tell members of Congress that reforming our immigration system is the right thing to do and that people of faith will support their efforts.



ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Planting Trees on Good Friday
by Liza Field

Good Friday will find my little conservation group planting trees. It's our way to dig in and pray for the world: the vanishing songbirds, our Virginia mountains getting pulverized by coal corporations, the living streams buried in rubble. We could use a resurrection around here.
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Our Response to Poverty in the Light of Easter
by Neeraj Mehta

This weekend as we celebrate Easter and the death and life of Jesus, my prayer is that we would be willing to ask some hard questions of ourselves. "Does my life look like Jesus on the cross?" "Am I sacrificing for, serving, and loving the people in my midst?"
+ Click to continue

A Six-Point Summary of What the New Health-Care Law Should Accomplish Now (and Some Other Details)
by Justin Fung

Here, in no particular order, are some of the main health-care provisions that have been signed into law, compiled from a guide from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan source of health policy and information on health-care issues.
+ Click to continue

'Christian' Militias and Tavis Smiley's MLK Documentary
by Jarrod McKenna

Many are wondering of what to make of the shameful association of the word "Christian" with "militia." Understandably, with Christianity being associated with something so anti-Jesus, one might want to be seen to not step out of line with "respectable civil religion." In this interview with Amy Goodman, Tavis Smiley talks frankly about his documentary on Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" speech and how "If you replace the words Iraq for Vietnam, Afghanistan for Vietnam, Pakistan for Vietnam, this speech is so relevant today."
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Mennonite College Follows First Playing of National Anthem with St. Francis' Peace Prayer
by Sheldon C. Good

From the beginning, I opposed Goshen's landmark decision to play the national anthem before select sporting events. To me, playing the anthem compromises Goshen's institutional values of compassionate peacemaking and global citizenship (values I hold, too). But I'm beginning to see how the national anthem discernment process has benefited me, the college, and the broader community.
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Why We're Talking About Glenn Beck and Social Justice
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

"If Beck had, from the beginning, made an argument for small government and private charity, none of us would have responded to him. But on his show this week he wrote on his blackboard: 'My definition of social justice' is 'the forced redistribution of wealth, with a hostility to individual property, under the guise of charity and/or justice.' I doubt many churches in America would agree with that."

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A Palm Sunday Procession to Jerusalem Ends in Arrests -- Including the Donkey
by Rose Marie Berger

Protesters crossed the main gate in the separation wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem on Palm Sunday 2010. Around 200 Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals walked from the Nativity Square toward Jerusalem, against the restrictions imposed by the Israelis. These restrictions were tighter than usual and directed toward the right to worship, as many Christians will not be able to go to Jerusalem to celebrate Easter.
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The Cross, Easter, and the 'They' Narrative
by Ernesto Tinajero

The us vs. them narrative holds the comment section in bondage. Each hopes to prove the other as the they. But then what? As a Christian, I know the problem. The problem is me and my sin. My heart is full of darkness that needs to be redeemed by the love of Jesus. I am part of the them as I am part of the us. Jesus becomes a bridge to which we can walk to meet Glenn Beck. Can we love one another? Can I love Glenn Beck? Can he love me? Not without risking the cross.
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Attempting to Understand Clergy Sexual Abuse
by Wendy Murray

Much has been written about troubling revelations and staggering numbers of clergy, Catholic and Protestant, who've been caught in the snare of sexual misconduct. Little has been written about why sex. Why not, for instance, kleptomania?
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A New START Toward Nuclear Disarmament
by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson

Fortunately, it looks like we're beginning to turn away from that "nuclear tipping point." The new START is a welcome step in the right direction, as it will verifiably bring U.S. and Russian deployed weapons down to 1,550 a side, and cut the delivery vehicles (missiles, bombers, and submarines) down to a total of 800 per side. These numbers are good, but it's worth doing a reality check, too.

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'God Will Not Hear You': Death Threat to a Colombian Pastor
by Elizabeth Palmberg

"God will not hear you," the death threat read, "because evangelicals don't matter." It goes on to threaten rape, burning people alive, extortion, and a general dusk-to-dawn reign of terror. It was hand-delivered to a pastor in a small community in northwest Colombia. My friend Janna, who was in my Bible study before she moved down South, sent me a copy.
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Health Care: Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers?
by Tracey Bianchi

This past week the entire nation has erupted into the health-care debate with more fervor than ever before. In this debate, like so many others, we are ultimately fighting about what to do with the winners and the losers. And as we debate and regroup I pray that we can all do so with an eye for those on the losing end. I do not mean the political losers, I mean the names and the faces of the actual people without health care.
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Christian Militias, Revelation, and Christ's Consistent Nonviolence
by Brian McLaren

