“advocacy” articles

Asking Pope Francis to consider a project of lay Christian intentional communities


I wrote another letter to Pope Francis; in this one, I discuss why I believe that organizing lay intentional communities may lead to a more engaged, meaningful, satisfying, and effective Christianity than is currently operating in the world. It is my goal to carry this conversation as far as I am able, so I begin by sharing the letter here.

Bad assumptions on Keystone XL


We have yet another opportunity to submit public comments on the proposal to permit the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. This time, I'm going to zero in on one particularly pernicious assumption presented in the Final Environmental Impact Statement: that the energy industry will just find alternatives to the pipeline, so disastrous tar sands exploitation is inevitable.

Relationships, sexuality, and sexual intercourse


I quite hate the way the dominant culture currently labels things as "relationships".

Asking Pope Francis to critically examine his jobs advocacy


The dominant economic system is an ugly and frightening thing, and I desperately want to encourage everyone to think through its moral implications. So I am excited that Roman Catholics currently have a Pope who is at least drawing attention to economic issues, because they are so essential to understanding every moral issue. His recent prescriptions, however, betray a poor understanding of the true nature of the disorder from both a historical and a Christian approach. So I wrote him a letter.

An invitation to conspire against the Keystone XL pipeline, and what it symbolizes


The current environmentalist coalition, led by, is rallying people to write to the US State Department and the President in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. The following is what I wrote. My favorite quote from this letter is: “Those who relentlessly pursue economic growth do so out of fear that prosperity is impossible without growth, and in this way they are slaves to this insatiable impulse; this situation is intensely dangerous and hurtful to everyone involved.” Writing this feels so natural to me, and so naturally makes me radically happy.

A favorite Bible passage and rejecting war


I turn to the Bible for a complete foundation for how to live in relationship to others, including such charged issues as the deprecation of war.

On incidental harm in the process of compromise


My recent article, The moral vote, prompted an interesting conversation, as I had hoped. A very prominent response to the question of how to vote (and which does, in fact, infuse our decision-making in general) is to choose the best of the available options, even if that choice involves a moral compromise (thus this is also viewed from the opposite angle as the lesser evil choice). It is just this approach that we debated, but this discussion took place in a separate venue, so I wanted to highlight it here.

The moral vote


If you only consider some of the issues at stake, then any institution that you empower with your vote can decide other issues toward arbitrary ends. But it all matters—a lot—because these ends—which you will have shunted in your concern for others—are often immoral and destructive. Thus, compromise is impossible, and instead we must lead through consistent moral unity even in the face of formal defeat.

A community for the devoted extension of justice


We must work together in pursuit of a just world. This declaration sketches an outline for a community that has this goal at its core.

Moving pictures, recently


I've seen several powerful films in the last couple of months. Four of them brought me to tears. I want to share my experiences with you, in part so that you can determine whether you might also want to so spend your time and attention.

Panoramic justice


Panoramic views—where we strive to see both broadly and bravely—of both the destruction that we wreak on the world as well as the beauty of a potentially just world are each astonishing, although in quite different ways. Understanding the first can help us work for and teach effectively about the second.

How I want to live


If I am going to live in close cooperation with other people, then the resulting community should be based on a shared commitment to certain core principles. Herein I develop the principles that I value, providing a cursory motivation, where appropriate.

Sustainable Cleveland 2019 is incongruous on sustainability


A year into its work, the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 project had its second summit this week. This article provides a summary and a critique of the events of the summit. Mainly, the summit emphasized the way that businesses and other communities can benefit from practices that are commonly labeled as sustainable, although it did not provide a framework for analyzing whether the result of these practices does lead to a sustainable society.

Results of the first Beyond Cleveland meeting


The first meeting of the Beyond Cleveland sustainability group was not very well attended, although we who did attend did have a meaningful conversation. I reflect on the implications of this meeting in this article.

Lessons learned from A People's History of the United States


I recently finished reading A People's History of the United States. In this article, I comment on the impact of this book, including its strong impact on me as well as some of the lessons that I learned about how resistance against oppression can fail.

Beyond Cleveland events


If you believe that we, as a culture, are not living sustainably, then we must critically examine why we are not living this way, and we must work actively to fix this problem. Beyond Cleveland is one group working to increase understanding of the problem of sustainability as well as to plan action to solve it.

We are meeting formally for the first time on July 10, 2010.

A weekend of engagement, wet but undampened


A number of activities kept me busy this rainy weekend as I worked in a few venues to try to share ideas with and among others.

In 20 years, oil will be obsolete?


Two of my friends comment on my most recent article about growth.

Make us want to donate


I think that information wants to be free, and I want to live in a society that has healthy mechanisms for supporting the free flow of this information and the creative people who author it. But when they ask me to donate to support their work, I always cringe. I don't think we should buy the information that they produce, but rather that donations should still be purchases … of recognition, access, and other interesting intangibles.

To our leaders: we desperately need less growth, not more


The US military recently published a report in which they warn that Peak Oil is as near as two years away. They stress that this is a threat that should be met with “a massive expansion of production and refining capacity.” Paul Krugman just published a long article where he called our attention to the upcoming dangers of Global Warming. But he asserts that we still need to be able to grow our economy. US Energy Secretary Chu is right there to support traditional economic solutions, which are rooted in an assumption of growth.

Note to all: this does not add up. No growth can be sustained indefinitely, and it is this fact that requires our undivided attention.

Civilization is in trouble


I provide an overview of my thoughts on the problem facing society, why I find it compelling, and how I want to respond to it.