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Don't have a Kindle? HarperOne; Annotated edition edition 29 August Language: Be the first to review this item Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Customer reviews There are no customer reviews yet. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Jim Wallis is a great example of how to be in and not if the world of politics. He is a prophetic voice in a world desperately in need of it. This is a really important read, especially in the time of President Trump, but it could use an update for relevancy.
Rather than talking about how George Bush professes his faith in a calculated and hypocritical way--as many on the left claim Bush does--Jim Wallis considered Bush's faith genuine but added that such a faith had little theological merit; Wallis continually referred to Bush's "bad theology" and quoted both Old and New Testament scripture at length--not in a selected way but fully in context--to show how much Bush's theology diverges from the central principles of the Bible and especially the Gospels. This struck a chord with me because I had effectively said the same things myself in private conversations with friends and family, although not nearly so eloquently.
Until I heard Wallis interviewed on Frontline, however, I felt almost alone. When I went to one of Wallis book signings, I related this story to him, and he emphatically signed my book "Mike, You are not alone! Jim Wallis" I labored through the book because the message is so important, but I admit the policy sections didn't flow very well, and, as other reviewers have pointed out, Wallis tends to repeat himself, so I only gave the book 4 stars.
Even if you don't want to read the book, I still strongly encourage you to see Wallis speak in person. He may not be a great writer, but he's an excellent public speaker, as one might expect from a preacher. In a one hour speech you'll learn the central message of his book and feel both inspired an entertained. I'll end with some of my favorite quotes from the book: He especially likes to shake this "hole-y" not Holy Bible in front of conservative theology students while repeating the quote.
Wallis is a politically-active pastor whose work emphasizes peace, social justice, and serving the poor. As a result, he's mostly on the Left in political debates. Clearly, the election annoyed him, associating religious values with the Right. This book is the result, and it's clearly stamped by the events of However, it did what I needed it to. I think I was already in a place where I was ready to hear a lot of what the author had to say, though.
First of all, this book suggests that people of faith should in no way feel obligated to give their unconditional support to either of the major political parties. That makes sense, especially since the number of independent voters is rising across the country. I think that many people are realizing that neither party really encompasses the whole of their political concerns, and I think that realization is important for Christians as well. The author instead proposes that religious people need to hold both Republicans and Democrats up to a higher moral standard and work and speak up for change where either of them falls short.
Second, this book suggests that a re-ordering of priorities is in order. This book certainly gave me a lot to think about. It also made me remember and be grateful for some of the positive things I know are going on. Mar 05, Matt Hartzell rated it liked it Recommends it for: This was a pretty meaty book to get through, and I don't think that has everything to do with an abundance of unique content.
This book probably could have been cut down a bit. That being said, I think I generally enjoyed the book and the challenges that Jim Wallis gives. I loved the call to a new kind of approach to politics, and it helped me to understand my own misgivings about the whole political process. At times, I feel negatively about American politics, and this book helped me to articula This was a pretty meaty book to get through, and I don't think that has everything to do with an abundance of unique content.
God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It by Jim Wallis
At times, I feel negatively about American politics, and this book helped me to articulate why. I gleaned a ton of quotes and points from the book that I hope will allow me to take another step towards developing my own political views, incorporating faith into those views, and also learning to deeply care about the things that God cares most about. On the other side, the book was not the balanced treatise that I expected.
A significant portion of the book was spent lambasting the Bush administration, and it seemed to spend quite a bit more time critiquing the conservative approach as opposed to the liberal approach. Since I read the book after Bush left office, I was hoping for less on specifics and more on guiding principles. At various times, I found myself questioning Wallis' logic and wondering if the alternative to his thinking might also have been valid. I wasn't exactly an exuberant supporter of the Bush administration myself, but I also don't think he was responsible for every problem in the country.
God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It
The book does shine, however, in the moments when Wallis spends less time on Bush and various conservative leaders, and more on overarching issues and principles like vision, social justice, personal morality, etc. Those bits are what I've latched onto. Feb 09, Jon rated it really liked it. Wallis makes a fantastic argument, though the book could be a bit more concise. I agree with his basic premise, that God isn't interested in selective morality, in choosing left or right in politics, that He's interested instead in all moral choices, from war and poverty to sexuality and abortion.
His stance is fresh and appealing, but I have just one complaint. He too frequently lampoons Republicans for being greedy money grubbers. Again, I agree with his words on how much God is concerned with Wallis makes a fantastic argument, though the book could be a bit more concise. Again, I agree with his words on how much God is concerned with poverty.
