Skip to main content

tv   Religion Ethics Newsweekly  PBS  October 12, 2014 4:30pm-5:01pm EDT

4:30 pm
coming up, tiny houses for the homeless. lucky severson reports on a community that formerly homeless residents run themselves. ♪ also, renowned violinist joshua bell talks with correspondent bob faw about how music can bring "a sense of
4:31 pm
major funding for "religion & ehics newsweekly" is provided by the lilly endowment, an indianapolis based private family foundation, dedicated to its founders' interestses in religion, community development, and education. additional funding also provided by mutual of america, designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company.4a welcome. i'm bob abernethy. it's good to have you with us. this week u.s. health officials said they would begin screening travelers from west africa for ebola at five major u.s. airports. the first person diagnosed with ebola in the u.s., thomas eric duncan, died at a dallas hospital. he had been infected in his home country of liberia. a vigil was held in his honor at wilshire baptist church in dallas, where his fiancee is a member.
4:32 pm
in recent weeks, faith-based humanitarian groups such as samaritan's purse and catholic relief services have been ramping up aid to the african countries hit hardest by ebola. in syria, the u.s. continued airstrikes against islamic state militants attempting to take control of the key border town of kobani. in recent weeks isis attacks have forced tens of thousands of syrian refugees to flee to neighboring turkey. at the pentagon, president obama said the u.s. mission to defeat isis in syria and iraq would be an uphill battle. >> it remains a difficult mission. as i've indicated from the start, this is not something that is going to be solved overnight. meanwhile, a syrian franciscan priest, father hanna jallouf, and 20 other christians who had been kidnapped by islamist rebels were released this week. their captors belonged to a
4:33 pm
group affiliated with al qaeda called al nusra. a hindu and a muslim known for ÷ promoting for children's rights were jointly awarded the nobel peace prize this week. 17-year-old malala yousafzai of pakistan, author and advocate for the education of girls, is a muslim. she becomes the youngest peace prize winner in history. 60-year-old kailash satyarthi of india, is a hindu activist who has fought to end child slavery ñ they will split the prize, worth just over $1 million. here in the u.s., jubilant same-sex couples rushed to marry in virginia after the supreme court cleared the way for gay marriage there and in four other states, including utah. the court declined to review lower court decisions overturning state bans on same-sex marriage, effectively making it legal in those states.
4:34 pm
the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, the mormon church, which has a history of u battling gay marriage in utah, said in a statement, "the courts have spoken." at the vatican, catholic bishops opened their synod, a two-week meeting to discuss key issues affecting families. among the topics were divorce, homosexuality, contraception, and cohabitation. although the bishops said church doctrine cannot change, some called for greater compassion for families who don't adhere perfectly to church teaching on those issues. several bishops also proposed simplifying the marriage annulment process for divorced catholics. in city after city in this country people debate how to deal with their street people, the homeless. lucky severson reports today on one answer. in eugene, oregon, the city and
4:35 pm
volunteers, among them religious leaders, have built a community of tiny houses. it's called opportunity village and the residents make and enforce their own rules. >> it's a gated community. it's a gated community for the homeless. >> reporter: it's called opportunity village. it's transitional housing for the homeless and it's unlike almost any other in the country. >> they're like cute little miniature houses and i think it's something that the average person can relate to. >> reporter: andrew heben is an urban planner recently out of college and author of a book about tent cities. he spearheaded the design of opportunity village and calls the miniature houses bungalows. >> while it may not be much just having a small place to call your own is a pretty important thing no matter how small it is. >> it's a heck of a lot better than sleeping under a bridge. >> reporter: this is pastor dan bryant, senior minister of the first christian church in eugene, oregon. he's the president of the boardw at opportunity village.
