The Common Good


Sojomail - March 30, 2001

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++++++++++++++++++++ 30-March-2001 +++++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
     *Episcopal Bishop John Spong in Playboy interview

 H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
     *Jim Wallis in London

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *Humour from Down Under

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *Ex-prostitute reaches out to L.A. box-dwellers

 B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
     *Every church a peace church?

 P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
     *Did IBM help Nazis in WWII?

 T e c h   E t h i x
     *What does it mean to be the 21st century?

 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
     *U2 begins USA tour...Bono interview

 H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
     *Call to Renewal Summit a call to action

 C o l o m b i a   J o u r n a l
     *Rose Berger's "most dangerous day" in Colombia

 W e b  S c e n e
     *Online magazine a complete "failure"
     *Does your favorite Catholic theologian toe the line?
     *Mystery site: Andyco
     *Find out your work rights - and responsibilities


Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
Episcopal Bishop John Spong in...a Playboy interview

(One thing you've got to say for Spong, he walks
boldly across the minefields of contradiction)

PLAYBOY: You've predicted that there will be
female Roman Catholic priests and eventually a
woman pope. Any feel for when Catholics will
find a woman celebrating Sunday Mass?

SPONG: There's no doubt it's going to come
within 25 years, or they'll be the laughingstock
of the Christian West. My sense is they can't
afford not to. I think the church would blow up.
I don't want the Roman church to blow up. It's
too powerful and part of Christianity. But they
can't treat women the way they do. You could get
away with that in the 19th century, but already
it's alienated a lot of women, and as the world
goes along, it would be like trying to defend
slavery in the 20th century. The consciousness
of the world has changed, and to the degree that
the Roman church is a Western church serving
Europe and the United States, it can't continue 
that way. They have nuns serving congregations. 
They have women doing everything except celebrating 
the Eucharist. 


H e a r t s   &   M i n d s
The British government is beginning seriously to look 
at creating partnerships with religious organizations 
to provide social welfare services. Jim Wallis is in 
London this week, speaking to a conference on this topic 
and meeting with church and government leaders. He will 
have a report in next week's column.--The Editors


F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
Humour from Down Under

A Texan farmer goes to Australia on vacation.
There he meets an Aussie farmer and gets to
talking. The Aussie shows off his big wheat
field and the Texan says, "Oh! We have wheat
fields that are at least twice that size!"

They walk around the ranch a little, and the
Aussie shows off his herd of cattle. The Texan
immediately replies, "We have longhorns that
are at least twice as large as your cows."

The conversation has died down when the Texan
sees a herd of kangaroos hopping through the
field. He asks the Aussie, "What are those?"

The Aussie replies with an incredulous look,
"Don't you have any grasshoppers in Texas?"

**************SOJOFEST 2001******************

And you're invited! It doesn't seem possible, 
but this year marks the 30th anniversary of 
Sojourners magazine. Thirty years of Faith, 
Politics, and Culture. Thirty years of joy, 
triumph, laughter, tears, and friendship. 
We've been working hard, and now we're ready 
to celebrate. 

SOJOFEST 2001 takes place this summer, July 26-29, 
on the beautiful campus of Wheaton College near 
Chicago. There will be music, speakers, an 
outdoor fair, Bible studies, and more!

Find out more and register online at:

S o u l   W o r k s
Former prostitute reaches out to box-dwellers

by Colette Walden

Lavonne Savage was making $2,000 a day, but
she was broke. Virtually every dollar went
for drugs and alcohol. She says, "I was about
15 when I started selling myself." Now a minister,
Savage is pioneering a church among box-dwelling
homeless people in Los Angeles.

Five years ago, a drug dealer deposited Savage
at a Teen Challenge center. "He wanted me to
get off drugs, so I could get back on the streets
and make more money," she said. "What he didn't
know was that I would get saved." God healed her
of her addictions and used a drama troupe
to bring her back to Christ.

Soon, Savage started telling L.A.'s homeless about
Jesus. She and fellow Teen Challenge residents
"knocked" on cardboard boxes where the homeless
people stay. That was three years ago. Now the
homeless know her well, because she lives among

She will be ordained after she completes classes
through Global University. In the meantime, she
juggles college classes with her church's services,
children's ministry, outreach events, neighborhood
canvassing, and speaking engagements. She feeds
the homeless and provides basic necessities such
as toothbrushes and combs, while building
relationships with them.

