The Common Good

The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times Press Items
"Middle-American, ordinary Christian folks who don't think of themselves as radical or activists" can identify with Stearns and his explanations of why they have to think about their faith in a whole new way, says Wallis, the Sojourners editor, who's a friend of Stearns. "I think he's particularly good at reaching white suburban evangelicals because . . . he's from that culture."
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Sacramento-based head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, met last week with several U.S. religious leaders at the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., to denounce extremist language.
Jim Wallis, the editor of Sojourners, said at the Christian Peace Witness service in Washington, D.C., in March, "To cast out fear, we must act in faith, in prayer, in love, and in hope so that we might help to heal the fears that keep this war going."
Last year, when the Rev. Jim Wallis spoke in the Seattle area, he drew standing-room-only crowds of about 900. These days, as the evangelical leader tours the country promoting the paperback edition of his bestselling book "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It" (HarperSanFrancisco), such audiences are expected everywhere.
The fractures between some leading evangelicals and the Republican Party occur in a context of reawakening of what some call the Religious Left. Mainline Protestants, liberal Catholics, Reform Jews, progressive Muslims and Unitarian Universalists came alive politically in opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and further mobilized in the 2004 electoral campaign. The best-selling books of Jim Wallis ("God's Politics") and Michael Lerner ("The Left Hand of God") show that religious progressive voices have a sizable, national following.
As for blue and red religion, the most noted attempt to counter the common wisdom comes from Jim Wallis. "God's Politics" has the subject in the subtitle: "Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It." Wallis has written a sermon on the moral imperative to build a progressive religious movement.
A standing-room crowd of 900 heard traveling evangelical speaker Jim Wallis give an "altar call" for the religious left to engage in politics.
"The real issue is developing the political will to overcome poverty and to rebuild shattered lives and neighborhoods. Creating partnerships that respect the pluralism of America and that honor the First Amendment does not mean separating faith from public life."