Jim Wallis is a New York Times bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, and international commentator on ethics and public life. He recently served on the 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 most recent 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 magazine, which has a combined print and electronic media readership of more than a quarter million people. Jim frequently speaks in the United States and abroad. His columns appear in major newspapers, including The New York Times, Washington Post, 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, Hardball, the Daily Show, the O’Reilly Factor—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 is a Little League baseball coach.
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
'A Lynching, With a Gun'
A good friend of mine, a well-respected black Christian leader, called it a lynching. But with a gun, and not a rope. I agree.
I’m talking about the shooting of Walter Scott, a black man in North Charleston, S.C., who was shot and killed by white police officer Michael Slager. Black citizen Walter Scott — who was pulled over for a malfunctioning brake light — was shot several times in the back as he fled Slager after a brief tussle. Scott was unarmed, running away, and at least 17 feet away from Slager when Slager opened fire and shot him in the back. After killing him, Slager dropped his Taser next to Scott’s body, which the prosecutors allege was an effort to make the case that he acted in self-defense.
Advent in 2016: Not Normal, Not Now, Not to Come
Now that the election is resolved, both the media and politicians have moved to “normalize” the president-elect, even if his personality and practices are far from normal. Let’s call this the great Washington “suck up” to power which goes far beyond the peaceful transition of power, which is an invaluable American democratic tradition.
But this is not normal. None of this is normal.
A New America Will Come: The Voices I'm Thankful For
I am very grateful this Thanksgiving for the evangelicals who still realize that being truly “evangelical” means to follow the words of Jesus in Luke 4, which clearly describe the gospel he came to proclaim as “good news” to the poor that will “free the captives,” and “let the oppressed go free.” Drawing a circle of protection around the poor and vulnerable will be the first thing to do with this administration and the new Congress, and I am so grateful for all the people of faith who will unite together to do that.
I am also thankful for evangelicals who are less concerned about being persecuted for their beliefs, and more concerned about their brothers and sisters in Christ — immigrants and other people of color — who are now so afraid of persecution because they were targeted by the election campaign of man who is now president, and whose children are already being verbally and physically assaulted at their schools and on their playgrounds by people who claim to be the new president’s supporters.
10 Commitments of Resistance in the Trump Era
We know you are fearful. We know you are still feeling the loss — the loss of a hoped for America that valued diversity, or perhaps the loss of your faith community whose white majority voted for an embodiment of our worst natures.
But we also know that you are ready to resist. You are ready to join the millions who will repeat daily that this ugly rhetoric and dangerous policy proposals cannot become normalized. Racism should not continue as normal, misogyny can’t remain normal, and threatening the well being of those God calls us to welcome cannot become normal.
And so we make this commitment to you: We at Sojourners are all in for whatever is required over the next four years and beyond, as a publication, as a resource, as a community, as a network of activists. Here’s how we get started.
Time for Healing. And Resistance.
All this will be risky and costly. Thus, it will be important that our first call is to go deeper into our faith, to find the courage to act, stand alongside our brothers and sisters under attack, and to confront the “principalities and powers.” Perhaps the most encouraging calls to me since the election results last night have come from young people of all ethnicities — many of whom I know well and have mentored. Several have independently said, “I just wanted you to know that I AM IN for whatever this will require of us.”
Thanks be to God.
One More Sunday: What Should Pastors Say Before Election Day?
So I am writing this to you, the pastors and spiritual leaders of congregations of Christians all across America. I am asking about your pastoral and prophetic responsibilities as we approach this historic election with potential consequences that we have never seen before in our lifetimes.
Read This Before You Cast a 'Supreme Court' Vote
As a Christian who truly believes that abortion is a moral issue, I am deeply committed to dramatically reducing them. But criminalizing an often desperate choice is not the answer. We must also be deeply committed to the economic security, healthcare, and childcare choices that women need, which are critical to reducing abortion. I believe in the sacredness and dignity of life from womb to tomb. But a “consistent ethic of life” also ending poverty, human trafficking, the death penalty, ceaseless and senseless wars, and weapons of mass destruction.
Ministers of Reconciliation
OUR NATION needs to begin healing the deep wounds that this election cycle has caused and exacerbated.
What wounds are these? Deep down, our country has developed a very large empathy deficit. The unprecedented toxicity of the rhetoric that came from Donald Trump emboldened many of his supporters to become vile and even violent in their characterizations of Hillary Clinton, her supporters, and anyone who didn’t agree with them.
The anonymity of the internet and the nature of social media helped fuel the rise of the alt-right, a catch-all term for extremists that encompasses white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, and virulent misogynists, many of whom were Trump supporters. The CEO of his campaign, Steve Bannon, was one of the alt-right’s most prominent boosters. These supporters embraced Donald Trump with cult-like fanaticism and used their online anonymity to hurl violent invective, peddle conspiracy theories, and even make death threats to people who opposed Trump or who were perceived as being biased against him. (Mainstream journalists, especially those who are black, Latino/a, Muslim, or Jewish, were the most frequent targets.) There was a complete lack of empathy from the alt-right for the feelings and motivations of anyone who did not support Trump or who belonged to one of the many groups he insulted.
Trump’s campaign lifted a rock in American life, and all sorts of ugly things crawled out from beneath that rock. They denied the image of God in the people they targeted.
Many left-leaning partisans responded by demonizing not just Trump but everyone who supported his candidacy, and often in similarly toxic language. In some ways, liberals made a major mistake in the way they caricatured conservatives and previous Republican nominees. Speaking in apocalyptic terms about decent people such as Mitt Romney, whose positions they strongly disagree with, has made it more difficult to break through to both the media and rank-and-file conservatives about the clear and present danger of Trump’s candidacy. And while Clinton’s famous “basket of deplorables” comment was taken out of context to feed a perception that she had no empathy for any of Trump’s supporters, many people on the left make precisely this mistake. They view all of Trump’s supporters as ignorant racists and dismiss the real economic and social forces that have left many working-class whites behind, alienated and angry.
Witness the Vote: Protect Vulnerable Voters from Racial Profiling
We are calling upon Christians and other people of faith to act on their faith commitment to racial justice. Volunteers will be needed all across the country to ensure that vulnerable voters know their rights, have a way to get to the polls, and even have non-violent protection in order to have the opportunity to express their constitutional right to vote. Sojourners is working with other nonpartisan groups, in partnership with lawyers and others, in training people of faith to take these very appropriate — and necessary — steps to protect these Matthew 25 voters.
'Locker Room Talk'
Of course this it is not “just talk” as he and his defenders have claimed. But also concerning is the response from some Republican and religious leaders who had previously supported Trump now saying they can't anymore because of the women in their lives — daughters, wives, and mothers — who they want to protect. Women don’t need protection from men; women need men to stop being predators, enablers, and bystanders. Women are human beings made in the image of God regardless of their relationship to a man. This isn’t a woman’s issue; it’s a human issue.
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