The Common Good

Dancing with the Archbishop

Sojomail - August 28, 2002


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++++++++++++++++++++++ 28-August-2002 +++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++ Dancing with the Archbishop +++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
     *Vertigo lifestyle

 H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
     *Dancing with the Archbishop

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *Leaving the final judgments to God

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *Origins of the universe

 B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
     *USA...a country behind bars?

 B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
     *School of the Americas protesters held without rights

 C u l t u r e   W a t c h
     *BBC documentary: "Chasing bin Laden"

 R e l i g i o n   &   S o c i e t y
     *The secular society gets religion

 B o o m e r a n g
     *SojoMail readers speak their minds

 W e b s c e n e
     *Brazilian landless workers' movement
     *Visit the world of Betty Bowers
     *Smells like teen B.O.

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Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k

You know when you're sitting on a chair and
you lean back so you're just on two legs then
you lean too far and you almost fall over but
at the last second you catch yourself? I feel
like that all the time.

                - Anonymous Net posting


H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
Dancing with the Archbishop

by Jim Wallis

My wife was dancing with the Archbishop. In front of 12,000 people. Joy Carroll (my wife) concelebrated the Eucharist at the Sunday worship service of the Greenbelt Festival with the new Archbishop-Elect of the Church of England, Rowan Williams. After we finished the wonderful liturgy, the musicians on the main stage stuck up some lively Celtic music that got the whole crowd dancing. I was grinning at our 4-year-old son, Luke, dancing away with his 10-year-old cousin Steven, when somebody tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Look, Joy's dancing with the Archbishop!" The next day's London Times carried the picture with a caption reading "The Archbishop dancing with the 'Vicar of Dibley'" (Joy was the script consultant and role model for this hit British comedy show and is known in England as the "real" Vicar of Dibley!) I'm told it's been a long time since British teenagers were heard chanting the name of an Archbishop: "Rowan! Rowan!"

The Welshman and Oxford scholar is not necessarily known for his dancing but rather for his intellect, social conscience, poet's heart, and deep faith. Just a few weeks ago, Williams said a war with Iraq is illegal and immoral. Still in his early 50s, he will bring new energy to the Church of England in its theology, spirituality, and commitment to social justice.

Greenbelt is a festival of music, arts, faith, and politics that has attracted people of all ages in Britain for nearly 30 years. I've often been a speaker there, and it is where Joy and I first met. The days are full of lively discussions and the nights alive with music. Saturday afternoon I was on a panel with Williams and British Jewish and Muslim leaders, reflecting on the meaning of Sept. 11. Williams offered an observation that became for me the best line of this year's festival: "When all you have is hammers, everything looks like a nail."

The United States has the biggest and best hammers in the world. But they are the only weapons we seem to know how to use. And all we seem able to do is look for nails to pound. Iraq is the nail the U.S. government desperately wants to strike right now. By pounding the nail of Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration says a blow will be struck against terrorism. The trouble is that virtually nobody else in the world believes that. In fact, most credible international analysts believe that a war with Iraq could make everything worse - by inflaming the whole region, potentially causing enormous human casualties, possibly unleashing the very weapons of mass destruction the world is most concerned about Iraq possessing, further diminishing the chances for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, and greatly intensifying hatred for the U.S. and the West, which will inevitably recruit more terrorists. The threat of Hussein must be handled in other ways.

Being in Britain for two weeks creates a very different perspective on a war with Iraq than one hears in the United States. Virtually everybody here is against the idea, across the entire political spectrum. In fact, I haven't heard anyone in Britain speak in favor of going to war. Both Labor and Tory Ministers of Parliament I've spoken with or listened to are opposed, as are all the government ministers who have spoken on the subject, church leaders of all stripes, and the newspapers and other media, again, of all political persuasions. People honestly can't figure out what George Bush is thinking.