To read more about Lavonne Savage, go to:,1875,333182,00.htm


B u i l d i n g   A   M o v e m e n t
Nonviolent movement among faith communities

"Every church a peace church" (ECAPC) is a
challenge from the historic peace churches -
the Mennonites, the Society of Friends (Quakers),
and the Church of the Brethern - to the mainline
Christian churches to begin a conversation
based on this simple proposition: "That the
church could turn the world to peace if every
faith community lived and taught as Jesus lived
and taught."

It seems obvious from Jesus' teachings in the
Sermon on the Mount that, if anything, he intended
the church of his followers to be a peace church.
Therefore, it is imperative in this violent
world for the disciples of this nonviolent Jesus
to start recognizing that reality and acting on it,
as the historic peace churches have done for
centuries. ECAPC is starting a global network of
creative nonviolence, in the manner of Jesus,
Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and innumerable other
religious peacemakers through history.

The first ECAPC gathering will be in Duluth,
Minnesota, at The College of St. Scholastica,
April 27-28, 2001. For more details check
out the national website at:

or call John K. Stoner at (717) 859-1958 or Gary G. Kohls
at (218) 728-9756.


P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
Did IBM Help Nazis in WWII?

by Michelle Delio

On the heels of a new book detailing IBM's
cooperation with the Third Reich, five Holocaust
victims file suit against Big Blue.

The suit claims that IBM has not allowed historians
access to its archival records, which would prove
that the company took an active role in helping
the Nazis. 

The legal action by the Washington, D.C. law firm of
Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll coincides with
the publication on Monday of a book titled
"IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance
Between Nazi Germany and America's Most
Powerful Corporation," by Edwin Black.

Black, a son of Holocaust survivors, claims that
IBM created a custom system for its Hollerith
tabulators that allowed Hitler to computerize
his war machine. "IBM technology put the blitz
into the blitzkrieg," claims Black, who argues
that IBM technology allowed Hitler's troops to
achieve "scale, velocity, [and] efficiency" that
would have been impossible without

Black also claims that Thomas J. Watson, IBM's
chairman from 1915 to 1956, and other top level
IBM executives in New York knowingly allowed
the Nazis to use IBM technology in order to
protect the company's profits. Watson was awarded
the Merit Cross of the German Eagle with Star
by Hitler.

For the entire story, go to:,1283,41753,00.html?tw=wn20010212


T e c h   E t h i x
What does it mean to be human...
in the 21st century?

by David Batstone

Within the next 10 to 20 years, we can anticipate
the evolving convergence of humans and machines.
Computing will disappear as we know it. Data will
flow directly to our retinas from implanted eye
screens, making laptops, cell phones, and palm
devices wholly redundant. We will have wireless
access to high bandwidth all the time. Web sites
will morph into real-time environments, allowing
us to share experiences with invited others. Jump
ahead another two decades and we'll flood our brains
with nanobots that will serve as even more
sophisticated communicators and memory banks.

Nonbiological thinking will be billions of times
more powerful than biological thinking. Children
today receive inoculation shots before entering
kindergarten; by 2035 they may be required to
receive an infusion of intelligent nanobots giving
them all the information they will need to know,
making school books a vestige of the past. Though
my prognoses may be off, the integration of human and
machine intelligence will be intimate. Count on it....

How far will the convergence of human and
machine have to evolve before an individual loses
his or her humanity? It is arguable that a human could
become so mechanized as to lose his or her essential
identity (itself a concept the geneticists will
place under great scrutiny). There are no trite
solutions to the challenges we will face in the
years ahead. Yet people who walk spiritual paths
do have a clear vision of human potential: love,
joy, peace, compassion, goodness. To live that way -
that's what it means to have real "soul." Nanobots
and genetic enhancements surely will boost
performance, but our destiny still lies with
choices of the heart.

For David Batstone's entire column as it appeared
in the March/April issue of Sojourners magazine,
go to:


B o o m e r a n g

George Kao of Ann Arbor, Michigan, wrote:

Another wonderful issue of SojoMail...great
stuff, getting better all the time. I like
the Jim Wallis column, building a movement,
culture watch, tech ethix (great addition!
technology & religion...what an interesting
topic), webscene.

Patricia Matthews of Morgantown, West Virginia, wrote:

I cannot say anything you've not heard
before, but here it is again: thanks for
doing this absolutely essential work.
(I just sent out an e-mail to my friends
today extolling a few of your many virtues!)


