The Common Good

Jim Wallis Blog Entries

Two Firsts

The fact that an African American and a woman each ran so strongly in the long primary season of this election year speaks very well of the country. Having two "firsts" competing for the presidency, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, makes this a very historic political year. But it was perhaps unfortunate that the two firsts ended up running against each other. After a hard-fought campaign, there inevitably remain some hard feelings among the supporters of both candidates, but [...]

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A Transformational Moment

When the historic legislative milestone of the Voting Rights Act finally passed in 1965, I was still a young teenager. Until then, black people in America didn't have the right to vote. And until the Civil Rights Act passed the previous year in 1964, black Americans had to drink from separate drinking fountains, eat at separate lunch counters, ride at the back of buses, and watch movies only from the balconies of theaters. Then there was all the violence. I remember a civil rights worker [...]

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Seven Ways to Change the World

I'm in the U.K. this week on a speaking and book tour.  It's always good to be here. My wife, Joy Carroll, is a Brit, and we frequently get across the pond.  Both of my children are "bilingual," speaking both the English of the English and the English of the Americans, and we love both countries.

The U.K. edition of The Great Awakening is titled Seven Ways to Change the World, [...]

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There is No Divide between Us

The genocidal situation in Darfur continues to worsen, with more killings and increased attacks on peacekeepers.  All the efforts to date by the U.N., the U.S., and other governments have failed to stop the atrocities. 

In this morning's New York Times, the Save Darfur coalition ran an ad with the message: "We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur [...]

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The Lion of the Senate

They call him a lion. John McCain, on Tuesday, called him the "last lion in the Senate … because he remains the single most effective member of the Senate." I've always liked lions. I have a beautiful painting of a South African lion on the wall of our living room at home. My boys think it is Aslan, the lion of Narnia, of whom Mr. Beaver said, "'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."

The nation got a shock this week. Edward Kennedy, the lion who has been in [...]

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Senators Stall Bush's AIDS Relief

One of the few high points of the Bush administration has been its commitment to aid for Africa -- especially in combating HIV/AIDS. The president recently proposed an increase in funding for PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.) But it's not going anywhere. Why?

Columnist and former presidential speechwriter Michael Gerson answered the question. Seven Republican senators -- Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, Jeff Sessions, Saxby Chambliss, David Vitter, Jim Bunning, and Richard [...]

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Poverty IS an Electoral Issue

Four years ago, Call to Renewal conducted a 12-day "Rolling to Overcome Poverty" bus tour to say that poverty was a religious and electoral issue. Despite our best efforts, the word was rarely spoken in either campaign, or in the presidential debates. This year, it's already different.

On Wednesday, John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama, which, of course, made headlines across the country. But at the Grand Rapids, Michigan, rally where the two men spoke, something even more important [...]

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The Manifesto and the Media

Last week, I wrote about the new Evangelical Manifesto, of which I was a signatory. It's been interesting to see the news coverage that followed its release.

On the one hand, CNN implied that the statement was pro-Democratic:

For Democrats, the timing is good. The party has been [...]

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Yom Ha'atzmaut and al-Nakba

I recently joined many prominent Christian leaders in signing a joint declaration on Israel's 60th anniversary. The signers are too many to list here but they include church leaders, theologians, and the heads of international missions agencies who have an intimate knowledge of the region's history, theological significance, and present reality. (To name just a sampling: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director/CEO, [...]

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An Evangelical Manifesto

The church has a serious image problem. A recent book, unChristian, by Barna pollster David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons reveals much about how Millennials, the emerging generation - both those inside and around the church - view Christianity. The results weren't good. An overwhelming majority of young people view Christians as hypocritical, too judgmental, too focused on the afterlife, and too political in the worst sense of the word. And that image is often particularly true of [...]

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In the Image of God

When Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke to the U.N. General Assembly, many hoped he would denounce specific wars and injustices. But he rather took a step back and addressed the fundamental principles that the world community should follow. His speech was a primer on Catholic social teaching

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'I Was Skeptical'

Last evening, I spoke at the Belmont Heights Baptist Church, just off the campus of Belmont University in Nashville. It was a good event, with the always-inspiring music of Ashley Cleveland, Kenny Greenberg, and Marcus Hammond. As is usually the case, there were [...]

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Imagine

In The Great Awakening, I wrote,



Imagine something called Justice Revivals, in the powerful tradition of revivals past but focusing on the great moral issues of our time.


Imagine linking the tradition of Billy Graham with the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr.


Imagine a new generation of young people catching fire and offering [...]

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Video: Justice Revival Highlights

Last evening, more than 3,500 people filled the Vineyard Church of Columbus for the opening of a three-day Justice Revival.


The Columbus Dispatch front-page headline this morning read " Faithful aim to aid poor, as Jesus did." The [...]

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Questions of Substance at the Compassion Forum

Last evening, I was privileged to be one of the religious leaders asked to participate in the Compassion Forum, sponsored by Faith in Public Life and broadcast by CNN from Messiah College. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama participated; Sen. John McCain declined.


The religious leaders asked questions of real substance, focusing on difficult and important policy choices. We are not so much interested in the personal testimonies [...]

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Is King's Complete Message Breaking Through?

When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, he was trying to move the country to take on the moral issue of economic injustice. And, for the first time in many years, the remembrances of King's death (this one the 40th anniversary) urged the nation to do the same. Usually the nation's anniversary celebrations freeze-frame King as the nation's greatest civil rights leader whose famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 was the extent of his message. Later calls for [...]

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Recommended Reading: Taylor Branch on MLK

Read Taylor Branch's op-ed in yesterday's NYT Week in Review if you haven't already:



Civil rights, Vietnam, Dr. King, Memphis - these are historic landmarks. Even so, this [...]

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Training for Change

I want to personally invite you to Washington, D.C., on June 13 through 16 to participate in Pentecost 2008: Training for Change. For more than a decade, we have held an annual mobilization around the time of Pentecost to lift up a vision of overcoming poverty to the nation. I believe that with your help we can make this a pivotal year of elevating poverty to the top of the national agenda, [...]

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The Rev. Wright Effect; Rice on Race

We were never likely to get away with "transcending" race in this election as the early Obama campaign suggested to some. The demons of race in America simply run too deep and were bound to eventually rear their ugly heads. And so they did with the now infamous taped sound bites by Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the furious media response to them. I've said before that the constant replaying of the tapes has become a metaphor for the continual replaying of our old racial tapes in this country. [...]

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Easter in Iraq - The War Goes On

The Cost of War

Five weeks ago, we began a series of posts on the cost of the war in Iraq. We have focused primarily on the human costs

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