Every time I spoke at Greenbelt, I said the British voice is perhaps the most important voice in the world on Iraq, maybe the only voice that might be able to stop this war, which I believe could be the biggest U.S. foreign policy disaster since Vietnam. But even though British public opinion is so united against a war with Iraq, the most important voice will be Tony Blair's. And Blair may be the only one who has yet to really publicly voice his opinion. If he ends up supporting his friend George Bush, and the war goes badly, many people here believe it could cost him the next election. So, I told my British friends that they must tell their prime minister to just say no to President Bush.

At the end of my first talk, a man came up to me with his son, and told me his boy had an idea that he wanted to share with me. Twelve-year-old Tim Saunders said, "I heard your talk. And I think we have to stop this war from happening. So my idea is for all of us at Greenbelt to sign a statement and take it to Tony Blair." A petition was circulated, literally thousands of Christians at Greenbelt signed it, and Tim Saunders and others will soon be taking it to 10 Downing Street. It won't be the last that Tony Blair hears from the British people about this. I suspect that Tim would suggest that we in America might do something like that too.


S o u l   W o r k s
Leaving the final judgments to God

Let us not be justices of the peace, but
angels of peace. 

            - Saint Therese of Lisieux

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F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
Origins of the universe

There is a theory that states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory that states that this has already happened.


B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
USA: A country behind bars?

One in 32 adults in the United States was behind bars or on probation by the end of last year, according to a government report that found a record 6.6 million people in the U.S. correctional system.

The Justice Department reported that adults under supervision by the criminal justice system rose by 147,700, or 2.3 percent between 2000 and 2001.

Texas had the most adults under supervision than any other state: 755,100. California had the most incarcerated: 236,300, followed by Texas at 203,800.

"The overall figures suggest that we've come to rely on the criminal justice system as a way of responding to social problems in a way that's unprecedented," said Marc Mauer, assistant director of the Sentencing Project.

Source: The Associated Press


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B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
School of the Americas protesters held without rights

They spoke up for us and now it's time that we speak up for them!

On July 12, 2002, a federal court in Georgia found 36 SOA Watch activists guilty and sentenced them for speaking out against the School of the Americas (SOA) in a nonviolent protest on the Fort Benning military reservation. Twenty- nine received prison terms ranging from three months to the maximum of six months - one more attempt to silence the movement to close the SOA, and to prevent others from speaking out. Toni Flynn, 56, a Catholic Worker and mother of four from Valyermo, CA, Peter Gelderloos, 20, an activist from Harrisonburg, VA, and Father Jerry Zawada, 65, a Franciscan priest from Cedar Lake, IN, were taken to Crisp County Jail in Georgia. It was assumed that this was to be a brief stop in transit to a federal prison near their homes.

Now, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has designated Crisp County Jail as the location where the three will serve the remainder of their six-month sentences. The three have reported deplorable conditions in this jail including dangerous medical neglect. The Crisp County Jail does not comply with federal standards for the treatment of prisoners. The Crisp County Jail does not permit visits on weekends and the visitation facilities do not meet the BOP criteria (see federal code citation below).

Federal Code citation:
28 Code of Federal Regulations Sections 540.41 and 540.42 provide requirements for proper visitation facilities and visiting times for inmates. "At a minimum, the Warden shall establish visiting hours at the institution on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays" (Section 540.42(a)). It is the policy of the BOP "to encourage visiting by family, friends, and community groups to maintain the morale of the inmate and to develop closer relationships between the inmate and family members or others in the community" (Section 540.40).

Here's what you can do:
*Write a letter to the Southeast Regional Director of the BOP to demand that the SOA Watch Prisoners of Conscience be moved to a facility near their home and that the situation at Crisp County Jail has to change for all prisoners. In doing research on the Net it appears that there has been more litigation concerning Georgia County jails than any other state.

Fax and snail-mail your letter to:

R.E. Holt
Southeast Regional Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
3800 Camp Creek Parkway, S.W.
Building 2000
Atlanta, GA 30331-6226
Fax: (678) 686-1229

*Contact your congressperson. Point out that while SOA- trained killers continue to act with impunity, nonviolent people of conscience are in prison under harsh conditions. Urge your congressperson to contact R.E. Holt to inquire about the conditions in Crisp County Jail that are in violation of federal law, and to demand that Peter, Toni, and Jerry be moved to a facility in compliance with federal standards. If your representative is a co-sponsor of HR 1810 (the bill to close the SOA), thank them for their support. If not, take this opportunity to ask them to sign on. Click here for more legislative information and a list of co- sponsors.