Tanja Winter of La Jolla, California, wrote:

I, too, am disappointed that Jim Wallis is going
along with FBO. It is a dangerous and devious way
of defunding the public sector, favoring religion
over no religion, and undermining democracy, which
is based on open, all-inclusive secular institutions,
SEPARATE from religious organization. I'm afraid
that Jim is being seduced by the duplicitous Bush


Spencer Bradford of Burlington, North Carolina, wrote:

For the last decade, I've directed nonprofit
community ministries, both Christian and
interfaith, that have received government grants
for providing services without mandating religious
activities for clients. Faith programs have been
available to them on a voluntary basis, and have
even been promoted, but not on Caesar's dime....
I'm all for streamlining and simplifying
bureacratic procedures, but that is different from
compromising the line between the liberty of faith
and Caesar's mastery. Don't anyone try to sell
that both go together.

With the budget numbers the administration
is floating now, can we all admit that since its
inception with welfare reform, strategies for
funneling more dollars to FBOs have consistently
functioned as a beard for cutting social service
funding? I know that hasn't been the intent for all
of its supporters, but hasn't that been the cynical
function of it for people like Bush, Ashcroft, and
Olasky...? I'll take charitable choice and the
FBO office more seriously when the Bush administration
and the DLC jointly support a net INCREASE in
funding for HUD and DHHS programs, and a DECREASE
in loopholes for corporate taxes and CEO bonuses.


Joe Bradford from Danville, Virginia, wrote:

Bush's first 10 "accomplishments," plus one:

1. Roll back legislation protecting workers from
repetitive injuries.
2. Try to get a tax cut pushed through.
3. Re-open federal timber lands for clear cutting.
4. Turn "our" back on the peace process in the Middle East.
5. Do likewise with Korea.
6. Push the damaging of the eco-system in Alaska for
more oil rather than promoting alternative means
of energy.
7. Lower the EPA guidelines for "acceptable" pollution
in California.
8. Lower the EPA guidelines for "acceptable" levels
of arsenic in ground water.
9. Agree to sign a weak campaign finance reform measure
to look like something was accomplished.
10. Work on privatizing (eliminating?) social security.
11. Spit on Russia and restart the Cold War.

Unfortunately the list will continue to grow.

Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of
views. Want to make your voice heard? Send
Boomerang e-mails to the editor:



C u l t u r e  W a t c h
Bono mark the 
launch of the U2 tour in USA

by Anthony DeCurtis

Q: Do you have the same level of rapport with the
Bush administration as you did with Clinton?

BONO: Yes. In fact, if you look at the cover of
The New York Times when debt cancellation went
through, the headline was - and for me it was an 
amusing triumvirate - "The Pope, U2 and George 
W. Prevail." We worked very hard to get both 
Republican and Democratic authorship on that 
package, and I'm confident the Republican
leadership will follow through. In the second
debate, [Bush] mentioned debt cancellation as
one of the ideas he was excited by.

Q: Because debt relief became a religious issue,
you were able to meet with many politicians with
whom you probably agree on nothing else. What
was that like? 

BONO: I really have had to swallow my own 
prejudice at times. Because I was suspicious
of the traditional Christian church, I tended
to tar them all with the same brush. That was a
mistake, because there are righteous people working
in a whole rainbow of belief systems - from Hasidic
Jews to right-wing Bible Belters to charismatic

We had a meeting in the White House, and President
Clinton invited Pat Robertson, who I think had
referred to him as "a devil" and hadn't visited
the White House in eight years. I saw him in the
room with Andrew Young, who said, his voice
trembling, that this is the most important
thing that's come up for him since the civil rights
marches in the '60s. Clinton said, "This is a very
odd bunch of people. But if you guys could agree
to meet a few more times, you could really change
the world."[]

To read the entire Beliefnet interview with Bono, visit:

Read a review of U2's new album, "All That You
Can't Leave Behind," by Kimberly Burge, in the
March/April issue of Sojourners magazine:

H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
Call to Renewal Summit 
inspires new partnerships and action

"Excellent organization on all levels." "Lots of 
policy information, yet input from people in the 
trenches." "The chance to network and build 
spiritual power around the issue of ending 
poverty." These were a few comments from 
participants in Call to Renewal's Summit, "Facing 
the Divide: Mobilizing Networks to Overcome 
Poverty," held March 18-21 in Washington, D.C. 

More than 500 people of faith gathered to 
mobilize their networks, magnify their prophetic 
voice, and develop more effective strategies 
to overcome poverty. Participants heard from 
Dr. John DiIulio, head of the White Office of 
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Marian 
Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund, 
Rev. Floyd Flake of Allen A.M.E., and Convener 
Jim Wallis. They also met in networking sessions 
around the seven planks of CTR's "Campaign to 
Overcome Poverty": Living Family Income; 
Dismantling Racism; Schools That Work; 
Affordable, Quality Healthcare; Safe Neighborhoods; 
Family-friendly Policies/Programs; and Safe, 
Affordable Housing. 

