The Common Good

Relevant Magazine

Relevant Magazine Press Items
We asked Lisa Sharon Harper to answer a few questions about the verdict, the broader context behind the protests and what it all means for Christians.
Jim Wallis on The Daily Show Sojourners founder, author and theologian Jim Wallis has been a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart multiple times since 2005 to discuss the intersections of politics, religion and activism. In this throwback clip from Jon Stewart’s early days on the Comedy Central staple (starting at 12:52 in the video below), the two discuss Wallis’ popular book God’s Politics. The discussion primarily involves the religious implications of the then current political issues, morality and activism. But in a more personal moment, Wallis tells Stewart (who is Jewish), “The Hebrew prophets used humor and truth-telling to make their point. Which I think you do very well. So maybe you’re one of the prophets.”
The initiative brought together voices from across the evangelical spectrum, from denominational leaders, from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Dr. Richard Land and National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson to activists like Sojourners President Jim Wallis and political voices like Samuel Rodriguez. Since they’ve formed, the group has launched awareness efforts (including the “I Was a Stranger” campaign) and prayer initiatives to unite Christians and empower churches to come together to use their influence to encourage Washington to make meaningful changes to the country’s immigration policy.
Next week, the Senate will vote on amendments to an immigration reform bill, and the Evangelical Immigration Table is asking fellow Christians to pray for the outcome. The EIT unites Christian leaders and organizations from an array of backgrounds, including the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Sojourners, the National Association of Evangelicals and World Relief. All next week they are asking believers to join them in daily prayer that the Senate will arrive at “commonsense immigration solutions that include an achievable roadmap to citizenship.”
A coalition of evangelical leaders are behind a massive radio ad campaign that encourages lawmakers in six states to look at immigration reform. The Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT) has united Christian leaders from a variety of social, theological and political organizations including Sojourners President Rev. Jim Wallis, Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson, Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and others. In a statement on their official website, the EIT states:
Rev. Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, said that her "genuine spirit and concern for others has earned her the trust of people on different sides if issues. Her wide and deep competence on legal and policy matters will be very helpful in her new role." Joel Hunter, pastor of Florida's Northland and advisor to the President said that "Melissa is an honest broker, a consensus-builder, and a problem-solver, and someone who believes that government should be actively engaged with civil society, including religious institutions and individuals, to promote the common good. I look forward to her service in the White House" ...
To date, more than 150 prominent evangelical leaders have endorsed the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform. Signatories to that statement include Sojourners president Jim Wallis, Wheaton College president Phil Ryken, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, prominent Southern Baptist Convention spokesperson Richard Land and many other leaders from across the political spectrum.
But there are some people who are trying to buck the trend. In their book Left, Right and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics, D.C. Innes and Lisa Sharon Harper come together from opposite sides of the proverbial aisle to wrestle with some of the most fundamental issues facing Americans today. Though both consider themselves evangelical Christians, it is striking how different their worldviews are: Harper is a Democrat, and Innes, a Republican. And yet they hold two things in common: 1) They both love Jesus, and 2) They are both dissatisfied with their own party’s current engagement with the public square. Both are fiercely committed to their respective political ideas—but both are also passionate about extending charity to their political opposites.
An old lawyer’s adage goes, “If you don’t have the law, argue the facts; if you don’t have the facts, argue the law; and if you have neither the facts nor the law, just pound your fist on the table!”
More than two weeks ago, I stopped eating and started fasting, calling on brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same.