Jim Wallis

President and Founder

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.

Television Appearances

America and the impact of racial geography

Authors Jim Wallis and Eddie Glaude Jr. join Morning Joe to discuss the water crisis in Flint and how racial geography impacts the country.

To arrange a media interview, contact:
Jessica Felix-Romero, Communications Director
tel: 202-745-4654
email: jessicafr@sojo.net

»Download a print-quality photo (5x7 @ 300dpi)

See All TV Appearances

Events

View a full list of upcoming events featuring Jim Wallis and other Sojourners staff.

Request Jim to Speak

See Speaking Events Guidelines and Information here or Submit a Speaking Request Application here

For speaking event invitations, contact:
James Simpson, Senior Adviser to the President
408 C. St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
tel: 202-745-4600
email: events@sojo.net

College Course

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. 

View the Course

Books

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

Three Funerals

by Jim Wallis 09-06-2018
What We Can Learn from a Life Well-Lived

The casket is pictured leaving the memorial service of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Sept. 1, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

I saw three funerals last week; I went to two and watched the other one on television. For me, they all had lessons and questions for America’s future. The best funeral services are not only about past, but also about the future.

Signs of Hope for Bipartisanship

by Jim Wallis 07-26-2018
On Family Separations, Race and Poverty, Faith Groups Are Breaking Through

In a time when bipartisanship seems like a forgotten dream, it is important for us to find and celebrate cases of lawmakers coming together, regardless of party and ideology, to address the many real and immediate challenges we face as a country. Especially on issues of importance to the faith community, we should encourage bipartisan cooperation that seeks justice and mercy for families, communities, and those otherwise marginalized across our nation. Recently, there have been two steps forward on this front, especially with regard to the work that Sojourners has been doing on immigration, poverty, and racism.

A Combination of Cruelty and Ineptitude

by Jim Wallis 07-25-2018
Children do not belong in prison—full stop.

Marie Kanger Born / Shutterstock.com

THIS SUMMER, people were filled with righteous anger about the separation of children from their families at the southern U.S. border. The crisis sparked a critical mass of outrage about the Trump administration’s inhumane policy, especially when audio surfaced of separated children crying desperately for their parents. The press, a few members of Congress, and other elected leaders did heroic work in exposing the horrific human toll of these policies.

In the weeks the family separation policy was in place, more than 2,300 children were separated from their parents. Reuniting these children with their families will take months. Some of these children may never be reunited with parents—meaning they effectively have been made orphans by this administration’s combination of cruelty and ineptitude.

Make no mistake: This was not merely an accidental byproduct of a convoluted and broken immigration system that is long overdue for comprehensive, just, and compassionate reform. Family separation was the direct consequence of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy toward immigrants, some of whom were following the legal path of pursuing asylum. Administration officials argued that forcibly separating children from their parents was acceptable because it would be a “deterrent” to families seeking to enter the United States without proper authorization.

Helsinki Was … Clarifying

by Jim Wallis 07-19-2018

Image via Grigory Dukor/Reuters

Trump is more than a liar. He has always tried to change what people believe about the truth.

Two Things We Can Do to Help Reunite Families

by Jim Wallis 07-05-2018

An immigration activist outside the White House in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

It is time for people of faith and conscience to demand nothing less than an immediate and complete reunification of separated families — and demonstrate our willingness to play a role in this process. We have spoken out to stop the separation, but we still have the moral imperative to fix it for those who have been torn from their parents. I have recently been in meetings with bipartisan groups of senators who want to see this issue fixed, who care very deeply about finding lasting solutions, and who are asking for the help of the faith community.

The Scandal of Voter Suppression

by Jim Wallis 07-02-2018
We have a clear Christian mandate to ensure that society's most vulnerable can exercise the right to vote. 

IN 2016, VOTERS faced extensive efforts to make voting more difficult, particularly for people of color and those who are poor. These efforts at voter suppression occurred as a result of GOP gains in governors’ races and state legislatures while Barack Obama was president—and also as a result of the Supreme Court gutting a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

Between those two factors, 23 states—including some key battlegrounds in the presidential election—had new voter restrictions in place for the 2016 election. Examples include laws that eliminated polling places or moved them to less accessible locations, reduced polling hours, tightened voter-ID requirements, “purged” voter rolls, and reduced early voting and Sunday voting, which are popular among minority voters in certain regions.

As we approach the 2018 midterms, we need to protect the right to vote for citizens of all races, economic levels, and political persuasions. This is an imago dei issue: If we believe that all human beings are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), then efforts to prevent some of God’s children from exercising their franchise must be opposed as a matter of fidelity to our faith. It’s also a Matthew 25 issue: If we believe that how we treat people living in poverty and those who have been caught up in the system of mass incarceration is how we treat Christ himself, then we have a clear Christian mandate to ensure that society’s most vulnerable can exercise the right to vote.

In-person voter fraud is vanishingly rare, to the tune of only 31 documented cases out of 1 billion ballots cast between 2000 and 2014. To put it another way, the odds that any given person will attempt in-person voter fraud are something like 1 in 32 million, significantly lower than the odds of being struck by lightning. Twice.

The Court’s Ruling on Trump’s Travel Ban Is Legally Endorsed Religious Discrimination

by Jim Wallis 06-27-2018

Image via shutterstock/EddieHernandezPhotography 

In a way, it's a cruel joke that the majority used yesterday's decision to officially overturn the Korematsu v. United States decision of 1944 that upheld the government's right to intern Japanese Americans in concentration camps. While this was a welcome and long-overdue step, it's also a way for the conservative majority to attempt to wash its hands, Pilate-like, of the consequences of asserting that current and future presidents have the power to keep members of a disfavored group out of the country if they simply massage the language of their executive orders and proclamations sufficiently. As Justice Sotomayor argued in her dissent, it "merely replaces one gravely wrong decision with another." It's a slippery slope that risks pointing us backwards towards our shameful past, in which the high court long upheld the constitutionality of slavery, Jim Crow laws, the Chinese Exclusion Act, many grievous harms to Native American people and communities, and other horrors, all of which we rightfully recognize today as counter to the principles of the Constitution and the tenets of Christian faith. 

Abusing Scripture to Justify Abusing Migrant Children and Their Families

by Jim Wallis 06-21-2018

People participate in a protest outside the Tornillo Tranit Centre, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 17, 2018. REUTERS/Monica Lozano

Let’s be clear: All Trump did was decide to detain families together in prison camps going forward, and there is no clear plan yet to re-unify the more than 2,300 children who have already been orphaned and sent away from their parents under his administration’s cruel policy. Those separations could be forever if the enormous task of reunification is not carefully undertaken.

Watch Tonight: The Summit Brings Together Justice Leaders to Offer Strategy and Sustenance

by Jim Wallis 06-13-2018

Tonight at 6:30 EDT, we will be kicking off the first of four live-streamed “Core Conversations” for The Summit 2018: Radically Rooted, and we warmly invite you to tune in on our Facebook page. (RSVP here to be alerted on Facebook when it begins.)

It's Time to Respond. Answer the Call of Reclaiming Jesus

by Jim Wallis 06-07-2018

While the Reclaiming Jesus declaration has now been encountered by millions— it had only been signed by the 23 elders. Now, many more wanted to “sign on.” We were very grateful for that so many wanted to now signify that they were “another kind of Christian” than those who had been embarrassingly speaking up for the current political powers or remaining silent in the face of such hypocrisy.

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