These lessons represent Sharon Thompson’s personal long-term process of trying to understand the true nature of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. This quest included enrolling in seven college classes-one at Metro State University taught by local peace activist, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, and six at the University of St. Thomas in their Justice and Peace Studies program under the direction of Rev. David Smith. She also gleaned much valuable information from library books, from Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! and from various other alternative media.
Sharon wrote the original version of these lessons for use in a discussion group in her home congregation, Christiania Lutheran Church, Lakeville, MN. The church had hosted a visiting pastor, Benito Madembo, from the Iringa Diocese in Tanzania for a period of three weeks. For most of them, it was their first contact with a person from the Global South. They were impressed with his graciousness and beauty of spirit, but were troubled by the poverty that he and the majority of people in his homeland experienced. One of their responses was to initiate a study group seeking to understand why poverty persists in the Global South. Sharon volunteered to lead the group, feeling it would give her an opportunity to synthesize and organize the information she had gathered from her six years of study.
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