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America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America Hardcover – January 19, 2016
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From the Inside Flap
--Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; pastor, Lamb's Church
"Jim Wallis is a clarion voice our nation desperately needs right now, especially the parents and grandparents raising our next generation of children. Only the truth will set us free."
--Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children's Defense Fund
"Jim Wallis is a visionary veteran in the struggle against white supremacy. In this powerful book, he calls for a new conversation and action on the ground--in our homes, churches, sports arenas, and schools--in order to be true to the best of who we are!"
--Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary; author of Race Matters
"Every so often a leader addresses the pressing crisis of his or her day with the clarity, passion, and conviction that offers not only critique but hope that can only be forged in the trenches of faithful struggle and engagement. Jim Wallis has done just that by confronting the injustice of racism in our nation."
--Noel Castellanos, CEO & president, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)
"We will not get better as a country until we face the sin we've inherited, the sin that continues to wound our brothers and sisters. This book can help us build a better nation by facing the terrible truth of our self-centeredness and the wonderful truth of God's ongoing, redeeming love."
--Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor, Northland--A Church Distributed
From the Back Cover
"Jim Wallis marches among our hardiest and most steadfast pioneers on the path to a more perfect union and a more vibrant faith. America's Original Sin is a powerful act of Spirit-led truth telling and a loving disruption of the status quo. Wallis calls us to transcend racial categories and to see in one another the image of God. He points out the structural realities of sinful racism and makes clear that to be redeemed, we must do more than deny it. This is required reading for all who believe in the promises of God, hope for the American democracy, and long to see the power of a justice ethos grounded in love."
--Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president, North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP; author of The Third Reconstruction
"I have been waiting a long time for this book. I have been waiting for a white, male, evangelical Christian to say what Jim Wallis has the courage to say. Jim, in his own inimitable way, invites us into a conversation about America's original sin that is long overdue. America, the church, the criminal justice system, and, indeed, all of us, need to engage in the level of truth telling that he is calling for in this book."
--Cynthia L. Hale, senior pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, Georgia
"Jim Wallis, the nation's preeminent evangelical prophetic teacher and preacher, sends a tough love letter to America, demanding and daring the church not only to repent of the 'original sin' of racism but also to join the fight against all forms of racial injustice. I encourage everyone who is concerned about our democracy and who desires to see the church live out its true mission of love and justice to read this prophetic epistle."
--Otis Moss III, senior pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois
"In the face of the implicit and often unconscious structures of racism, 'it's time for white Christians to be more Christian than white,' says Jim Wallis. If you don't understand this quote--or if you do--read America's Original Sin. Wallis unpacks for white Americans how we lost our souls, and he maps out the road of repentance to systemic and personal racial healing."
--Sharon E. Watkins, general minister and president, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
"For decades, Jim Wallis has steadfastly spoken, written, and lived as one committed to racial justice and reconciliation. This book is a consummate distillation of those themes that leans back to remember 'America's original sin,' principally to rivet our attention and commitment to a different future. This is a sobering and motivating act of hope."
--Mark Labberton, president, Fuller Theological Seminary
Top Customer Reviews
This book’s title originates from a November 1987 article in Sojourners which began with the sentence: “The United States of America was established as a white society, founded upon the genocide of another race and then the enslavement of yet another.” Such an assertion contradicts the central lie of America’s founding narrative. American Christianity has been tangled up in that lie. “It’s time,” Wallis writes, “for white Christians to be more Christian than white.”
The legacy of white supremacy disables white evangelicals from addressing contemporary incidents of racialized violence against African-Americans with any degree of sympathy, insight, or relevance. Unfortunately, this has not rendered them mute on the topic even as it has exposed them as part of the problem rather part of the solution. Jim Wallis is trying to keep evangelicals in conversation with concerns outside their parochial worldview.
In this book he presents a strong, uncompromising view of race and racism. He connects central biblical concepts with incisive contemporary anti-racist analysis and then offers some of the best available mainstream progressive recommendations. There is little here that is original or has not been said before. His strength is in bringing it all together in a manner and tone that (some) evangelicals might be able to hear at a moment when we all need to hear it.Read more ›
Jim offers a superb analysis of how racism has shaped and formed itself within our society throughout American history. Jim Wallis has always been arguing for economic and racial justice, throughout the past few decades.
Wallis defined the United States’ original sin as:
“Well, the original sin is…this nation was founded by the near genocide of one people and the kidnapping of another people to build this nation.”
He now offers a new path to understanding and conquering racism, in our country. It was a great read about our principles and virtues, I highly recommend it! Hope it helps:)
“Fifty years,” I told him. That was my age at the time.
The best messages have to steep for a while, and clearly the message of America’s Original Sin has been steeping for quite some time. In fact, a few months ago, Jim Wallis told me that this was the book he’s always wanted to write. I believe he’s been writing it all his life. It’s only now, in the fullness of time, that we’re getting to read it.
This book lays bare the facts about white America’s moral responsibility for this country’s racial dysfunction. These facts are not really in dispute but are nevertheless largely ignored by white Christians. Not any more. Jim Wallis doesn’t just present the facts; he confronts us with them.
America’s Original Sin is not just a reminder of our jaded history or our hypocritical present. It is more than the sum of its sobering statistics. It calls into question the very benignity of whiteness. It reminds us of our biblical commitments. It calls us to repentance.
The repentance to which Jim Wallis points, however, is not simply a cathartic spiritual experience. He’s not just talking about committing to change but about making changes—changes in our relationships, changes in our churches, changes in our politics. And the book is chock full of practical prescriptions as to what that change should look like.
Perhaps the best thing about this book, however, is just how very personal it is. Reading this book feels a lot like having a conversation with Jim Wallis, right down to the de rigueur references to Little League.Read more ›
Evangelicals are often portrayed as a monolith in the media. Candidates are going after the "evangelical" vote in the primaries, which is synonymous with a conservative white voter, but Wallis and the organization he leads represents a different kind of evangelical and hope for a different, more progressive, conversation around race and faith in America.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It manifests 40 years of prophetic activism and the heart and mind of one who's dedicated his life to the least of these in the USA.Published 1 day ago by David L. Wetzell
Wallis is a true prophet for our times, taking the essence of the Christian message and making it relevant for today's issues. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Stephanie Georgieff
Book in pristine condition. Very satisfied. Thanks so much. Gwen Williamson I love it.Published 8 days ago by Gweneva Williamson
An altogether thorough look at racism, America's oldest sin. Jim Wallis does an amazing job of naming the problem, explaining how we got there, and outlining the way out of it to... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Pamela Poniatowski
Very personal and powerful - enjoyable to read, and I learned a lot in the process. Wallis' tone is challenging without being grating.Published 15 days ago by Bostonian Amazonian