Jim Wallis is a New York Times bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, and international commentator on ethics and public life. He served on President Obama's White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and was former vice chair of and currently serves on the Global Agenda Council on Values of the World Economic Forum.
Jim is the author of 12 books. His most recent book, America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, was released in January 2016. His other books include: On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good, Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery; The Great Awakening:Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America; and God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It.
He is president and founder of Sojourners, where he is also editor-in-chief of Sojourners, which has a combined print and online readership of more than 5 million people. Jim frequently speaks in the United States and abroad. His columns appear in major newspapers, including The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe. He frequently appears on radio and television as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Fox—on shows such as Meet the Press and Hardball—and on National Public Radio. He has taught at Harvard University, Georgetown University, and a variety of other academic institutions.
Jim was raised in a Midwest evangelical family. As a teenager, his questioning of the racial segregation in his church and community led him to the black churches and neighborhoods of inner-city Detroit. He spent his student years involved in the civil rights and antiwar movements. Jim founded Sojourners while a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois. Jim and several other students started a small magazine and community with a Christian commitment to social justice. More than 40 years later, Sojourners has grown into a national faith-based organization. In 1979, Time magazine named Wallis one of the "50 Faces for America's Future."
Jim lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Joy Carroll, one of the first women ordained in the Church of England and author of Beneath the Cassock: The Real-Life Vicar of Dibley, and their young sons, Luke and Jack. He was a Little League baseball coach for 11 years — 22 seasons.
Authors Jim Wallis and Eddie Glaude Jr. join Morning Joe to discuss the water crisis in Flint and how racial geography impacts the country.
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How does faith inform public debates on social justice in U.S. politics? How should religious leaders and politicians engage the political process while maintaining their moral witness? Since the fall of 2011, Jim Wallis has been addressing these questions in a course he teaches at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. He leads the class through a series of topics that intersect religion, society, and politics. Sojourners and the Berkley Center have now made this course available online through video recordings and course packets.
The (Un)common Good: How the Gospel Brings Hope to a World Divided
Jim Wallis thinks our life together can be better. In this timely and provocative book, he shows us how to reclaim Jesus' ancient and compelling vision of the common good — a vision that impacts and inspires not only our politics but also our personal lives, families, churches, neighborhoods, and world. The (Un)Common Good is the revised and updated paperback edition of On God's Side and includes a new preface.
On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good
On God's Side examines the deepest problems this world faces. What we need is a commitment to an ancient idea whose time has urgently come: the common good. How do we work together, even with people we don’t agree with? How do we treat each other, especially the poorest and most vulnerable? How do we take care of not just ourselves, but also one another? Wallis tackles these questions and more in this challenging, yet hopeful book.
The Great Awakening: Seven Ways to Change the World
What would it take to change the world? What would it take to end extreme poverty, to address climate change, to create peace? For too long, a narrow religious agenda has been used like a wedge to divide people. But a wider and deeper vision of faith and values is emerging. It's a renewal of faith – a great awakening – that combines personal faith with social justice. A new social movement is on the rise. The Great Awakening is upon us.
God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It
God's Politics offers a clarion call to make both our religious communities and our government more accountable to key values of the prophetic religious tradition. Our biblical faith and religious traditions simply do not allow us as a nation to continue to ignore the poor and marginalized, deny racial justice, tolerate the ravages of war, or turn away from the human rights of those made in the image of God. These are the values of love and justice, reconciliation, and community that Jesus taught and that are at the core of what many of us believe, Christian or not.
Faith Works: How Faith-based Organizations are Changing Lives, Neighborhoods, and America
"In Faith Works, Jim Wallis has woven together a detailed road map for those interested in loosening the chains of social injustice. This book is a powerful resource for change!" Millard Fuller, Founder and President, Habitat for Humanity International
The Soul of Politics: Beyond 'Religious Right' and 'Secular Left'
Jim Wallis responds to signs of cultural breakdown and political impasse with a resounding and highly moving call to reintegrate politics and spirituality - a call for a new political morality combining social justice with personal responsibility.
The Call to Conversion: Recovering the Gospel for These Times
Jim Wallis explores Jesus' call to God's community and away from worldly standards, the churches' betrayal of the call, and the possibilities for a new response.
Posts By This Author
On US-North Korea, Listen to Seoul
As Trump and Kim Jong-un approach possible conversations, here are 3 truths for American Christians to keep in mind.
Churches Must Follow Students' Lead on #ThoughtsPrayersAction
Our children are leading us, and our youth groups can help point the way forward. It’s time to listen and follow their lead.
