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The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America Hardcover – January 22, 2008

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The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America + God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It + On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060558296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060558291
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,429,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First, the good news: according to Wallis, founder of Sojourners and author of the bestseller God's Politics, the era of the religious right is over, and a new crop of under-30 progressives may well be taking American religion—and American politics—by storm. The bad news: people of faith need to get to work to further this grassroots support for social justice. Wallis draws on lively stories from his speaking engagements and world travels to discuss how the silent majority of religious Americans who don't feel represented by the religious right's agenda can first take comfort in their sheer numbers and then take action in their communities to fight poverty, clean up the environment and eradicate disease. The book is as passionate, engaging and emotionally moving as readers have come to expect from Wallis, who comes across as a Rauschenbuschian teddy bear, alternately stumping for justice and proclaiming God's love. As a cohesive book, however, this has a rough and clunky sensibility, with considerable repetition of ideas, examples and even phrasing. It has the feel of discrete essays and speeches that have been knocked together and too lightly edited. Still, fans of God's Politics who are eager to learn of the next step will find compelling ideas and stories. (Jan. 22)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


The book is as passionate, engaging, and emotionally moving as readers have come to expect from Wallis. (Publishers Weekly)

Laden with anecdotes, Wallis’ book claims a groundswell of progressive believers could accomplish social transformation that mere politics cannot deliver. (USA Today)

Offers insight into religious activism and the possibilities for a more progressive approach to religious engagement in the public square (In These Times)

This call to arms is approachable and inspiring . . . Wallis’s analysis of the role of faith, especially Christian faith, in embracing progressive ‘common good’ politics is highly astute and, overall, very compelling. (Library Journal)

“This is a must-read for anyone concerned about the staggering problems that America faces today. Before you vote, read THE GREAT AWAKENING.” (

...a timely, powerful, persuasive book which richly deserves a wide hearing.... (Christian Ethics Today)

More About the Author

Jim Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, preacher, and international commentator on religion, public life, faith, and politics. He is president and CEO of Sojourners, where he is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine. He regularly appears on radio and television, including shows like Meet the Press, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the O'Reilly Factor, and is a frequent guest on the news programs of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and National Public Radio. He has taught at Harvard's Divinity School and Kennedy School of Government on Faith, Politics, and Society. He has written eight books, including: Faith Works, The Soul of Politics, Who Speaks for God? and The Call to Conversion.

Customer Reviews

He is extracting from the Bible what is essentially a good message.
In this book, Jim Wallis reminds us of government's role to promote the common good of the many, not just of the few.
Andrew Vanover
Jim Wallis' new book, The Great Awakening, is inspiring, thought-provoking and well-written.
Carolyn S. Lucas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 126 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill VINE VOICE on January 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For too long Jim Wallis has been a sort of preacher in the wilderness, calling people of faith to reengage in the public square, not as members of a particular partisan party, but instead to serve as messengers and workers on behalf of our fellow human beings. While it may be too early to say that Mr. Wallis is being at last heard, there are some early indications.

With this book "The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith in a post-Religious Right America" Mr. Wallis reminds readers that, while religion has been all over the map in conflicts since the beginning of history, it has also provided the vanguard in the great ethical crusades of our nation's past. From Abolition, to Worker's Rights, to Civil Rights, people of faith marched and preached, and agitated. Listening to many of those who imagine themselves as "religious leaders" of the current time, one might think that Moses descended Sinai with Tablets demanding reduced corporate regulation and Jesus on the Cross opined over the need to reduce the capital gains rate. Yet these individuals and their ability to crowd out other people of faith remain aberrant.

