Rob hails from Virginia's Shenandoah Valley where as a young evangelical he checked-off many of the suggested boxes: a) have Jerry Falwell sign your Bible, b) listen to Tony Campolo preach, c) sway at an Amy Grant concert, d) lead a neighborhood vacation bible school, e) attend a Billy Graham Crusade, and f) meet Chuck Colson, Carl F. H. Henry and John Stott.
Later came new experiences influenced by Sojourners-types: a) praying with people of faith in Gaza, Guatemala, South Korea and South Africa, b) marching on Washington for affordable housing , c) reading second-hand Sojourners magazines, d) frequenting the Chautauqua Institution, e) integrating his block on the Southside of Chicago and f) discovering his parents attended The Church of the Savior in D.C. a few times in the late 1950s.
Fifteen years ago, the chaplain at the University of Chicago (where Rob was fundraising and completing his Ph.D. under Martin Marty ) asked him to serve as the official Chicago book tour respondent to "an exciting public intellectual and activist." Rob will never forget the audience's reaction of gratitude toward Jim Wallis as he spoke that night on The Soul of Politics.
This spiritual journey makes some wonder what took Rob so long in coming to Sojourners, having served as a seminary and college vice president for the past decade. As for avocations, Rob holds a private pilot's license, writes country songs on the piano, loves Monty Python and novelist Iris Murdoch, and has been preaching since age 15. His wife, Juli Wilson-Black, is an ordained Presbyterian minister, and children Hannah (9), Claire (6) and Owen (2) keep him busy playing ball. They live in the wonderful planned community of Reston, Va., a 1960s attempt at the communitarian life writ large, sort of.
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Lean In: How Men Can Support Gender Equity
Then there’s the more recent pragmatic argument: you should want gender parity because of how it will help your own family, business, or city. In short, inequality and violence harms the women who are your partners and friends. Some suggest that it’s mighty convenient that men are ready to take a stand when we finally see how it benefits us. But one female friend advised me that men should ease up on themselves: “Just deliver gender parity, and we’ll gladly forget HOW exactly you got there. Deal?”
According to the Global Gender Gap Report released at the latest World Economic Forum, it will take 80 years to reach gender parity in pay, status, governance, etc. In the year 2095, my daughters would be approaching 100 years old, and my mother, wife, two sisters, aunts and so forth would be long dead along with me and all the women that I care about today. Why wait 80 more years? It’s time for all men to lean in and help cut that number in half (and then some).
I’ve joked before that having two older sisters is what every boy needs to make the world spin around more equitably. If not biological sisters, then let’s find older sisters for every boy. Hopefully with gender parity cut down to 20 years from 80, my 7-year-old son will need to work twice as hard to “get ahead,” since he’ll finally be competing fairly with the other half of the sky. May it be so.
Jim Wallis Talks the World Economic Forum from Davos, Switzerland
Listen as Jim Wallis talks to Sojourners CEO Rob Wilson-Black about giving the send-off speech on values at the World Economic Forum, where the pair brushed shoulders with some of the most prominent business minds. Here's a brief look at what Jim was trying to do with his talk:
"The pope reminded us about the excluded. This gathering is the most included gathering in the world. You are the most included people in the global economy. How will the most included reach out to the most excluded and bring them in to the global economy? That's what I want [World Economic Forum attendees] to ask themselves."
LISTEN: Jim Wallis Talks Pope Francis
Listen in as Jim Wallis and Sojourners CEO Rob Wilson-Black kick off the new year with a discussion on Pope Francis and the new Pope's influential presence in all kinds of media.
LISTEN: Jim Wallis and Sojourners CEO Rob Wilson-Black Talk Fasting
Listen as Sojourners CEO Rob Wilson-Black asks Jim Wallis about his recent fast for immigration reform.
Four Questions for Christiana Figueres
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change