4:36 pm
he also has individual shelters for the homeless on church property, and a clothing bank within the church. pastor bryant takes helping the disadvantaged very seriously. >> if we don't in some concrete way help people to have a decent life here on earth we are not fulfilling the gospel, it's that simple. >> reporter: turns out that eugene, population about 200,000, has a high per capita rate of unsheltered homeless. >> read the gospels, i mean the largest by far topic that jesus and the gospels, paul addresses, are problems of the economy of wealth and poverty. we're tired of waiting for government to fix the problem. >> reporter: pastor bryant believes that the public should shoulder the burden to house the homeless, but that it is also a special calling for people of faith, who stepped in with contributions and labor to build the village. conventional development of low
4:37 pm
income housing costs on average about $200,000 per unit. they are a little larger of plumbing and electricity. but all the little houses here, all 30 of them added together cost less than half of one federally funded unit, and they didn't cost taxpayers a single dime. are these all the same size? >> there's eight by eights and eight by tens. >> reporter: for some people that would be the size of a walk-in-closet. this is laura king. she lost her job and has been living in opportunity village for about a year. >> we've got our own bathhouse, we've got our own laundry facilities. we've got a community gathering area. the individual units don't have electricity or plumbing, and that's not like living in your i own apartment, but that's okay. >> got to learn how to share food here so we got two fridges here, 30 people. >> reporter: the village has a community kitchen where residents can cook their own meals. it may be outdoors, but it's spotless.apnñ >> the cost comes down to $3 a 
4:38 pm
night per person and one of those $3 is paid by the villagers themselves. they all pay $30 a month for their utilities, for the water, and electricity and internet service even. so we are running this facility for two bucks a head a night. >> reporter: individual units don't have electricity but that's a small problem for people who have been sleeping in dark, shadowy places. people like robin. >> because what i've got now is i've got it hooked up, my lights hooked up. so i have lights, running off of 18 volt batteries. >> those people that think this would be a good idea can we get a show of hands? >> reporter: this is another unique aspect to opportunit village that organizers say was influenced by the occupy movement. >> and everyone is required to attend the village meeting, and all decisions are made in that village meeting and so that's where everything is dealt with and so the whole village, i mean
4:39 pm
it's, you know, democracy, at its most basic level. >> reporter: there's an outside board of directors that includes faith leaders but it's the residents themselves who make the rules and enforce them. the community doesn't take kindly to violence or too much drinking. violators get three strikes and then they're out. this is katherine. she likes that residents have a say. >> it gives you the chance to have a voice. you know you don't feel like nobody's listening to you. you feel like you have some control over your life. >> reporter: father brent was, of the episcopal church of the resurrection, is on the village board. he also has individual shelters in his church parking lot. father brent tells his , congregation that the message of christ is that they should gravitate toward places of suffering, like the village. >> it gives another set of lenses for us to see what god really looks like. god is not contained within the church, god is not all beautiful you know silver and brass and fine wine at a table at a beautiful eucharist, with an organ and all.
4:40 pm
god is alive in the world and we need to encounter god in all the places that we encounter the world. down at the village is another opportunity to see the face of christ reflected back to you. >> reporter: there's some well worn faces here, but there are plenty that look like your neighbors. tony, for instance, lost her job and then everything else. now she's employed as a caregiver. >> it's my own little place where i can regroup and get my paperwork ready and get ready for work and we have showers here that we share and wash our clothes here and i'm able to get to work and look clean and presentable. >> reporter: some residents are on government disability, others have jobs. >> half of our villagers have income. they could afford a place to l5 live if there were affordable places. but there aren't. >> what you're looking at is trying to come up with first month, last month, a security deposit. it's a chunk of change that's m2 just insurmountable to where you
4:41 pm
feel defeated. you feel like there's no way that you'll ever be able to scrape together all that money all at the same time. >> reporter: no one gets into opportunity village without first checking in. it's a refuge from a world that can be very violent, even in a university town like eugene. >> cause on the street, if you don't have a dog, if you don't have a camping buddy then you never know if somebody's going to come at you with a crow bar. >> and then when you get in here, it gives you a chance to take a breather and say "okay, so now i'm somewhere safe and i can start worrying about next week and next month and next year instead of what am i eating in a few hours because i have nothing." >> reporter: katherine and ron griffith moved in here after she lost her job and the roof fell in. >> i kept saying it couldn't get any worse but then it kept getting worse. i tell people at the beginning of april of last year, i had a
4:42 pm
three-bedroom home, everything that goes with that. my two adult children were living with me, and i had a mother and we thought everything was good. by the end of may i had none of that, it was all gone by the end of may. >> reporter: but then things started to get better. she and ron were married at opportunity village, on halloween by pastor bryant who was dressed for the occasion. >> we didn't have any music or >> we didn't have any music or wedding march when i walked down the aisle. >> reporter: now katherine has a job and she and ron live in an apartment downtown. >> coming here and things just start falling into place and you know, now we're successful members of the community. >> reporter: the village has been such a success the city extended its lease. the next project will be called emerald village. there the bungalows will be twice as big. these will be for the homeless who have a job but don't make enough to rent or own a place of their own.d for "religion and ethics newsweekly," i'm lucky severson in eugene, oregon.
