Bestselling author, public theologian, and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis speaks directly into our current context, revealing the spiritual compass we need to effect lasting change in our society. He explains how the good news of Jesus transforms not only our individual lives but also our public lives. Jesus's gospel of the kingdom of God helps us recover a personal and social commitment to the common good and shows us--in concrete ways--how to be both personally responsible and socially just. Working together, we can reshape our churches, society, politics, and economy.
Releasing in the wake of the 2012 election cycle, this book seeks to move beyond the current media and political warfare and bring together a divided country. Wallis explores how Jesus's agenda can serve the common good, what it takes to sustain a lifelong commitment to social justice, and how reading the Bible as well as the culture can shape our lives for genuine transformation.
The headlines are almost unfathomable: More than one thousand Bangladesh garment-industry workers killed when their building collapsed. Over one hundred workers killed in a poultry-factory fire in China. Harsh conditions and a rash of suicides at a Taiwanese company producing cell phones. These tragedies highlight the hazardous working conditions for much of the world's population. Are inexpensive clothes and the latest iPhone worth it?
When we think of the individuals who make our lives work as our neighbors--crossing cultural, racial, religious, regional, and tribal boundaries--it might cause us to change how we do business. All of God's children are our neighbors, says Jim Wallis, a radical concept that is essential to the common good in our increasingly globalized culture. He suggests making "Ten Personal Decisions for the Common Good" to help improve things from your corner of the world.
This is a selection from The (Un)Common Good: How the Gospel Brings Hope to a World Divided.
Jim Wallis is president and founder of Sojourners and editor in chief of Sojourners magazine. He is a best-selling author, public theologian, nationally known preacher, social activist, and international commentator on ethics and public life. Wallis has written ten books and is a frequent speaker in the United States and abroad. He has written for major newspapers and appears on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. He is married to Joy Carroll, is the father of Luke and Jack, and is a Little League baseball coach.
Personal/political, religion/politics, faith/power, ideology/pragmatism . . . Jim Wallis is a wrestler of values, ideas, and policies and how they interact to shape the world we live in. His deep, melodious voice is easy to listen to, but what he says takes a harder commitment to live by.
lead singer of U2; cofounder of ONE.org
Jim Wallis and I have a variety of differences on domestic and international policy, but there is no message more timely or urgent than his call to actively consider the common good.
op-ed columnist, The Washington Post
I love the work and books and existence of Jim Wallis. His is a profound and always-entertaining voice of reason, reconciliation, and passion for social justice and peace. Each of his books makes me wish I could get it into the hands of more politicians, right-wing Christians, left-wing Christians, secular humanists, economists, and regular people-everyone-so we could see how much we have in common and how much is at stake. Jim Wallis and I do not share many of the same political views, but we share the same heart and soul and love for God and all of God's children. Plus, he's a marvelous storyteller.
author of Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
In low-key, almost seductively quiet and unpretentious prose, Wallis persuades more powerfully here than ever before. Arguing that it was 'the world' that was missing in the theology of the church in which most contemporary Americans grew up and that a long-standing emphasis on an 'atonement-only gospel' has obscured Christian allegiance to Jesus's 'gospel of the kingdom,' he lays out the theology of the latter and then issues to all Christians a rallying cry to apply that theology both in private life and in the arena of public activity.
author of Emergence Christianity
I have read all of Jim Wallis's books, books that call evangelicals to full conversion and an ecclesial faith that works. On God's Side is Jim's best book; it is personal, pastoral, and prophetic-a summons to a deeper conversion, to bridge-building commitments to the common good, and to a family life that grounds active faith in a common, caring community.
professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
This is the finest of all Jim Wallis's writings. It reminded me that my actions as a citizen are a natural extension of my life as a Christian. Jim's comprehension of how Scripture and political issues relate to each other is surpassed only by the number of bridges he builds so that we can all solve problems together. Reading this book will help you be more like Jesus, especially in the public square.
-Joel C. Hunter,
senior pastor, Northland - A Church Distributed
Jim Wallis is this country's major prophetic evangelical Christian voice. He has a sense of urgency and hope seldom seen in our cynical time. I hope and pray his voice resounds across this land-and that we pay heed to it.
professor of philosophy and Christian practice, Union Theological Seminary
Jim Wallis is asking a question whose time has come. Are we pursuing a national agenda that seeks the common good or are we seeking to baptize our political agendas with faith? Leaders both religious and political must take Wallis's challenge seriously when pondering the future of our life together.
Rev. Gabriel Salguero,
president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
Jim Wallis's voice rings out on each page of this book, calling us to be on God's side in a renewed global engagement in which the measure of 'success' is the well-being of all. Following his prescriptions would result in approaching the true common good: good news for the 100 percent!
-Sister Simone Campbell,
SSS, executive director of the Roman Catholic social justice organization NETWORK
This sweeping tour de force by America's most prominent religious social justice activist is at once deeply personal and powerfully universal. Rooting its progressive vision of American social justice in religious ideas that transcend both its Christian aesthetic and America's vexing liberal -conservative divide, it is a must-read book for policy makers, religious leaders, and anyone looking for a moral basis to address America's urgent problems.