*Come to Fort Benning, Nov. 15-17, 2002, and take the place of those who have been incarcerated.


C u l t u r e   W a t c h
BBC documentary: "Chasing bin Laden"

by Chris Currie
Christchurch, New Zealand

Our New Zealand main national TV channel recently showed a BBC documentary called "Chasing bin Laden." It portrayed U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan being told that the terrorists would run as soon as they were attacked. How ignorant can one be? Afghans have for hundreds of years been brought up to fight. Muslims believe they will go straight to their heaven if killed in battle. The documentary also showed the U.S. forces being delivered by helicopter to the middle of a large valley where the Taliban were and then, of course, having to evacuate. Even King David 3000 years ago knew better strategy than that.

The documentary showed incredible resources and fire power being deployed in the war. What if the same expenditure and effort had been put into rebuilding the Afghan irrigation works destroyed by the Russians? What if even some of the effort had been put into rebuilding non-drug related agriculture and horticulture, thereby earning the right to say that the U.S. way of life is better? What if a fraction of the expenditure had been put into schools providing free board and lodging as well as free education for the children of large Afghan and Pakistani families? What if those schools demonstrated a more upright, merciful, and loving way of life compared with the hundreds of free board- and-lodging schools provided by the radical Muslims?

If any want an in-depth, relatively unbiased, and thoroughly documented view of the situation, I recommend "Taliban: The story of the Afghan Warlords," by Ahmed Rashid, an international journalist who has been reporting on Afghanistan since 1979. It is published by Pan Books.


R e l i g i o n   &   S o c i e t y
The secular society gets religion

by Felicia R. Lee

Now, according to Professor Heclo, the pendulum has swung the other way. His research, he said, has turned up polls showing that people are more willing to see religious views expressed by public officials and to see religion promoted by government than at any time since the 1970s. "It's not the old values of the culture wars," he continued, "but what do we think are the grounds for deciding if something is right or wrong?"

To read the entire feature, go to [Free reg. required]:

To read an insightful critique of the foregoing "New York Times" feature, go to:

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B o o m e r a n g

V. Satyamurti, CEO of All India Association for Micro- Enterprise Development (AIAMED), writes from New Delhi:

Your SojoMail on August 21 ("Where do WorldCom Execs Go to Church") was terrific. God bless your team.


Brendan Boughen writes from Auckland, New Zealand:

I work as the marketing/communications manager at St. Matthew-in-the-City Anglican Church in Auckland. Myself and the vicar here, Rev. Ian Lawton, are avid readers of SojoMail. We greatly appreciate reading your alternative views on American politics, social justice, and the place of an active, thinking Christian faith through it all. In the last month we have started our own e-zine that we have called SMACA. It aims to be "a forum for progressive Christianity, philosophy, and social issues, as well as personal life and faith matters." SojoMail was great inspiration for us in the development of SMACA, so we would like to say a big thank you for this. Anyone who wants a "Down Under" perspective of politics, spirituality, and culture can visit us at:


Rev. Duncan Miller, Lincoln, Nebraska:

I am very disappointed that Sojourners felt the need to publish the place of worship of WorldCom and Enron CEOs. I agree with the point, but every church has hypocrites. Singling one or two out seems to be moving toward tabloid journalism. I expect better from Sojourners.


Robin Titterington writes from Atlanta, Georgia:

A few weeks *before* the WorldCom situation was made public, my priest (Episcopalian) did do a sermon on corporate greed. I thought it was very good and he talked about how one cannot be a Christian only on Sunday. After the service, one of my fellow parishioners (who I consider a good friend and a nice person!) said to me that he thought the sermon was very "inappropriate" and that the priest "is always picking on business people." He stated his intention to write the priest an email and tell him not to discuss business! I, in turn, also wrote the priest of my support for the sermon. I'm not sure how my friend is able to separate the two parts of his life nor how the WorldCom (or other executives) also seem to do this. Thanks so much for your continuing thought-provoking columns.


