The Common Good
September-October 2000


by Ryan Beiler | September-October 2000

Resources for study and action.

Vote Smarter

Since many people of conscience vote by choosing what they consider the lesser of two evils, Project Vote Smart provides the information to help you decide which is which. A nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing accurate and thorough data on state and national races, it compiles candidate surveys, voting records, campaign finance information, biographical backgrounds, and more. Aside from its new (and free) 78-page Voters Self-Defense Manual, Project Vote Smart provides a wealth of information online and in print. Contact Project Vote Smart, One Common Ground, Philipsburg, MT 59858; 1-888-VOTE-SMART;

Keeping Score

For those concerned about their local environmental health, Scorecard is a project of the Environmental Defense Fund that gives you instant information on the pollution levels in your home community. To find out your score, just go to, type in your zip code, and hold your breath. After you get over the shock, there’s a "take action" section and links to further information including local volunteer opportunities.

More Life, Less Strife

Alternatives for Simple Living strikes another blow against materialism with Living More with Less, a new study and action guide. Section headings include: Do Justice, Learn from the World Community, Nurture People, Cherish the Natural Order, and Nonconform Freely. But, advises author Delores Histand Friesen, "This is an active study. Think serendipity. Think in terms of actions, signs of the kingdom, visibility, NOT discussion, talk, ideas." With the goal of integrating study and life, the book contains 15 chapters of projects, questions, and resources adaptable for small group study, Sunday school classes, retreats, or total congregational involvement. Contact Alternatives for Simple Living, 5312 Morningside Avenue, P.O. Box 2857, Sioux City, IA 51106; 1-800-821-6153;;

Girl Power

Looking for a refreshing and internationally diverse alternative to most magazines targeted at young girls? New Moon, edited by and for girls ages 8-14, contains original writing, artwork, letters, and reviews. "The problem with most magazines for girls is that the images in those magazines tell girls what they should be," says founder Nancy Gruver. "New Moon is where girls tell the world who they are, without adults or advertisers as interpreters." Subscriptions are $29 for six ad-free issues. For parents, teachers, or anyone concerned with issues of girls’ development, the New Moon Network newsletter contains essays, reviews, and current research, providing an excellent resource for building understanding. Newsletter cost is $25 for six issues. Contact New Moon Publishing, P.O. Box 3587, Duluth, MN 55803; 1-800-381-4743;;

A Change for the Better

Would you join the military? How would you react to boot camp? How would you face the reality of war? Would you be able to find healing afterwards? The video Change of Command answers these questions through the testimony of military veterans who present stories of how Christ’s way of peace changed their lives. Complete with study guide, this 42-minute film encourages viewers to examine their faith in relation to issues of violence, war, and peace. Available for free loan or $25 from Mennonite Central Committee, 21 South 12th St., P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501; (717) 859-1151;;

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