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:
Michael Mershon, Director of Advocacy and Communications
tel: 202-745-4654
email: media@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

White 'Heritage' vs. the Gospel

by Jim Wallis 09-18-2017
We need to learn from the evil of U.S. slavery and the lie of racial superiority that is still with us.

Image via Mark Fisher/Flickr

MONUMENTS TO the heroes of the Confederacy that stood for decades in Southern parks and streets went unnoticed by many white people, but black Americans have always experienced them as insults and threats. Since Charlottesville, whether to take them down has become the focus of a national debate. After the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in August, cities across the former Confederacy and in border states—including Baltimore, Durham, N.C., and even Richmond, Va., the Confederate capital—have taken action or indicated plans to relocate their monuments.

The argument made by proponents of keeping Confederate statues in place—that they represent Southern heritage and we must not “erase history”—is patently false when one looks at why the monuments were erected. Most Confederate monuments were built during the Jim Crow era of the early 1900s and as a backlash to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s. They were never just about history or heritage, but rather were meant as a sign of resistance to black citizenship in America and a clear signal threatening terror against African Americans.

These monuments were built explicitly in defense of segregation and to glorify white supremacy. As such, they are and were always meant to be a racial rejection and assault to every black American who had to walk in their shadows, as well as all who fought to end slavery and discrimination during the Civil War and ever since.

Who Are We? Hate and Love in America

by Jim Wallis 09-14-2017

Image: (L) White supremacists march in Charlottesville. Credit: Heather Wilson / (R) Irene Fitzgerald exits a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter after Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston, Texas. Credit: Nick Oxford/Reuters

The remarkably human and loving response to imperiled neighbors in Houston stands in stark contrast against the hateful racial ugliness that paraded through the streets of Charlottesville earlier in the month as angry white supremacists — KKK, Neo Nazis, “alt-right” members — marched publicly and proudly without sheets shouting anti-black and anti-Semitic assaults, and ultimately led to the death of Heather Heyer. The lighted torches, fear, hate, and violence of Charlottesville was such a shameful juxtaposition to the self-sacrificial love and service across racial lines that the disasters caused by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey evoked from people.

First Arpaio, Now DACA: The Tangible Consequences of Racial Bigotry

by Jim Wallis 08-31-2017

FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump joined onstage by Joe Arpaio (L) at a campaign rally in Marshalltown, Iowa Jan. 26, 2016, after Arpaio endorsed Trump's cacndidacy. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo
 

Donald Trump’s fueling of racial fear and hate is being played out in our nation’s policies. Incredibly, Trump even justified the Arpaio pardon by saying it got high “ratings” from his constituency. He ran on a platform of anti-immigrant hostility — much like Arpaio — and his base is expecting him to deliver. And now 800,000 lives hang in the balance.

Jim Wallis: Nashville Statement Damaging to People and to the Evangelical Witness

by Jim Wallis 08-30-2017

Some of the common ground we should be able to affirm include:

Every initial of LGBTQ represents people who are beloved of God and made in the image of God.

What Your Church Can Do After Charlottesville: 5 Steps Forward

by Jim Wallis 08-24-2017

What now? Where do churches go from here? Here are five initial thoughts I would like to share, knowing the answer isn’t simple — it will take our collective discernment from the whole diversity of our churches to continue addressing our post-Charlottesville way forward.

We Won the Fight for Health Care, and We Can Win Again

by Jim Wallis 08-01-2017

Image via Heidi Besen/Shutterstock.com

I’m grateful for the 10 governors — Republican and Democrat — who wrote to senators asking them to reject the so-called “skinny repeal” because of how it would affect their residents.

I’m grateful for the thousands of you who heeded Sojourners’ call and contacted your member of Congress to voice your opposition to any bill that would hurt the poor with devastating cuts to Medicaid.

'Is This Not the Fast I Choose?'

by Jim Wallis 07-25-2017
Trump's budget cuts $800 billion from programs for the poor—and has a $43 billion increase in military spending.
Hernán Piñera / Flikr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hernán Piñera / Flikr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

PRAYER, FASTING, and advocacy are all spiritual disciplines—ones that we need right now. Several faith leaders came together this spring to call our brothers and sisters in our diverse faith communities to tie these three spiritual disciplines together “for such a time as this.”

What kind of time is this? We are living in a time when vulnerable people in the United States and around the world are facing tremendous threats from this administration and this Congress—threats that will be on vivid display in the budget debates that will consume Congress after Labor Day:

Forget Paris

by Jim Wallis 07-05-2017
Trump chose to isolate the U.S. on an issue on which there is nearly unprecedented global consensus.
Avivi Aharon / Shutterstock.com

Avivi Aharon / Shutterstock.com

FOR MANY OF US, how people treat the Earth goes far deeper than “politics.” Our relationship with God’s creation is, at heart, a theological matter.

The Paris climate accord is not perfect—it does not go far enough and it is not binding. Nevertheless, it was a giant step forward to have 195 countries commit to curbing the carbon emissions that are endangering the planet and the people who live on it, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. That step was very important, the result of decades of hard work and diligent diplomacy.

Therefore, Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the agreement is a theological failure and an abdication of American leadership on perhaps the most important crisis facing the world today. Politically, it was enormously shallow, arrogant, and truth-less: three words that sadly characterize many of the bombastic statements and decisions the administration has made.

How People of Faith Can Make a Difference in the Health Care Debates

by Jim Wallis 06-28-2017

“This boils down to a choice, a fundamental choice and the choice is this: Do you take a trillion dollars and help the poor and vulnerable and the working class in this country and their health care, subsidized by the federal government, or do you take the trillions of dollars and return it to the wealthy in the country? That’s really the fundamental choice here.” I heard Matthew Dowd say that on This Week with George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday. I met Dowd recently. He is a former George W. Bush advisor, and told me he is a Catholic from my home town of Detroit. He is right. These are indeed about basic choices that are not just political but moral ones. It’s time to make some choices.

Christians Across the Political Spectrum Oppose Cuts to the Poor in Trump’s Budget

by Jim Wallis 06-20-2017

A copy of President Trump's Fiscal Year 2018 budget is on display on Capitol Hill, May 23. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

We will be making this joint statement under the banner of the Circle of Protection, a broad coalition of leaders from all the families of U.S. Christianity that was founded in 2011 in service of the biblical mandate to protect poor and vulnerable people. While individual members of the Circle have raised their voices in opposition to harmful budget cuts and legislation that the Trump administration and Congress have proposed — notably many of us came together for a powerful prayerful event outside the Capitol Building in late March for just such a purpose —this will be the first time that the entire Circle is making such a joint statement.

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