4:43 pm
for many people of religious faith, or with none, great music can bring with it a sense of wx$thing or someone transcendent, beyond everyday experience. correspondent bob faw talked with renowned violinist joshua bell about his life and his music, which bell says brings to him a sense of something "greater than we are." ♪ >> reporter: when you are one of the world's most acclaimed violinists, with a $3 million stradivarius and a mastery of tone and technique that is unrivaled, when world-wide performances keep you on the road more than 200 days a year
4:44 pm
and you still find time to record cds, conduct and compose as well as mentor young, aspiring musicians, along with helping raise three sons of youl own, when you are as successful as joshua bell, it is perhaps not surprising that this virtuoso says the music he plays, the music he makes, reveal what he calls "a sense of divine order in the world." >> i mean, everyone's definition of what god means can vary. but music is something that really takes us to that -- sublime is a great word. that thing that is greater than we are. the beauty, the magic of the universe.
4:45 pm
bach, for instance, probably one of the great recruiters to religion i would think because it's when you listen to johann sebastian bach, the music you think -- you can only think that there is something, something great out there. there is no other explanation for his music.t&)5" my religion.dv and it is what brings me closest to god or to truth or whatever you want to call it. ♪ >> reporter: rehearsing here with the national symphony orchestra at washington's kennedy center, bell describes himself as "jewish, in a cultural way." but his musical identity can best be described as universal embracing so many composers from so many eras. you were quoted at one point for saying a great piece of music gives one the sense of divine order. >> we live in a very chaotic
4:46 pm
world that sometimes we, it just seems like a mess. one of the reasons why we listen to music and to great classical music in particular is that everything is in an order and in a place and has a beauty that you see in nature, that you see and that people look for when they look for god. >> reporter: bell performed recently for anyone who wanted to come at washington's union station. it was seven years ago at a metro station that he famously played incognito and more than 1,000 people walked by too busy to stop for or notice the beauty. >> that was not a great experience for me as far as finding the connection between the audience, it didn't happen. it's funny how many ministers 5 and rabbis and even, even someone from the muslim faith told me the other day that it
4:47 pm
was used, it was used as an allegory as an example of how we should pay attention to the beauty in the world. it's funny how it's caught on in the religious community, i have had so many people come up to me and say, oh, my pastor talked about your story in the subway this morning. ♪ >> reporter: bell says he was influenced by the separate, diverse faiths of his parents. >> my father was actually was an episcopal priest as a young man. became a psychotherapist, a psychologist.! my mother is jewish so i grew up in a mixed background. but the common denominator was certainly music and that was sort of emphasized in my household. as music being sort of the spiritual force. >> reporter: a child prodigy, bell says he's grateful for the support his parents gave him, particularly his jewish mother who made sure he worked hard at his art. >> a lot of that has to do with
4:48 pm
the work ethic as a child and having a very dominant, in my case, a very dominant stereotypical jewish mother. but one of the stereotypes is sort of true that you need a parent to practice with your child at a young age. >> reporter: your music is -- i don't want to say it's a kind of ministry to those who hear it, but you see yourself as having a role to developing others. why, where did that come from? >> at a certain stage in one's life to you start to think that it's time to start giving back the other direction. you're receiving all the time. i felt i was receiving from people my whole childhood. my great teachers and patrons and people that have fostered what i am doing and so at a certain point you start to think okay it's time to start giving so there is no question. it is absolutely 100% confidence. >> reporter: to joshua bell mentoring young people is very important. he's featured here in an upcoming hbo documentary called
4:49 pm
"joshua bell and the youngarts masterclass," and he often works with schools where he believes music should be a major part of the curriculum. >> i think music should be the basis of an education and everything should be sort of tied into that because it really incorporates so many aspects of learning, having music in their lives it helps them learn about language, about cooperation, about beauty. >> reporter: do you have a kind of ritual or a mindset or something you say to yourself before you step on to the stage -- whether it's a prayer or not? >> my mantra before i go on stage. i have a, it's kind of, it's a sort of a meditation, my -- trying to get to peace with myself and focus myself, rid myself of negative thoughts. things that are really not important. >> reporter: when you are
4:50 pm
