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On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good Hardcover – April 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 Everyone claims God is on their side. But who is on God's side?


New York Times best-selling author Jim Wallis thinks our life together can be better. In this timely and provocative book, he shows us how to reclaim Jesus's 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. "There are few people on the scene who can put together mature Christianity with mature politics without compromising either. Jim Wallis does it best--and does it again here."
--Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico

"No one cuts through the confusion of our times with clarity and compassion like Jim Wallis. He is at his best in this book--bridging a cosmic vision of what humankind could be with a concrete plan for how we get there."
--Eboo Patel, founder and president, Interfaith Youth Core; author of Sacred Ground

"This sweeping tour de force by America's most prominent religious social justice activist is at once deeply personal and powerfully universal. A must-read book for policy makers, religious leaders, and anyone looking for a moral basis to address America's urgent problems."
--Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

"Jim Wallis is asking a question whose time has come. Are we pursuing a national agenda that seeks the common good or are we seeking to baptize our political agendas with faith? Leaders both religious and political must take Wallis's challenge seriously when pondering the future of our life together."
--Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition


 Finding Common Ground for the Common Good


"Personal/political, religion/politics, faith/power, ideology/pragmatism . . . Jim Wallis is a wrestler of values, ideas, and policies and how they interact to shape the world we live in. His deep, melodious voice is easy to listen to, but what he says takes a harder commitment to live by."
--Bono, lead singer of U2; cofounder of ONE.org

"Jim Wallis and I have a variety of differences on domestic and international policy, but there is no message more timely or urgent than his call to actively consider the common good."
--Michael Gerson, op-ed columnist, The Washington Post

"I love the work and books and existence of Jim Wallis. His is a profound and always-entertaining voice of reason, reconciliation, and passion for social justice and peace. Each of his books makes me wish I could get it into the hands of more politicians, right-wing Christians, left-wing Christians, secular humanists, economists, and regular people--everyone--so we could see how much we have in common and how much is at stake."
--Anne Lamott, author of Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

"This is the finest of all Jim Wallis's writings. Jim's comprehension of how Scripture and political issues relate to each other is surpassed only by the number of bridges he builds so that we can all solve problems together. Reading this book will help you be more like Jesus, especially in the public square."
--Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor, Northland--A Church Distributed

"I have read all of Jim Wallis's books, books that call evangelicals to full conversion and an ecclesial faith that works. On God's Side is Jim's best book; it is personal, pastoral, and prophetic--a summons to a deeper conversion, to bridge-building commitments to the common good, and to a family life that grounds active faith in a common, caring community."
--Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary

"Jim Wallis is this country's major prophetic evangelical Christian voice. He has a sense of urgency and hope seldom seen in our cynical time. I hope and pray his voice resounds across this land--and that we pay heed to it."
--Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary

From the Inside Flap

Everyone claims God is on their side. But who is on God's side?

New York Times best-selling author Jim Wallis thinks our life together can be better. In this timely and provocative book, he shows us how to reclaim Jesus's 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.

"There are few people on the scene who can put together mature Christianity with mature politics without compromising either. Jim Wallis does it best--and does it again here."
--Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico

"No one cuts through the confusion of our times with clarity and compassion like Jim Wallis. He is at his best in this book--bridging a cosmic vision of what humankind could be with a concrete plan for how we get there."
--Eboo Patel, founder and president, Interfaith Youth Core; author of Sacred Ground

"This sweeping tour de force by America's most prominent religious social justice activist is at once deeply personal and powerfully universal. A must-read book for policy makers, religious leaders, and anyone looking for a moral basis to address America's urgent problems."
--Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

"Jim Wallis is asking a question whose time has come. Are we pursuing a national agenda that seeks the common good or are we seeking to baptize our political agendas with faith? Leaders both religious and political must take Wallis's challenge seriously when pondering the future of our life together."
--Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