The potential consequences of a violent image of God are illustrated by today's news story about so-called Christian militias. It's strange and sad that this subject would come up during Holy Week. This is the week we recall that Jesus was willing to be killed, but not to kill ... to be tortured, but not to torture. This is the week he told Peter to put away his sword, saying, "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword" (Matthew 26:52).
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Passover for Non-Jews and 'the Bread of Affliction'
by Roi Ben-Yehuda

In preparing a Passover seder in which many of my guests are first-timers and non-Jews, I am challenged by a number of factors: There is the barrier of language -- some of the texts that we read are in Hebrew and Aramaic. There is food -- some guests are vegetarian, some adhere to Kashrut, still others are Muslims and cannot drink wine. And finally religion -- will the guests take offense at the exclusivist and bellicose passages we read? Will the Christians daydream about the "last supper"?
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A Pastor's Petition
by Matthew Soerens

Enrique has joined the ranks of the undocumented and will remain in that status until his father's petition might provide an option, or until laws are changed. The entire family serves in the church, worshiping God and encouraging others to love God, to love their neighbors, to teach children to love and know the Lord, and to work hard in their new country. They yearn and pray for the day when the law will allow their entire family to be right before the law.
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Lent on $2.50 a Day
by LaVonne Neff

My friend Irene Groot decided to try the Lenten Experiment this year. Irene lives in a pricey Northern California city, so it couldn't have been easy. "What I found was that I kept my husband and myself well fed on fresh, wholesome, well-balanced meals for $2.50 - $3.00/person/day. I'd say the figure was closer to $2.50." How did she do it?
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Dorothy Day: Unapologetic Radical, but no Marxist
by Robert Ellsberg

It was surprising to see Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, described on the Glenn Beck show as a Marxist. Day, who died in 1980 at the age of 83, was accustomed to being called names. Though no Marxist, she was an unapologetic radical -- which meant, for her, a determination to get to the root of social problems -- both in human selfishness and greed, and in the social structures build on selfishness and greed.
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This One's for Isaiah
by Jennifer Kottler

How can I continue to slog it out day after day in a city that is wired not to change, with lawmakers who are doing everything they can to prevent change, in an environment that is more bitter and more partisan than it has ever been in recent memory? I focus on the faces of the people who stand to gain or lose by the passage of a piece of legislation. For example, health care. Whenever I would get discouraged and really want to give up, I would think about Isaiah.
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Kudos and Good News Coverage on the Glenn Beck Social Justice Debate
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Last week, Don Miller was SojoFriend #1 for his eloquent framing of the Glenn Beck debate. This week, a much shorter affirmation comes from Chuck Colson via Dan Gilgoff on Twitter ...
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Faith Leaders on Immigration: Peaceful, Powerful, and Prophetic
by Allison Johnson

While the immigration rally was an inspiring and important part of this year's reform efforts thus far, the message was amplified on Monday when hundreds of people of faith held meetings with their Congress members and faith leaders paid a visit to the White House. As we have learned from past immigration reform efforts, we must not only march in the streets, but also meet and form relationships and dialogue with our political leaders.
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Finding Watchtowers and Blind Spots in Bethlehem
by Troy Jackson

I had been staying in my Bethlehem hotel room for four days, but did not even know I could see the Wall from my room until one morning. I did not have the right vantage point. It was only when I walked up to the windows and sat at the desk that I noticed the Wall. I was blinded to harsh realities just a few hundred feet from my window. How often do we insulate and isolate ourselves from the great injustices, viewing the world from watchtowers that affirm our prejudices and lack of involvement?
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Escaping from Real Communism
by Cheuang Kavan

Why did we flee from Laos? To escape the same communism my father had fought in his youth. Under communism, people were forced to work in collective farms. But the crops that were raised went to Russia and China in exchange for weapons and war planes, while the majority of the people were left starving.
+ Click to continue

SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

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Top Stories:

Christians from political left and right sign 'Civility Covenant'
CNN.com
A group of more than 100 prominent Christians ranging from evangelical minister Jim Wallis on the political left to Nixon White House aide Chuck Colson on the right released a document Thursday calling for an end to the fight club tone of the national political discourse. Called the "Civility Covenant," the document says that churches have too often "reflected the political divisions of our culture rather than the unity we have in the body of Christ." +Click to continue


Make Our Ugly Discourse Better: Join the Civilogue
Politics Daily

Christian leaders from left, right call for civility amid poisoned discourse
Associated Baptist Press

Conservative, Liberal Christians Vow to Model Civility
The Christian Post

Health Care Reform Enacted—Now What?
Christianity Today blog

Rose Berger interviewed on NPR about Oscar Romero
Latino USA

Wallis says Glenn Beck has helped advance social justice
Associated Baptist Press

Beck renews attack on Wallis with tired distortion about "redistribution of wealth"
Media Matters

An Easter story for Glenn Beck
On Faith

The 'social justice Christian' exchange
On Faith

"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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New book from Jim Wallis - Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street and Your Street -- A Moral Compass for the New Economy. Order here and a portion of your purchase supports Sojourners.

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