In fact, I think that God may care more about how we treat the poor than He cares about most, if not all, other political issues. Christ's ministry certainly hints to this. But Republicans aren't all money grubbers. Statistics from Arthur C. Brooks reveal that religious conservatives are much more likely to give to the poor than secular liberals. In addition, I think that many Republican policies, like the ones Giuliani implemented to help the poor in New York, are effective because they give the poor work, a gift better for them in almost all instances than money.
The biggest problem with God's Politics is that Wallis doesn't detail exactly how liberal programs help the poor more than the best conservative programs. If I knew that liberals really were giving more to the poor than conservatives do, I might join them. As it is, I wonder how liberals can be pleased to have elected a man like Biden, who gave 0. I've read many short articles by Jim Wallis but this is the first extended book of his that I have read. Overall I think that Wallis has a prophetic voice that the American Church needs to hear. After reading this book, I'm not convinced that the book format provides the best platform for him.
I felt he was at times repetitive and some of the chapters read like a compilation of shorter articles. But I may have felt this way because I was already familiar with some of his writing. Despite my rese I've read many short articles by Jim Wallis but this is the first extended book of his that I have read. Despite my reservations about the writing style, Wallis' message is still important and this book makes some very important arguments that all Americans need to hear.
He captures his main points under three headings: For those who don't want to tackle an entire book on the topic, Wallis writes regularly at www. Mar 26, Aldra rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Folks who can handle being challenged. Those who cling to their political ideologies and parties will find this book difficult, because it exposes the idiocy of both sides of the divide. From what I've noted among other critiques, folks have a hard time dealing with their particular tribe coming under the microscope and fail to see that both sides of the fence receive Wallis' sense of frustration.
It's not a "liberal" or "conservative" tome, despite the offended's insistence upon such. It is, however, an interesting read, albeit redu Those who cling to their political ideologies and parties will find this book difficult, because it exposes the idiocy of both sides of the divide. It is, however, an interesting read, albeit redundant at times. It could have easily been halved in length without sacrificing any content.
I certainly didn't agree with all of his points, but was grateful that he looked for common ground e. Wallis is an example of an Evangelical Christian that we rarely see in the public eye, which is refreshing. The approach he uses in finding middle ground and not bowing to the stereotypical knee-jerk response is equally refreshing. Dec 13, Jon rated it really liked it. Jesus called us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and be of service in other simple ways to 'the least of these'.
This was the essence of the greater part of his message to us and is central to us learning and showing that we love God as He loves us. This book, published after the election, throws cold water in the face of the meanness of the political right and the vacuousness of the political left with regard to how they treat religion in their campaigns. I think thi Jesus called us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and be of service in other simple ways to 'the least of these'. I think this book is an important grounding, not in religion, but in bringing us back to some of the essential points of Christianity and how God isn't on anybody's side in politics.
This book is eloquently against all those who would use Jesus' message to further their own agendas.
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Jul 12, Connie rated it really liked it. This is a refreshing outlook from a man who is a Christian in the truest sense of the word. It is unfortunate that the extreme right professing to be Christians aren't required to read this book. I have loaned this book to many people of ALL different religious persuasions including an atheist or two and all have come away with positive thoughts and a better understanding of today's moderate Christians as well as the extremists. This is a book that I will re-read every couple years. Jul 06, Melanie rated it did not like it. Admittedly, I didn't finish it.
I read about 4 chapters and couldn't take it anymore. It seemed like he was more interested in bashing conservatives and complaining about war than anything else. Jun 30, Tom rated it really liked it Shelves: I like Jim Wallis. I have liked him for some time. I have also wanted to read this book for some time as well, and I recently did just that. It was good…not incredibly great, but good.
Though one tends to see God more as a democrat in this book, I do believe he Wallis maintains his balance fairly well. Religion and religious discourse has been co-opted by the right in the political arena. If you are religious the I like Jim Wallis. If you are religious then the obligation is to vote republican because they are the ones who truly have concerns with values and morals.
And whether one is religious, spiritual, mainline, evangelical, atheist, non-religious, or anything in between…. And from here he launches into issues of justice, peace, reconciliation and also touching a lot of other issues. He is quite fond of MLK Jr. He is quite fond of going on and on about his opposition to the war which, hey, i have been opposed to how the current administration has handled this fiasco, but… but rant after rant gets a little old and tiresome.
It was an eye opening book and even better film but hearing him talk numerous times about how he lost the election in made me feel like shouting: Whether the government is choosing to do anything or not…. But the problem is to big for churches to handle by themselves. As Ron Sider has reminded us: We, as Christ-followers, can help a lot with the former but we need help from the government to start tackling the latter.
