Jim Wallis is the theological equivalent of a jackalope. He's an evangelical protestant with a strong streak of sympathy for works righteousness. As he explains in Faith Works: Lessons from the Life of an Activist Preacher
, "in the Bible, faith is not something you possess but rather something you practice. You have to put it into action or it really doesn't mean anything. Faith changes things. It's the energy of transformation, both for individuals and for a society." For decades, Wallis has channeled the boundless energy of his faith into religious activism. He may be best known as the editor of Sojourners
magazine and a founder of Call to Renewal, an evangelical ministry to the poor. Faith Works
is a genre-busting book that includes elements of memoir, self-help, sociology, politics, and theology. Each of its 15 chapters conveys a spiritual lesson designed to compel readers to put their faith into action and make a difference in their communities. Here are the first three lessons, which will give you some idea of the respectful, humorous, and demanding tones that sound throughout this book: "Trust your questions," "Get out of the house more often," and "Use your gift."
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From Publishers Weekly
Wallis has correctly surmised that people long for an alternative to the blame-placing, cynicism-producing and often hate-filled debate between the Left and the Right about social issues. In this engaging and timely collection of sermonlike essays, Wallis, the pastor who founded Sojourners Magazine and the Sojourners community in Washington, D.C., tells story after story of people living out just such an alternative, and in doing so, shows that meaningful activism is possible, palatable, soul-healing and even fun. Arguing that the health of a society can be measured by the way it treats the poor, he chides conservatives and liberals alike for their failures in this area but also affirms their strengths and challenges them to work together toward values both groups share, such as child welfare. Wallis validates the most sensible ideas of liberals and conservatives, in the church and in politics. While he never shies away from harsh truths about the widening wage gap in the U.S., devastating poverty in the developing world and our wealth-obsessed culture's apathetic response, Wallis ultimately inspires as much hope as he does outrage. Hope, in fact, is a theme in this book, which sets it apart from the angry bulk of anti-poverty literature. Wallis sees this hope as a gift from God; he believes that one must have a spiritual well to drink from in order to maintain hope. His book is a welcome primer for any aspiring activist, regardless of spiritual inclination. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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