The Common Good

conflict

Hidden Battles: A Story of Five Former Soldiers

Hidden Battles is a 65-minute documentary which follows a female Sandinista rebel, an Israeli officer, a Palestinian freedom fighter, and two American soldiers as they come to terms with their combat experiences. The film offers unique insight and hope into the internal conflicts that human beings around the world continue to face long after they have left the battlefield.

The documentary listens to the stories of these former soldiers as they reconcile what it means to have killed another human. A Vietnam veteran recalls that when he first killed, he was gripped by the feeling that he "did something -- literally against God." Watch this film and see how these veterans have fought to overcome. Each soldier deals with killing in his or her own unique way. Hidden Battles shows five ways in which this act is integrated into five different lives. Ultimately these stories testify to the resilience of the human spirit and hopefulness for the future.

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Just Jesus and an Unjust July 4: Why I Don't Celebrate Independence Day

My friends and I can be stupid. Add explosives to the equation and the idiocy quotient increases exponentially. Such was the case every 4th of July during high school. A group of about 20 of my friends and I would get together to barbecue and play with illegal fireworks. At any unsuspected moment while taking a bite out of a burger, an M-80 could be lit under your seat, a sparkler thrown at your chest like a dart, or a mortar could be shot like a bazooka, catching bushes on fire. These chaotically stupid memories simultaneously serve as some of the most fun I can recall experiencing. So for me, Independence Day equals fun.

However, there's a deeper reality to this holiday. Only about three years ago did I realize that in celebrating Independence Day, I'm also glorifying the roots on which this nation was founded: an unjust war. The "rockets red glare" and "the bombs bursting in air" remind us not of the day God liberated the colonies, but of the moment in history when our forefathers stole the rhetoric of God from authentic Christianity to justify killing fellow Christians. There's two reasons I'm convinced that celebrating Independence Day celebrates an unjust war.

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8 Inspiring Movies About Social Change

1100629-gandhifilmAh the joy of watching movies in the summer! Of course, there are a number of summer blockbusters coming out that will woo crowds to the theaters, but with the sky-high prices of theater tickets these days, nobody will fault you for wanting to stay home and kick back with a rental. If you're looking for a film that will entertain and inspire you, consider adding some of these excellent films about social change to your online queue. If you have any other films to add to this list, please contribute your favorites in the comments section below. (To read more of my film reviews, check out my monthly column in Sojourners magazine.)

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Are We Closer to Peace After Bin Laden's Death?

The news of Osama bin Laden's death rippled across social networking sites Sunday night. As I scrolled through my news feed, I witnessed my internet community express their delight and celebration over the death of America's "enemy," and I was surprised to see such blatant euphoria.
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Entering God's Story

My daughter has had a difficult time understanding Lent this year.
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Egypt: Another Step Towards Mainstreaming Nonviolence

The movement that ended President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year autocratic rule has not only created a spectacular breakthrough for Egyptian democracy, it has bequeathed a priceless gift to the rest of u
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This Valentine's Day, Do You Know Where Your Chocolate Comes From?

Yesterday I received my email copy of ePistle, Evangelicals for Social Action’s weekly electronic communication. This article discussing the situation in the Ivory Coast and the former president Laurent Gbagbo immediately caught my attention:

“The Ivory Coast is on the brink of civil war, and chocolate companies could play a critical role in saving lives and bringing peace.

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Do You Know if There's Blood in Your Phone?

Last summer's financial reform bill included something the world has long needed: a requirement that electronics manufacturers disclose whether their products include conflict minerals from Congo. Money from conflict minerals helps fund militias' reign of terror and rape in the country's eastern region. (See activist site Raise Hope for Congo's listing of how 21 leading electronics companies are doing at voluntary disclosure -- no one gets a gold star, but some are worse than others. Yeah, we're talkin' to you, Nintendo.)

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After Tucson, the State of the Union

In Tucson, Arizona, President Obama spoke to the state of the nation's soul. Next Tuesday, January 25, he will speak to the state of the union.
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Entitlement Hypocrisy

You might think that those who spent their campaigns telling their constituents that they would work to appeal "Obamacare" -- just another government entitlement -- would either think that
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