What’s new in the neighborhood?

March 23, 2007, 1:23 am | Posted by

Faithful Progressive asks: Is the US ready for the Christian Left? And then answers, Doesn’t Matter, They’re Here.

He comments on an In These Times article, which notes:

left leaning Christians have been regularly attracting bigger and more passionate crowds than the Christian right recently. In St.Paul, MN, Jim Wallis had much a much bigger crowd in back to back nights than James Dobson. ‘One of the Dobson organizers came over and told me, ‘If they make us keep focusing on just two issues [abortion and gay marriage], they’re going to lose all of us,’ he says. But some people I know actually take the ministry of Jesus seriously. This can lead to some very radical and even lefty behavior.”

Retired seminary president Del Brown is blogging a book defining progressive, as opposed to liberal, beliefs. He writes, “Christianity did not begin with the Bible. It began with Jesus of Nazareth as he was understood and proclaimed by his followers.”

Catholic Media Report notes: Iraq Diaspora is ‘Humanitarian Crisis’.

Speaking of. . .Eamon quotes the Pope on the Iraq war: “War cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions.”

Quaker blogger, Gathering in Light, just bought a bunch of books for a Fuller Theological Seminary class on emerging church as social movement.

Johnny’s Cache is heading down to the OC for the One Voice to End Slavery event. Watch the One Voice video.

Over at the Christian Century blog, Theolog Debra reads former New Republic editor, Peter Beinart’s book. She writes: “Beinart’s confession to being “intoxicated with the revolutionary potential of the United States” reminds us to be skeptical about notions that the U.S. is somehow an exceptional nation with a exceptional mission in the world.”

Faithful Democrats’ Jesse Lava notes who really supports the troops.

“And so it’s natural that, to conservatives, the phrase “I support the troops” signifies a profession of faith — faith in the mission that the troops are undertaking. It means avoiding saying things that might, in the short-term, be construed as demoralizing. And it means pretending — eternally, one suspects — that this war is still winnable. To progressives, supporting the troops means something far more profound. It means treating them with the love and respect they deserve. It means doing what we must as citizens to protect them. It means honoring the sacrifices of generations past by enjoying our liberties at home and refusing to spill more blood abroad unless it’s truly necessary.”

JSpot praises John Edwards. As does the Rev. Church Currie. And so does Xpatriated Texan, who’s going all the way.

Do you have thoughts about The Evangelical Vote? Well, Street Prophets’ Pastor Dan does and writes, “I wish I could believe that the conservative megachurches are ripe with progressive converts, but the numbers simply don’t bear that assertion out.”

OT or Hebrew Bible? Weigh in here with Cross and Flame, a Street Prophets diarist.

WoodMore Village says fire the AG AG.

Navroz Mubarak 2007. Islamicate notes that “the holiday is now hybrid. Little bit of Zoroastrianism, little bit of Iranian nationalism, little bit of Islam, little bit of 21st century style globalization.”

And finally set your TiVo. The NCC Interfaith blog notes that the Iran delegation will be featured on PBS’ Now this weekend.

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Get to know: One Franciscan Voice

March 22, 2007, 2:12 am | Posted by

Last week, members of Franciscan dioceses and orders gathered in Washington, D.C. to form a new Center for Action and a broad-based Franciscan Family Commission for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation. More than 130 leaders and social justice and peace representatives from the Franciscan provinces, congregations, Secular Franciscan Regions, and Ecumenical partners approved the new initiative in Baltimore last week.

The move represents an unprecedented effort within the Franciscan family to focus combined resources on social justice and peace advocacy. With the Center for Action, the Franciscan community – which comprises tens of thousands of Franciscans in the U.S., and the millions whom they serve – hopes to effectively influence social policy in order to transform the world.

Vision Statement

We Franciscan brothers and sisters, Religious and Secular, from throughout the United States, gathered together in Baltimore, Maryland, to discern the possibility of a unified Franciscan Voice for justice. With great concern for dehumanizing issues in our society, we recognized trends contrary to our calling as followers of Christ. We see that we have the power to effectively advocate for the redistribution of resources, the responsible care for creation, and the healing of relationships within the Franciscan Family, the Church and society. To these ends, we commit ourselves and call all members of the Family to speak with one Franciscan Voice to effect the transformation of national social policy. By walking with our brothers and sisters who are poor and marginalized, we intend to advocate for peace and to reaffirm the dignity of all creation.

This is a notable step in the development of the Catholic social justice and peace movement. The Center for Action will provide Franciscans with a powerful voice on a wide array of issues, such as war, oppression, poverty, and the global climate crisis.