performing, are you thinking about the next phrasing?b is your mind one step ahead of where your hands are? >> i'm thinking ahead and trying to master my own mind because i -- things creep in, doubts creep in. part of my responsibility is finding the truth inside that music, the sincerity, not looking for gimmicks, and looking inside myself and ro finding what i experience as the truth in the music. >> reporter: 46, no longer the wonder-kind, joshua bell says he will never stop performing, because for him music provides endless opportunity and challenge. >> it's inevitable that physically there are things that start to decline, get a little bit slower, a bit rustier. but the nice thing about music is that you can keep growing in an artistic way throughout your
4:51 pm
life. >> reporter: and there's something more, says joshua bell. a gift like his, he concedes, confers a solemn responsibility. >> i guess there's a certain one senses, a certain obligation that when you're given a gift, i guess i think of it that way. when you're given this gift of not just the ability and the e capacity but also the gift of everything around in my life. there is more to life than whether i make a mistake on stage or not. that music is about a sort of magical experience and i also just think about how lucky i am to be doing what i'm doing to help bring beauty to people. >> reporter: joshua bell then, at the pinnacle -- still reaching, still learning, and ever mindful that music like this is a pathway to something greater. ♪ for "religion and ethics newsweekly" this is bob faw in
4:52 pm
washington, d.c. finally, on our calendar, jews celebrate sukkot, through next wednesday. it's a time for eating and worshipping in temporary shelters, reminding jews of their ancestors' 40 years of wandering in the desert after their escape from slavery in egypt. we spoke with rabbi james michaels of the hebrew home of greater washington about sukkahs, used during sukkot. >> the book of leviticus tells us that we should remember that god allowed us to live in temporary shelters, the sukkah, when we lived in the desert for 40 years. we lived in booths knowing that ao place.oing to move from place not necessarily every day but certainly from one year to the next, we lived in different areas. the sukkah that we build every year is to remind us of that experience.
4:53 pm
the basic requirement is that the roof must be artificial and have more shade than light but must be open to the elements. the walls can be made out of anything. as you can see in the background, mine are made of canvas, and these are very popular. decorations. some plastic fruit. some people will put up real fruit, vegetables up there. people will put even christmas lights in it. when my wife was growing up, she would take all the holiday cards that they received for the new year and they would cut out the pictures and hang them up on their sukkah. i've heard of people sleeping in the sukkah. it's not really required but there are some people who do it. the important thing is the eating and the sharing of meals because that is the basic activity that we do in our home. one of the things that we do on sukkot is take what we call the four species, the arba minim,
4:54 pm
which is a palm branch, sprigs of willow, sprigs of myrtle, and a citron which looks like a large lemon. "praised are you, oh lord our god, king of the universe --" we hold all four of those and we wave them and we smell them and we hear them. so that experience is something that really gives us a very nice feeling of being alive, of being in touch with our senses. five days ago, on yom kippur, the day of atonement, we denied ourselves any sensory experiences. everything was thinking, sitting and praying. sukkot is just the opposite. it's an indulging of the senses. every one of our senses is indulged when we sit in the sukkah and enjoy the atmosphere, the food, hear the sounds of the city, hear the sounds of the countryside if we're living out in the rural area. people think that religion is only one aspect of life. no, it involves everything. there's just as much for c:b physical and sensory experience
4:55 pm
as there is for contemplation and meditation.d following sukkot is simchat torah, which celebrates the end of the annual cycle of torah readings, and starting all over again. that's our program for now. i'm bob abernethy. you can follow us on twitter and facebook and watch us anytime on the pbs app for iphones and ipads. and visit our website, where there is always much more, and where you can listen to or watch every program. join us at as we leave you, music from the christian band hillsong united, which won five gospel music association dove awards this week, including song of the year. the song is called "oceans."
4:56 pm
♪ ♪ and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of ♪ major funding for "religion & ehics newsweekly" is provided by the lilly ep document, an indianapolis-based private family foundation, dedicated to its founders' interests in religion, community zdevelopme, and education. additional funding also provided by mutual of america. designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company.
4:57 pm
4:58 pm
4:59 pm
5:00 pm
>> rose: welcome to the program. i'm charlie rose. the program is "charlie rose: the week." just ahead, the latest on ebola. the white house and the rise of isis. and the comedy stars of cable's key and peel. >> all you got is a purple suit and some pancake make up. >> come oman. >> come on, man. >> why would you mess with the batman! >> that's what i'm saying, man! >> rose: we have those stories and more on what happened and what might happen. captioning sponsored by rose communications


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on