There are several excellent chapters in his book. And Part V is extremely valuable. It is the part entitled: Spiritual Values and Social Issues: He talks in one chapter about the issues of abortion and capital punishment. He comes from the perspective that I have been toying with and more or less falling into myself in the last few years, that of: How can we reduce the numbers and give women struggling with these huge decisions options that will be of greater value and benefit. A theme that he strikes again and again on is that - being opposed to a bad plan or idea is okay, but having an alternative is even better.
Why are women choosing this? What can we do to provide real, safe, affordable, beneficial alternatives? These questions actually require us to think and require something of us. His chapter on family issues was really good and engaging. To an area where God has clearly set up requirements for clergy who are functioning within the auspices of His church. Those who get married may or may not know what God desires from our relationships that will bring benefit to themselves and others, but those who choose to live and function within the community of faith know in a deeper and more full way what God wants from us and especially those in leadership.
I have said this poorly, but hopefully you understand where I am coming from. Maybe there is a better way to say this? I think his chapter called: Amos and Enron - What Scandalizes God is worth the price of the book alone. This is where some accuse people like Wallis of being a socialist and promoting socialism. But I think those criticisms miss the point. The biggest thought of the book, for me, was this. Frankly, this was me not to long ago. But Wallis sheds some light on this and brings me relief. He says that you can never vote for someone who has a consistent ethic of human life.
Republicans take, especially, one issue of life and promote it, while Democrats tend to take other life issues and platform those. Abortion is horrible, horrible, horrible. But so is killing people just to show we are against killing people. So is countless deaths in an unjust war. So is poverty that will kill 30, children today.
So is racism that hinders some from getting quality education or even hurts and harms physically or otherwise others. You vote one way you cast aside maybe not intentionally or wanting to some life issues, you vote another way you cast aside other life issues. For me, I got that it is okay to vote Democrat because they do care about life issues…. Overall, this was a good book. It did get a little long. And at times it got a little tiresome reading all the stuff that he had written for other things. He certainly is a prolific writer. And any person that can go on The Daily Show and intelligently interact with Jon Stewart gets a thumbs up.
I would recommend this book. Maybe borrowing it from the library, but reading it nonetheless. Feb 26, Eric rated it really liked it. God's Politics by Jim Wallis is just what the title suggests: It goes back through time and recalls how God has voted over the ages, speaks about the issues God has supported and even gone door-to-door canvassing for, and even documents God's ill-fated run for president in the election. Actually, it is just a conversation about how people of faith in the United States can engage in politics and policy making without selling their souls to the republicans or the democrats.
God's Politics starts by taking a look at how religious people across the spectrum have been engaging in politics over the last few decades. The author points out that the religious right has been narrowly focused on its favorite issues - homosexuality, abortion, etc.
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The author also criticized the religious right for wholly aligning itself with conservative politics regardless of whether the positions line up with a historical reading of the Bible. The left is not without guilt itself. Those who have taken it upon themselves to stand up for peace, racial reconciliation, etc. The author's intent, I believe, is not to reform the right or left. While he does give "advice" to each of the political parties to the republicans: The author envisions a time coming when most voters will not fall in line behind the two major parties, but will simply become "issues voters" over the pressing reforms the country needs to make.
The author spends a good part of his book taking a practical look at how to successfully engage in politics. One of the most impacting lessons he puts forth is the importance to have alternatives to the status quo. For example, when the country is gearing up for war, it is not enough to simply hold a sign that states you are against the war. To make a real difference it is necessary to put forth plans that take, for example, the threat of terrorism seriously and provide a feasible alternative to war as a solution to the problem.
In the case of abortion, it is not enough to simply put a bumper sticker on your car. Instead, look at the situation as a whole, find out what is causing abortions, help people understand alternatives, and don't be afraid to work with people who disagree with you to achieve the common goal of reducing abortions.
Most of the book is devoted to taking a look at how Scriptures and faith can help decipher three major modern issues: The author spends a lot of time looking at the recent war in Iraq.
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The book was published in , so it is already out of date. He shows an example of his "alternatives" strategy by presenting how he and several other church leaders met with political leaders leading up the the Iraq war with a clear message that the war was unjust and providing feasible alternatives to deal with the threat of possible weapons of mass destruction and the threat of terrorism.
He spends time discussing the difference between pacifists and just war theorists, and, of course, how they can work together toward their common goal of reducing violent warfare. He also discusses the vision of several Old Testament prophets who believed that if people lived in a society that treated economics and justice in a fair manner then there would be no more war.