Wallis writes eloquently about those common principles which bind all faiths: caring for the weak and the poor, protecting human dignity, reminding everyone of our common value. Perhaps, if Wallis is correct, there is a great awakening bubbling up in America; if that is the case, one can only hope that a better, healthier nation will arise, a thing for which all people of faith can pray.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Moss on January 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Political Junkie's" statement is unsubstantiated, namely that Jim Wallis is indifferent to the concerns of those who identify themselves as 'pro-life'. If he or she should have actually read Wallis' book, they would have discovered that Wallis unashamedly declares that "from a moral and religious standpoint, I believe that abortion is wrong, almost always indefensible." He takes a more balanced approach to this issue, by saying that although he has a strong bias toward ensuring every conceivable protection be provided the unborn, he doesn't want to see abortion criminalized as to thrust women into the dangerous and deleterious situation of back-alley, do-it-yourself abortions, either. He's trying to widen the dialogue that people like "Political Junkie" insist on choking. I have been very inspired by Mr. Wallis' even-handed treatment of many of the topics found in his book, and am surprised that he puts many of my own thoughts to paper, as though he lifted them away from me in my sleep or something. He seeks balance and compromise among conflicting parties and ideologies without sacrificing his strong sense of Biblical morality. His whole notion of a "conservative radical" is exactly what I have been trying to articulate myself as being to others, and Mr. Wallis has coined a useful term. His profuse quotations of John Howard Yoder, Jacques Ellul and others, whom I enjoy very much, reassures me that my Christian-political views are not fringe, but gaining ascendancy in the mainstream as evangelicals search for meaningful alternatives to the polarized debate on religion that has occurring throughout the last twenty years.

Congratulations: this is your best book yet, Jim.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on February 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In the dramatic lead-up to the 2008 presidential election, author Jim Wallis believes that Americans are poised on the edge of a spiritual revival --- what he calls "The Great Awakening" --- that could bring about justice in critical areas such as poverty, the environment and the affirmation of the dignity and sacredness of life.

God, Wallis contends, is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Rather, religion calls us to moral accountability, and we must work together to achieve justice. There is a leveling of the "praying field," he (and The New York Times) says, between both parties on religion and moral values. The left is beginning to "get it" --- remembering its own religious history and recovering the language of faith. Although "politics is still broken," people of faith can work within the political system to effect change to seemingly unsolvable issues.

Wallis, a self-proclaimed "progressive evangelical," says that the evangelical social agenda is now much broader and deeper, and includes issues such as poverty and the ethics of war. He is careful to say that the shift from the Religious Right among evangelicals is not necessarily a shift to the left: "In fact, it is the typical right-left divide on almost every political issue that makes them weary." Evangelicals are looking for a new agenda that is more consistent with their deeply-held values. And younger voters are replacing the Religious Right with Jesus.

Catchy, isn't it? Wallis delivers page after page of rhetoric, exhorting the faithful to get on board with social justice. He is extremely persuasive, and his passion and conviction is contagious. He likes to drive his points home, and if that means telling the reader three or five or seven times the same thing, then so be it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Arthwollipot on February 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book was not written for me. It was written for American Christians, and since I am neither an American nor a Christian, I found it a little difficult at times to slog through. However, the book has a message. It is a good message, and it is an important one. I recommend it to all Christians who believe that their faith can and should influence their politics.

Jim Wallis is an evangelical Christian preacher. His previous book was "God's Politics: Why the Right gets it wrong and the Left doesn't get it". The central message of the book is that religion should not be partisan. Religion is beyond left and right. Religion should affect the way people behave and make policy regardless of political views.

Personally I don't like his thesis that social change can come only through religion. I don't think that this is true. The influence that authors like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have had through their books shows that one can be socially active without a religious base for one's politics.

When I saw Wallace interviewed on The Daily Show, I was surprised and pleased that he acknowledged the existence of the nonreligious, which by some accounts makes up 14% of the population of the United States. I read this book expecting to find a little more exploration of the role of seculars in American society. Only a little - I didn't expect much - but I did expect some. Alas, I was disappointed. His acknowledgement of the nonreligious was confined to a total of two sentences. One near the beginning and one near the end.

I also thought that he was guilty of cherry-picking and selectivism. I'll give you an example to show what I mean.

The book quotes extensively from the Bible - as one would expect - and especially from the various epistles of Paul.
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