Archive for the ‘Sojourners’ Tag

Civil Disobedience and Civil Resistance   Leave a comment

Changing the Rules of Engagement:

By Bill McKibben  March 2017

Published in Sojourners Magazine: https://sojo.net/magazine/march-2017/changing-rules-engagement

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AS WE ENTER this new Trumpish world, I’ve been thinking a lot about civil disobedience. I had the honor of delivering the first lecture in honor of the late Jonathan Schell two nights after the election, and used the occasion to reflect on his masterwork Unconquerable World, with its confident belief that the era of violence was passing and that nonviolent action was the right way for the “active many” to beat the “ruthless few.”

This jibes with my own experience of the last few years. Helping to organize big protests like the ones that launched the Keystone pipeline fight, or watching in admiration as friends galvanized the country around Standing Rock, has convinced me that these techniques continue to represent our best tools for change.

On the one hand, disobedience may be harder in the Trump era—it may come at a higher price, as the zealot officials he’s appointed crack down.

But civil disobedience may also be more important than ever, especially the civil part. Because what we are battling now is not just corporate power and shabby oligarchy. It’s also a galloping incivility, the verbal violence and crudity that marked Trump’s campaign and his days of preparing for the presidency. It’s the “alt-right” ugliness of Breitbart’s white nationalism; it’s the constant barrage of nasty tweets. None of it looks like anything we’ve seen before from a president, and all of it, whether by design or not, hacks at the bonds that hold us together as a nation.

If we respond to that in kind—with the same sort of anger and snarl—then we play into the hands of the Steve Bannons of the world. They’re always going to be better at it, just as they’re always going to have more weapons.

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Jesus the Homeless

Rev. Jim Wallis has written an excellent piece about how Christians in America, as opposed to American Christians, will view an Executive Order from the new President of the U.S.A.

“For Christians, in the 25th chapter of Matthew, Jesus makes clear that how we treat “the stranger” is how we treat him. That’s what the Gospel text says. And the “stranger” means immigrants and refugees — the citizens of other nations living and traveling among us. Therefore, this is a faith issue for us as Christians. Donald Trump’s executive order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” is in conflict with our Christian faith, and we will oppose it as a matter of faith.”

Wallis concludes that:

The good news is that intense but nonviolent protests at airports and public squares broke out all over the country this past weekend in opposition to the executive order — including tens of thousands of people outside the White House, in Boston, and in New York City’s Battery Park overlooking the Statue of Liberty. Exercising the right to peacefully assemble will be asked of us many times in the weeks, months, and years ahead, and we must rise to the occasion, remain engaged, and keep witnessing to our faith and values when they are targeted by this government.”

Read the full commentary by Rev. Jim Wallis at:

https://sojo.net/articles/ban-not-about-national-security

 

The Mosquito Manifesto   Leave a comment

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Rose Marie Berger, a Catholic peace activist and poet, frequently asks intriguing questions, rather than providing easy answers. In her reflections on the state of Christianity in the U.S.A., she poses the question: “Are we American Christians or Christians in America?”

There is a difference between these two identities.

Which one is like the mosquito?

Her full column, published in the February 2017 edition of Sojourners magazine, is also available online at: https://sojo.net/magazine/february-2017/mosquito-manifesto

The questions are applicable to Christians worldwide.

 

 

Game Changer ?   Leave a comment

“Please tell the world there is no such thing as a just war. I say this as a daughter of war.”

That’s a quotation from Sister Nazik Matty, an Iraqi Dominican.

IMG_0940The “Just War Theory” is apparently undergoing a review within the Roman Catholic church. With approximately 1.2 billion members worldwide, what this church decides on war and peace can have an effect on many other people.

The December, 2016 edition of Sojourners magazine has an extensive analysis of the theology of war and peace. The story, written by Rose Marie Berger, can be accessed at:

https://sojo.net/magazine/december-2016/game-changer

 

Jesus – a political threat?   1 comment

IMG_0027The un-domesticated versions of Christianity, the Christianity that has managed not to be infiltrated by the culture of corporate consumerism, regards Jesus as a prophet.  Jim Wallis appears to be one of these people. In his Christmas, 2015 message he writes:

“At least King Herod got the fact that his political power would indeed be undermined by the coming of Jesus and the new kingdom he would bring. It seems many of our presidential political candidates don’t have a clue as to what the coming of Christmas means for them, judging by the horrible things some of them are saying about the poor, vulnerable, homeless, and refugees all around us today.’

The whole message is available at: https://sojo.net/articles/why-jesus-was-and-political-threat

Merry Christmas.

70th Anniversary   Leave a comment

The Day the World Changed
by Jim Rice

Pick any day on the calendar, and it most likely will mark the anniversary of significant events, from the profound to the puerile.

Aug. 6 is no exception. On that day in 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, intended to guarantee African Americans the right to vote (a right that, unfortunately, is still under attack). The day also marked the debut of cultural phenomena and figures from George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones (in 1996) to the births of Andy Warhol and Lucille Ball.

But it’s also the day the world changed. Seventy years ago, the city of Hiroshima, Japan, was obliterated by a single bomb. It was not only the first use of atomic weapons in warfare, but the beginning of the Nuclear Age — on which the world has spent, by some estimates, well over $6 trillion — that’s trillion with a “t.” And plans to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal (which is a euphemism for continuing to build state-of-the-art weaponry for the next 30 years) will likely cost another trillion or so.

The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by any civilized standards, represented one of the moral low-points in human history. After all, by very conservative estimates, 135,000 people died from the atomic blasts — most of them civilians, the victims of the intentional targeting of cities. Think about that — these weren’t military targets, but cities full of men, women, and children, going about their lives, destroyed in seconds by the most destructive weapons ever invented.

But the point of memorializing isn’t about the past. It’s about ensuring such things happen “never again.”

Which brings us to Iran.

Read all of what Jim Rice wrote in Sojourners athttps://sojo.net/articles/day-world-changed

   

Leadership Qualities   Leave a comment

What makes a good leader for any organization?

Wesley Wes Granberg-Michaelson approaches this question in a reflection on the resignations of two prominent “leaders”.

“My experience in the worlds of both religion and politics convinces me that one of three issues is at the heart of the catastrophic demise of any leader — money, sex, or power. Sometimes it’s a trifecta of all three together, like the case of John Edwards, the former Democratic presidential candidate. But in virtually every case, a leader’s personal inability to exercise appropriate constraint and control over one or more of these three dimensions of life can lead to careers that crumble and reputations that become shattered.”

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However, there is a positive aspect to Grandberg-Michaelson’s response as well.

At the end of the day, the inner qualities of a potential leader — and especially a president — can end up having huge external consequences. No, we can’t expect them to be saints. It’s a start, in fact, if they can at least recognize that they are sinners. And then we can hope and expect that they are living well-examined lives, that they have dealt with their inner demons, and that they are living by habits and practices that can integrate their deeper selves. From such leaders one can expect wisdom, courage, and discernment. Their internal work can externally affect millions for the good.”

Read the full reflection on qualities of a leader at: http://www.sojo.net/blogs/2015/06/04/duet-demise

Posted June 5, 2015 by allanbaker in Canadian society, Politics

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