To learn more about the Summit, see 

The Colombia Journals
by Rose Marie Berger

Sojourners assistant editor Rose Marie Berger
recently returned from a 10-day fact-finding
mission to Colombia with Witness for Peace
(a faith-based movement that has been in
Latin America since 1983). This is the seventh
installment of her diary highlights in SojoMail.
Look for more on Colombia in upcoming issues
of Sojourners.


Off to Puerto Caicedo today. Such a beautiful
colonial setting with the church buildings
wrapped around a tranquil courtyard with a massive
tree in the center. Father Ernesto Estrada greets us
and introduces us to their "saint," Father Alcides 
Jimenez, who was assassinated in 1998, probably by the 
guerrillas. He was 49 years old. He was 
killed while saying mass. "Seventeen bullets...
one for each year he served in Puerto
Caicedo," says Father Ernesto. The priest walks us
through Father Jimenez's passion. "Here are his
vestments. You can see the bullet holes. Here is
the Bible he raised up as his shield with a bullet
hole in the corner. Here is the chalice with the
bullet hole through the bottom. He was shot here in
the church. Then he stumbled out here to the
base of this tree. Here is where he died."

The priest tells us that the paramilitaries in
the area have scared off a larger public meeting
with us, so we will meet in an upper room in the
church with a few of the main community leaders:
the human rights representative, the union leader
representing small cattle ranchers working on
alternative crops, and the director of a licit
crop substitution program. They tell us that
traditionally Puerto Caicedo was a self-sustaining
agricultural region. Then 22 years ago, coca
showed up and Puerto Caicedo was no longer self-
sustaining. The farmers said they could just grow
coca and get all the money they needed. Now, with
the armed repression the farmers are re-thinking
that strategy. But because of the open trade border
with Ecuador their licit crops can't compete and
there is no market available for them to which to
distribute their crops. What they want is support 
for the small subsistence projects on the microeconomic
scale they have already started, rather than large
development projects that they can't sustain on
their own.

After leaving the church, we travel to the model 
organic farm project, started 10 years ago by Father
Jimenez. They grow plantains, sugarcane,
pineapple, yucca, and have 25 hectares in pastureland
for 20 head of cattle, with the rest in natural
rainforest reserve. They raise tilapia and chacahamba
in their fish ponds. There is no coca. There has
never been any coca. This farm is living testimony
that with the right conditions and support a non-
coca economy can be reestablished in this area.

At lunch the men told us they had spent the
morning in teams scouring the farm and surrounding
area to make sure the roads were safe for us. There
is a large piece of white cloth hanging on a stick
on top of the main house to signify peace and that
this is a neutral farm.

For more information on alternative development
projects in Colombia, see the article "Counter-
Narcotics Policy and Prospects for Peace: Eradication
and Alternative Development in Southern Colombia" at:

Find more information on Witness for Peace's Colombia 
project at:


W e b  S c e n e

*Online magazine a complete "failure"...intentionally so

Failure magazine is the new online publication
full of humankind's boldest missteps. Covering
stories historical and current, Failure and its
nationally recognized writers - culled from the
halls of academia and the pages of your favorite
magazines - explore the world of arts & entertainment,
science & technology, business, and sports. Magazine
tagline: "'s an option." Maybe you haven't
considered it. But for those dedicated to innovation,
it's more than an option, it's an unavoidable
necessity. To pursue failure, go to:


*Does your favorite Catholic theologian toe the line?

A new Web site created by a Roman Catholic priest
that purports to rate "authentically Catholic"
colleges has fired the first shot in what promises
to be a heated battle between liberal and
conservative Catholics. The Web site ranks colleges
by the percentage of their theologians whose
teachings have been approved by a bishop. Theologians
are required to obtain this approval, known as a
mandatum, by June 2002; the requirement is the
most controversial aspect of Ex corde Ecclesiae,
a 1990 papal document outlining the church's
relationship to Catholic colleges.

For a feature news story about the Web site, see:


*Mystery site: Andyco

"We're everything to everybody" is the motto of
Andyco. It's not really an exaggeration, considering
you'd be hard-pressed to figure out exactly what
this "company" actually does. File it under "humor."
Go to:


*Find out your work rights - and responsibilities

Does your workplace comply with all the federal
laws and regulations governing health, safety,
wages, benefits, and other areas? This U.S.
Department of Labor site presents clear
explanations of federal laws affecting small
businesses, making it a useful reference for
workers and employers who want to know their
legal rights and responsibilities. Go to:


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