'Faith is Always Personal, But Never Private' | Sojourners

'Faith is Always Personal, But Never Private'

Sojourners founder and president Jim Wallis appeared Nov. 7 on the Drew Marshall Show, a spiritual talk show that broadcasts on radio stations all over Canada. In the interview, Rev. Wallis discussed a range of topics from baseball and his love of coaching his sons, to Sojourners’ push for immigration reform, Pope Francis’ recent visit, and his upcoming book America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America.

Rev. Wallis also talked about his faith journey — from his experience at a revival as a child, to leaving his home church to join the student movements of the 1960s and 1970s. He discussed the encounter with an elder in his church where an elder said that they had “nothing to do with racism. That’s political. Our faith is private.”

This exchange, Wallis noted, is what led him to eventually leave his church, only to come back to his faith after reading in Matthew 25 about how followers of Christ should treat the “least of these,” and what leads him to say that "faith is always personal, but never private."

Another topic in the interview was the upcoming and first annual Henri Nouwen Lecture, at which Rev. Wallis is speaking Nov. 14 in Toronto. Rev. Wallis will be speaking on the spirituality of social justice and reflecting on his relationship with Nouwen. Wallis talked about this relationship in his interview:

Henri used to come here a lot in the early days…He felt that would keep him close to the justice struggle, but he taught us that if you’re trying to change the world and you don’t have a sustaining inner life or faith, you’ll burn out, become angry and ideological, and eventually violent…It’s a balance, an integral relationship between the inner life and our life in the world…We would have endless conversations about how we do that and that’s what I’ll be talking about when I come to Toronto.

The lecture, entitled “The Spirituality of Social Justice”, will be at Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m.

Listen to the full interview here.

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