-Rabbi David Saperstein,
director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
No one cuts through the confusion of our times with clarity and compassion like Jim Wallis. He is at his best in this book-bridging a cosmic vision of what humankind could be with a concrete plan for how we get there.
founder and president, Interfaith Youth Core; author of Sacred Ground
Jim Wallis's new book elegantly summarizes key themes from his earlier work, but it also addresses with wisdom and clarity crucial issues that we must grapple with in the decade ahead: economics, ecology, polarization, peacemaking, the role of government, and more. And every page reflects the fact that this book was written during a sabbatical-emerging from a place of spiritual reflection and renewal, augmented by family, baseball, and fun. Arguably Jim's best book ever.
-Brian D. McLaren,
There are few people on the scene who can put together mature Christianity with mature politics without compromising either. Jim Wallis does it best-and does it again here.
-Richard Rohr, OFM,
Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jim Wallis has once again issued a passionate, stirring challenge to the church. In this hopeful, incisive book that pulls few punches, he challenges the church to engage in the 'next battle' to 'occupy the gospel' and thus to join in God's reclamation of God's cherished world. As always, Jim gives us a way of rethinking today's pressing social issues in a vibrantly Christian way, producing fresh insights on almost every page. He also gives Christians some specific personal decisions we can make to better align ourselves with God's continuing revolution in Jesus Christ.
professor of the practice of Christian ministry, Duke Divinity School; former bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church
Let me be honest: I don't believe in 'must-read' books. But On God's Side is a very important book, especially in a time of increased polarization and lack of civility. As a pastor, I thank Jim Wallis for writing this book because it will be a vital resource for many-especially for the church, as we seek to invite, empower, and equip people for the work of the common good. In an increasingly cynical world, On God's Side is a fresh and hopeful word.
-Rev. Eugene Cho,
senior pastor, Quest Church; founder and visionary, One Day's Wages
The Christian faith requires more than mere belief. It is a faith intended to change the world because it demands that Christians work with passion for the good of their neighbors. This is the good news of the kingdom of God that Jesus first proclaimed in Luke 4, and it's a message that Jim Wallis helps us better understand today.
president, World Vision US; author of The Hole in Our Gospel
Without trust, no democratic society can survive. Trust is ultimately based on values. Jim Wallis's book On God's Side provides us valuable insight for our private and public lives.
founder and executive chairman, World Economic Forum
If Jim Wallis and I were to sit down and discuss every word he wrote in this book, we would undoubtedly find some points of disagreement. However, Jim's challenge to followers of Jesus to grapple with what it means to live out the kingdom of God here on earth is precisely the challenge I need today. Maybe it's precisely the challenge you need, too. Read On God's Side and find out!
cofounder, Willow Creek Community Church
Vintage Wallis-a challenging call to reclaim concern for the common good, which has fallen into political, cultural, and even religious neglect. To follow Jesus Christ, the Word who created the world and the Lamb who redeemed the world, means to love near and distant neighbors and work for the common good. Read it and roll up your sleeves!
Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology, Yale Divinity School
A generation is rising that is committed to reconciling Billy Graham's message of salvation through Christ with Dr. King's march for justice. Jim Wallis in On God's Side presents a framework for prophetic activism, seeking a conciliatory platform for those wanting to go beyond the world of rhetoric and to reconcile covenant with community, all for the common good.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez,
president, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (Hispanic Evangelical Association)
At such a critical crossroads in our country's history, people are looking for commonsense voices on the right and left who are willing to ask difficult questions. Jim Wallis is one of those voices-winsome and reflective, yet forceful and unafraid. In On God's Side, Wallis again challenges Christians to think deeply about our world's greatest problems. You might not always agree with his conclusions, but every chapter of this book will stretch your mind, challenge your thinking, and push you to consider the hope summed up in its opening words: 'Our life together can be better.'
author of A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus beyond the Culture Wars
On God's Side provides an alternative to the 'me-first' ethos that has infiltrated the American consciousness. Jim Wallis weaves together Scripture, theology, and personal reflection to call us to a deeper spirituality resulting in a lived spirituality. This book is a prophetic call to the Christian community to live into the hope that our life together can be better. -Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary; author of The Next Evangelicalism
Christian activist and writer Wallis (Gods Politics), president and CEO of Sojourners, a faith-based activist community headquartered in Washington D.C., which runs a magazine of the same name, draws on inspiration from Abraham Lincoln to reflect on the common good outside of political labels. Instead of money, power, and prestige, people of faith should be concerned about the biblical least of these, following the lead of the so-called Matthew 25 Christians, who focus on social justice. Wallis understands compassion as the doorway to justice for everyone around the world, and while he is poetic, a few notionslike postcandidate advocacylack the clear definition and conviction that defines much of the book. The volume is divided into two parts; the first delves into Walliss sources of inspiration for his thesis, which range from The Chronicles of Narnia to the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan. In the second part, Wallis writes about prioritizing his family life as an example of engaging in more intentional community at home to gradually improve current political and social ills. Agent: Kathryn Helmers, Creative Trust. (Feb.) 2012 Reed Business Information
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