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 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.

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: 202-745-4633
fax: 202-328-8757
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, Executive Assistant
3333 14th St NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20010
tel: 202-745-4600
fax: 202-328-8757
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

No Accountability. No Trust.

by Jim Wallis 05-24-2016

Photo by Ryan Stewart / Sojourners

While I am no legal expert on the details of the court decision yesterday or whether the charges against him and each of the other officers were carefully made or effectively prosecuted, nor a spiritual expert on Nero’s motives, nor an administrative expert on Baltimore police training, one fact continues to remain clear: No one has yet to be held accountable for Freddie Gray’s death who was alive and well before being detained and put into that police wagon.

 

Tomorrow's Leaders: A Reason to Hope

by Jim Wallis 05-19-2016

Since all the political news is terrible and only getting worse, I decided to reflect on something very personal this week — about a great event that happened this weekend.

Trump's Brand of Bigotry Isn't Going Away. So Neither Are We.

by Jim Wallis 05-12-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com 

As you likely know, faith-based organizations don’t endorse candidates. So you won’t be surprised that I am not going to endorse Donald Trump — neither will I endorse his Democratic opponents, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. But we faith leaders will comment on the morality of this presidential campaign, the issues raised or not raised, and the morality of candidates based on our moral values. That’s what we “values voters” do. And we will again this election year.

Of course, Trump took notice and attacked, in one of his regularly ugly tweets, calling Dr. Russell Moore a “truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!"

Well, Donald, many of us are right with Russell on this, and you will face strong opposition to your political use of racial bigotry from Christians across the political spectrum. If you had the courage to join a public forum with us faith leaders on the terrible dangers of racial bigotry in a time of such division and fear, it could be very good for the country. 

How Daniel Berrigan Helped Save My Faith

by Jim Wallis 05-05-2016

The name Berrigan helped keep the possibility of coming back to my Christian aith alive. Just like the black churches that took me in, here were some Christians who were saying and doing what I thought the gospel said that nobody in my white evangelical world was. I believe the witness of the Berrigans literally helped keep my hope for faith from dying altogether.

Denouncing the Politics of Hate

by Jim Wallis 04-28-2016
Jesus told his disciples again and again: "Be not afraid."
William Perugini / Shutterstock

William Perugini / Shutterstock

WHAT ISIS AND other terror groups who share their views want is precisely to terrorize us. They want to turn our fear of them into fear of everyone who looks like them, and everyone who follows the religion they are trying to hijack. They want us to suspect, fear, and hate the 1.6 billion people of the world who practice Islam—including millions of Muslim Americans. They want to provoke us to anger, and they hope that in our anger and pain we will overreact.

Right now, unfortunately, they are succeeding with too many of our fellow Christians, and even with some of the candidates for our highest political offices.

When ISIS terrorists succeed in provoking Islamophobic responses, they come closer to their goal of dividing the world into two categories—Muslims and non-Muslims—which also brings them closer to their goal of claiming the mantle of being the only “true defenders” of Islam. Islamophobia thus directly helps the terrorists recruit more young Muslims to their cause and makes it harder for other Muslims to work against them.

Here are some ways that we can deny the terrorists their victory:

FIRST, WE MUST focus on life and the terrible human suffering that these attacks are causing all over the world. When you add up all of those killed, maimed, wounded, and traumatized—and all their family members, friends, fellow congregants, and co-workers—the number of human beings impacted by terrorist violence is almost countless. We must also include the impact on all of our children whose fears these attacks kindle, and the fears we in turn feel for them.

Why We Made A Video Making Fun of Patriarchy

by Jim Wallis 04-14-2016

The church simply cannot afford to erase its strong female leadership.

In a world mired in xenophobia, racism, and gender violence, female clergy are often plotting the way forward. Shepherding houses of God all over the world, these women prove that a relentless and repressive patriarchy will not have the final word in God’s coming kingdom.

Remembering King: Breaking the Silence

by Jim Wallis 04-07-2016
Ebenezer Baptist Church

Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. L. Kragt Bakker Shutterstock.com

I believe pulpits are supposed to change communities and nations — and history. They are supposed to raise up preachers and their congregations to stand and speak and act for biblical justice. I have been very blessed on this tour for my new book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, by preaching and being in many of those pulpits that are changing things yet again.

This Is How Real Change Happens

by Jim Wallis 03-31-2016
The Summit 2015

The Summit 2015, by JP Keenan/Sojourners

Imagine what it would look like for a diverse mosaic of justice movements to stand together to oppose white supremacy.

Imagine what it would look like for our spirituality to be infused with a longing for repair and restoration of what centuries of racial division have broken.

Imagine what it would look like for a room full of business leaders, local pastors, grassroots organizers, and artists to discuss real answers to deep problems.

That’s the vision for The Summit 2016. And we need your help to make it happen.

Deny the Terrorists Their Victory

by Jim Wallis 03-24-2016
Metro station Bourse is closed after the Brussels terrorist attacks that took place on March 22

Metro station Bourse is closed after the Brussels terrorist attacks that took place on March 22. CRM / Shutterstock.com

Terrorists want to “terrorize” us. They want to make us angry and hostile. They want us to react and overreact to them. They want us to suspect, to racially and religiously profile, discriminate against, and attack all Muslims. Because that will help the terrorists recruit more young Muslims to their cause — and make it harder for other Muslims to work against them. They want to politicize everything and turn people’s attention away from the massive losses for human life that these evil terrorists represent.

We must deny them their victory. Here’s how.

Parenting for Racial Justice

by Jim Wallis 03-22-2016
At many colleges we visited, it was apparent that "success" was defined in mostly monetary terms.
Lauren Simmons / Shutterstock

Lauren Simmons / Shutterstock

WE ARE A baseball family, with our two boys playing on many teams over the years with multiracial teammates, coaches, and leadership in the organizations shaping those programs. I have long been a Little League baseball coach, and my wife, Joy, has been commissioner at every level too.

In baseball, talent and teamwork are the metrics and measuring sticks, not the race of one’s teammates. For both of my boys, their teammates are their closest friends.

Being a Little League coach (for 11 years and 22 seasons!) has given me a place to reflect on our nation’s racial issues. Playing baseball brings you closer together. My son Luke often says his high school teammates are the best friends he’s ever had, and at every level of Little League, my players always testify in our final team meeting of the season how they have become such close friends. Being teammates really does help overcome racial bias and prejudice, because it is the issue of proximity that finally helps human beings understand one another and learn empathy. On Little League teams we are all cheering for one another, looking out for one another, picking one another up when we fall down or make a mistake, and learning to be positive as we work together for our common goals.

One of the best things to watch over the course of a season is how, across racial lines, the parents of players become friends as well. It is especially interesting to see how the conversation topics develop over time, moving from “just baseball” to school and future, to work and family, to sharing of life experiences, and even to national events, which sometimes includes race. What becomes clear is that we all care more about our children and their future than anything else, and beginning to talk about our kids’ futures together can be a very powerful moment.

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