See all Editorial Reviews
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press; 1.2.2013 edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587433370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587433375
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Greg Smith (aka sowhatfaith) on May 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
People are increasingly frustrated by partisan politics and fragmented approaches to the faith that seek to offer paths to success that make life better and bring wholeness to only certain groups of people (who often look just like the people pushing for their vision of the future). On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good is the rare book capable of calling for real reform in the realms of politics and religion by leveraging the strengths of the right and left while frankly naming and challenging the exclusivistic and consumeristic claims of each. The future of American democracy, Wallis argues, isn't partisan; it is in the redemption of a democracy that restores a deeper and more engaged understanding of citizenship working toward the idea of the common good.

Wallis, an Evangelical Christian prophet, calls upon Christians to leave behind their primary identity as that which comes from fragmented denominations and associations along with the divisive uniquenesses of such to be a part of greater unity envisioned by Jesus. Rather than being on the religious right or religious left, Christians should seek to be on God's side. The role of a more united Christian religion is not to mandate its morality on the nation but rather to "challenge politics and hold the public square morally accountable" recognizing no one religion offers the right morality (p.18).

Wallis clearly loves his country and seeks to live out his faith. His approach blends the best of the conservative political philosophy with the best of liberal political philosophy by uniting personal responsibility and social responsibility. Rather than offering a detailed map leading to the common good, he delivers a more helpful tool designed to spark conversation and action.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying I am a rogue Christian. I have a strong and profound belief system structured in the teachings of Christianity. However like so many of my generation I have gone Rogue. No current organized religion or "church" structure that I have been able to find practices what I believe the core precepts of my religion to actually be. Throughout my life I have done my own investigation and research into other religions and "ways of life" from Buddhism to Wicca and have found that the core concepts of all of them are generally in agreement with each other. It is not the faith that is questionable it is a human error in the interpretation and implementation of that faith that is driving so many, like me, away.

The generation after mine is even more lacking in guidance through their faith due to an inability of the existing organizations to provide them guidance they can understand, accept, and respect.

The constantly growing trend in world politics of religious parties to claim "God is on our side" to create divisiveness, strife, and dissent is frightening and disheartening to me.

Recently I have been reading a fabulous book by Jim Wallis titled "On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good"

I encourage everyone, regardless of faith affiliation, to read this book, not for the religious message it has to send, but for the societal message it has to send urging us to use our faith to transcend ourselves and focus on the "common good" of everyone. A concept that the great United States of America was founded on but that we have drifted away from through the last 60 years or so.

I wish I could afford to have a copy of it sent to every sitting member of our congress.
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50 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Dubious Disciple on March 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Has Christianity been derailed from serving the common good to mandating bipartisan stances? If Christian principles mean standing up for God, then in the myriad of complex political issues--from same-sex marriage to immigration reform--how do we know which side to take? Which side is God's side?

Wallis asserts we can find God on the side of compassion. The common good. Throw out your gospels of self-help, personal enhancement, prosperity, and parochial nationalism, and instead look to the story of the Good Samaritan. Until Christianity returns to a "neighbor ethic," it will not recover its credibility. To this end, Wallis writes a "biblical and theological defense of the common good." Wallis is neither liberal nor conservative, and calls for both factions to meet in the middle.

I do confess, the title of the book gives me pause. A call to be "on God's side," as if the author speaks for God, evokes in my mind an image of a holy war. And to some extent, it is; Wallis sees this as war against a broken political system.

On that note, I would have preferred that the book was broken in two ... one book about church, and another about state. But Wallis doesn't separate the two. Says he, "If worth and equality are values derived from the belief that human beings are made in the image of God, then respecting both should be a primary task of democratic political systems." He describes how in June of 2012 nearly 150 evangelical leaders banded together and signed the "Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform." Sojourners stood side by side in Washington D.C. with the Southern Baptists and Focus on the Family to draw attention to the plight of millions who have been caught up in our broken immigration system.
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