Faith, Justice, and the Law
WHEN I RECENTLY spoke at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., on the subject of my book America’s Original Sin, the moderator introduced me with something that isn’t in my official bio. “Our speaker today has been arrested 22 times.”
It’s up to 23 times now, after I was arrested in December in the Hart Senate Office Building for reading biblical passages about poverty to protest the GOP tax plan, which disproportionately favors the rich.
In Shane Claiborne’s piece in this issue, he provides an overview of civil disobedience—both the biblical basis for disobeying unjust laws and how people doing so, often at great risk, have changed the course of history again and again. I want to share a few of my own reflections on civil disobedience.
In late 1983, on the heels of the Reagan administration’s invasion of Grenada, church leaders in Nicaragua called Sojourners and pleaded with us to help stop the invasion of their country, rightly fearing that the U.S. would target Nicaragua next. We asked ourselves, What can we do?
After much prayer and discernment, and in collaboration with many allies in the Christian peace movement, we launched “The Pledge of Resistance,” wherein Christians across the United States “pledged” to fill the offices of their members of Congress in massive civil disobedience if Nicaragua were invaded. Eighty thousand people eventually signed the pledge. Most of the signers were prepared to be arrested and go to jail if necessary.
Our hope in creating this pledge was to increase the domestic cost of a U.S. invasion—with a credible promise to mobilize tens of thousands to engage in principled law-breaking all over America—hoping that might make decision-makers reconsider. It worked.
If Our Leaders Won't Lead, Our Children Will
Something is happening with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and, because of them, something is happening to us as a nation.
Trump’s Immigration Policies Are Anti-Family, Anti-American, and Anti-Christ
It’s not always the case that the gospel is at stake in a Senate debate. But this week it is. Starting yesterday, on Ash Wednesday, the United States Senate engaged in a debate with enormous moral stakes for who we are as a nation, and it is the moral obligation of Christians in this country to get involved.
The Memo to Mislead
I believe that standing up against increasing authoritarian leadership in the United States will become a matter of faith for our communities. Faith communities believe in democracy not because we think human beings are perfect, but because we know we are not. Checks, balances, and accountabilities are essential to our public life.
Here’s What Unites Us: A Common Call to Address Racism and Poverty
The State of the Union speech last night reveals a divided nation. In the sharpest contrast, a “Unity Declaration” is being released today by a very broad and diverse group of nearly 80 Christian leaders focusing on the integral connection between racism and poverty — which, for us, are issues of faith we are committed to overcoming together.
Christians: DACA Is Our Fight
There is enormous public support for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) from the American people. According to a poll released by CBS News in the past week, “nearly 9 in 10 Americans (87%) favor allowing young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the U.S.” This number includes 79 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats, and 87 percent of independents who favor the policy.
Time for a 'Moral Movement'
I FEEL POLITICALLY homeless as we enter 2018, and I know I am not alone. Many are feeling the same, as other Christians, especially white evangelicals, have offered uncritical support for a president who is the antithesis of the gospel of Jesus Christ, endangering the witness and reputation of Christianity, especially among the younger generation.
Of course, the two political parties are not morally equivalent. But the Republican Party’s political sellout to Donald Trump and the Democrats’ lack of a clear moral alternative that many people of faith are excited to support leave many of us feeling politically homeless.
Republican leadership has sold its party’s soul to an amoral, childish, and dangerous man. He has been revealed as intellectually shallow, a person who lacks a moral conscience, and an unapologetic promoter of racial bigotry and misogyny. His disrespect for the rule of law and our political system of checks and balances can best be described as narcissistic and authoritarian paranoia, which creates a dangerous threat to American democracy and national security.
While some Republican commentators and elected officials have voiced opposition to the president’s behavior, the Republican Party has substituted a moral relationship to the presidency for a transactional one, in which they ignore Trump’s manifest unfitness for the office in exchange for enacting policies that support the greedy demands of their wealthiest donors. In doing so, the GOP has disregarded the espoused values of principled conservatism: fiscal integrity and responsibility, an allegiance to truth and honesty, genuine pro-family values, national security through global engagement, a commitment to opportunity for all and empathy for those in need, and the worth and equality of every person under the law.
Martin Luther King: From Commemoration to Commitment
“You are bringing politics into the church!” That is a frequently heard comment when pastors and community leaders bring things like MLK Day commemoration services into their churches. I asked the gathered audience at the Millbrook Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Monday night if they had ever heard that question before. I was honored to give the keynote address for their MLK Day 2018 service — which was filled up with leaders and members of local Christian Reformed Churches and students and faculty from Calvin College. Heads were nodding yes in response to my question all over the congregation.
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