To find out more about the Franciscan community’s efforts, visit their web site at www.hnp.org.

Bonus: Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, speaks beautifully about his faith and how he is utterly humbled by mystery. Listen to him on NPR’s This I Believe.

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Boxer: Elections have consquences. . .for climate change

March 21, 2007, 2:43 am | Posted by

Sen. Barbara Boxer at a rally for the Day of Climate Change Action pointing out the remedies that exist to save the environment.

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Blogs on the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq

March 20, 2007, 1:44 pm | Posted by

In addition to the hundreds of MSM hits, there are over 270 blog hits for the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq.

Here’s a sample from the people who went:

Yet Another Unitarian Universalist shot this footage.

From at the crossroads‘ Karissa, an EMU student:

I went to a war protest this weekend.

I know, I know. Me? I was surprised too. But don’t worry. I didn’t hold any angry signs or yell obscenities. All I had was a small electric candle, symbolizing the light of Christ and his call for peace. And all I said, aside from conversations with my friends and strangers along the 4-mile walk from the National Cathedral to the White House, was “Peace,” which we chanted at the White House. . . .At any rate, it was a beautiful, worthwhile event, and I am glad I went. Even though I never thought I would go to a protest:

From the Back Pew writes, “Even the name — the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq — is a revolutionary act.”

On his MySpace blog, 28-year-old Hammer of Truth writes, “I felt the need to help sound the trumpet myself.”

Don’t Eat Alone notes: “A significant part of the protest was the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq, the combined conspiracy of most everyone from Adventists to Catholics and Pentecostals to the UCC.” And the restaurateur adds,

“One of the reasons it is significant to me that this particular protest was explicitly Christian is the justification of the war in Iraq often carries religious overtones, as if the war is Christian vs. Muslim. Bush intimates, often without much subtlety, that God is on our side because we are fighting for freedom and God is for freedom. I’m proud of the people who conspired to say God is for peace and so are many American Christians.”

Speaking of eating, An Old Curmudgeon writes:

“We would need to be at the Cathedral at about 5:00pm and were not sure when we would have another opportunity to eat. When feeding times are not certain, the only logical thing to do is eat big when the opportunity presents itself. We sat down to a fantastic lunch at the Old Ebbitts Grill. After cups of seafood gumbo and a crab cake, we again considered the uncertainty of supper and decided it would only be prudent to have some pie and ice cream. In these uncertain times, one cannot be too careful.”

Hoosier Daddy takes issue with the MSM coverage, noting the tendency for the media to lump the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq with the regular “anti” protests. He writes:

“However, this event Friday was in a whole different category of its own. It attracted no counterdemonstrators whatsoever. It was rooted and grounded in worship which filled the National Cathedral and in “divine obedience” in the middle of the night at the gates to the White House. It was definitely FOR something – for important and constructive goals that honor people, preserve life and work towards justice.”

“President Bush is going to win this war come hell or high water. Maybe he’s willing to forfeit his soul for his noble cause. He’s not dragging me down with him,” writes Les Enragés.

Here’s an audio recording of Jim Wallis’ speech.

Unexpectedly for herself, Margaret feels patriotic: “It’s a pretty incredible country that will allow several thousand Christians to process down Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, DC carrying electric candles and various banners.”

Texas-based Brains and Eggs notes that Bush has “lost the Christians.”

From the buckle of the bible belt, Presbyterian minister Shuck and Jive simply notes: “they need to know that we want it ended.”

On LiveJournal, thatjugglerguy writes: “It was an amazing experience to see people connected like that, taking a stand for what they believe.”

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A soldier’s confession

March 19, 2007, 2:02 am | Posted by

The words of Joshua Casteel, an Iraq War veteran and conscientious objector, who served as an interrogator at Abu Ghraib. Footage from the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq service at the National Cathedral.

When I traveled outside the prison walls on convoys, terror surged through

my heart. I was not afraid of being killed. If you live by the sword, by the sword

shall you die. If I died with a loaded rifle, I could not be angry with God. The

terror that filled me … was the possibility of becoming one who kills. Once while

driving outside, I pointed my rifle as I always did, out the window of our armored

humvee. Through the sites of my rifle I saw the faces of three young shepherd

boys — probably eight years old, each. I realized in that moment that I had just

pointed a loaded weapon at three eight year old boys.

How was I, an ambassador of the love of Jesus Christ, supposed to recall that


How can I talk of the freedom of Christ, while playing the role of captor?

How can I talk of faith when I only move from place to place by means of guns

pointed in all directions – even at eight year old shepherd boys?

(source: Joshua Casteel, Catholic Peace Fellowship, West Coast Tour, 2005)

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