Andrea Calisher writes from Ithaca, New York:

I've always worked in county government or in the non- profit sectors. Knowing that private industry is necessary and allows for me to, in part, have the life I have, I still have an anxiety about moving into the private sector for employment - particularly recently. I guess I'm just a non-profit kind of gal. With this, of course, has come no major financial benefits.

Recently I went through a period of major financial stress. I didn't want to leave my job - working for an agency that promotes ideals I believe deeply in. But money had to come from somewhere. I actually did something I never thought I would do. I learned more about a private sector opportunity - one that I held major stereotypes about - Mary Kay. I, the non-profit guru who mainly wears Berkenstocks, no jewelry, and only some lip balm when I want to look spiffy, decided to sell Mary Kay. What really attracted me was that it was the first company I encountered that was truly about helping women help themselves. The philosophy of the company is "God first, family second, and career third." This philosophy underpins all business activities. It's not about putting gobs of makeup on and gaining a false sense of self-esteem, but about interacting with women, providing products women enjoy but doing it in ways that lift women up. I could go on about this company, but my point is that it's possible to have a multi-billion dollar company that doesn't take the fast and easy way of making a buck. In a time of Enron and company, Mary Kay is encouraging. Companies like Mary Kay are hard to find these days. Funny though, the ones I can think of have been founded by women.


Anne Haehl writes from Lawrence, Kansas:

Last week's Boomerang about the person's friendly talk with Oliver North and his apparently deep faith, as well as the column about the faith of various executives seemed to fit right in with a concern of mine. Last year, a member of our local peace and justice organization sent me an e-mail suggesting I join the "Presidential Prayer Team." I was a little surprised after reading their information, because it seems that the team members do not struggle with possible conflicts between patriotism and faith as do those involved in the peace and justice movement. Over the last four months, the site has added a kind of "Christian of the Month" award. The first was George W. Bush. The most recent is Condoleezza Rice. Dr. Rice, of course, recently stated that if Saddam Hussein has nuclear weapons, we have no other choice than to invade. I understand from the site, however, that she likes to sing hymns.

The site welcomes one-page nominations for the awards. Nominees must be "people in public life." I'm not quite sure how this is defined, but it specifically excludes full- time clergy or directors of non-profit organizations. The nomination must specifically discuss the person's "dependence on prayer," and how to contact him or her. I suggest that we help our brothers and sisters involved in this ministry, since they clearly need help in finding honorees. It would be interesting if people sent copies of their nominations to the organization *soon*.


Eileen Noyes-Verchereau writes from Charlestown, Massachusetts:

Frankly, I didn't find "The Insanity Test" [SojoMail, 8/07/02] the least bit humorous! Instead, it takes the plight of a severely marginalized group in our society (those diagnosed with mental illness) and tries to say there is something funny about "insanity" or "crazy."

There is nothing funny about discrimination and stigma. "The Insanity Test" is an horrific example of discrimination and stigma. There is nothing funny about having a diagnosis of mental illness. In fact, continued malicious stereotyping of the mentally ill is so stigmatizing and so prevalent, it actually keeps people from getting the treatment they need.


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:



W e b s c e n e
This week's best of the Web

*Brazilian landless workers' movement

Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) is the largest social movement in Latin America, with an estimated 1.5 million landless members. The MST carries out long-overdue land reform in a country mired by unjust land distribution. In Brazil, less than 3 percent of the population owns two-thirds of the land on which crops can be grown. Since 1985, the MST has won land titles for more than 250,000 families. Find out more at:


*Visit the world of Betty Bowers

Prepare yourself for irreverent humor. Be sure to take the Bible quiz. Go to:


*Smells like teen B.O.

Did you know that Led Zeppelin's seminal rock classic "Stairway to Heaven" was never released as a single? Or that the title of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came from a brand of deodorant? These are just two examples of the tidbits you'll find at Songfacts, a storehouse of music trivia organized both by artist and by song title.


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