He laid out the long distance between that vision and where we are now, and incorporated several steps we may take toward providing justice. In the area of poverty, the author called out the improper response of the right to blame the poor for their problems and the left's abandoning of the poor to court the middle class. He reminds us that the Bible has a lot to say about poverty, especially that God seems to desire preferential treatment of the poor. We are then shown the gross disparities between the rich and poor in our country and in the world.
Even the disparities between the wealthy and the middle class are grotesque. Though this book was written before the recession of , it is quite timely when it provides commentary on how our politics enables the rich to continue to gain wealth and not deal with the consequences of their bad decisions. In the "moral issues" arena, the author asks "When did Jesus become a selective moralist?
And of course he challenges those who are anti-death penalty to apply that to abortion as well, in what he calls a "consistent ethic of life. I think "original sin" may be the most accurate way to describe racism in America. Finally the author tackles "family values" and encourages those on the left to not be so scared of promoting healthy family lives, as the benefits of strong families are enormous and proven.
Reading God's Politics was overall quite encouraging.
It was, of course, quite predictable, but it is nice to have some confirmation of your beliefs after spending so much time listening to politicians in the news. It is easy to forget that not everyone is a republican or a democrat, and that not everyone who calls themselves as such subscribes completely to their party's platform. And it is refreshing to have a reminder that, as the bumper sticker says, God is not a republican or a democrat.
This review originally appeared on my blog: Feb 09, Malcolm Frawley rated it liked it.
I have long been mystified by the apparently un-Christian actions of supposedly devout Christians like George W. Bush in the U. Bush drove his country into 2 enormously expensive wars that he ultimately could never pay for because he simultaneously rewarded the wealthy with enormous tax cuts. Jan 12, Justin Tapp rated it did not like it Shelves: Someone had brought Jim Wallis to my attention before I read this book, but I didn't remember. You can Google him yourself to find out his historical support for problematic causes.
Nor was I familiar with Sojourners. I'd like to think this gave me an objective stance in reading this book. I find Wallis to be a Leftish version of what he criticizes on the Right -- someone who wants to impose his interpretation of Scripture on everyone else in America. Wallis criticizes the evangelical church fo Someone had brought Jim Wallis to my attention before I read this book, but I didn't remember. Wallis criticizes the evangelical church for forgetting Jesus' words about providing for the poor and making peace.
But rather than focus on changing the American church, Wallis devotes his attention to changing American government. He attacks the Pat Robertsons and G. Bushes of the Right for confusing the American Church with America the nation, but doesn't see that he does the exact same thing by calling for government policies to essentially replace and emulate the church's traditional role of supporting family, peace, and helping the poor. Wallis argues that faith-based non-profits can't do their jobs unless better funded by taxpayers. The shortcoming of Bush's Faith-Based Initiative was its lack of taxpayer funding.
Rather than focus on increasing the voluntary giving of American Christians, Wallis wants to increase the forced redistribution from all Americans to non-profits through taxes. Wallis doesn't argue from a historical theological or philosophical perspective. Abraham Lincoln is about the oldest source as he draws from. Martin Luther King is held up as an ideal at least a dozen times because "He held his Constitution in one hand and his Bible in the other," we are told at least three times.
Wallis rather annoyingly repeats his talking points over and again, making many pages superfluous. Wallis argues that the government should keep policies in line with what the majority of Christian denominations put out official stances on. The Iraq war was immoral because every denomination except Southern Baptists spoke out against it. Budgets are "moral documents," and all legislation should follow the prescription of the ecumenical Church-- increased taxes on the wealthy, increased transfers to the poor, higher minimum wage laws, "fair trade" instead of "free trade," funding "real education," debt forgiveness to poor countries, more environmental regulations, and a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, etc.
Not as much ink is given to why those causes are correct scripturally or what the historical stances of the Church has been. Jim Wallis agrees with it, therefore it's right. He accuses the Religious Right of "prooftexting," twisting Scripture out of context to support their ideals.
But Wallis engages in his own prooftexting. For example, he uses quotes from prophets like Micah to argue for debt relief for poor countries. But in the very next chapter in dealing with capital punishment, which Wallis opposes as immoral, he ignores that the same prophets both advocated and carried out capital punishment as God's will. I'm not saying we should interpret OT Israel as prescriptive for today, just pointing out that Wallis wants to use some prescriptions for today while ignoring others-- prooftexting. Any trade agreement that includes restrictions shouldn't be called or understood as "free trade.
But Wallis doesn't point this out. Probably because it would be heavily opposed by the trade unions Wallis ironically supports as many American workers in those formerly protected industries would eventually lose their jobs. Wallis wants to have it both ways. There are some really vague prescriptions, like promoting "real education. Wallis never says, just decries the American government for not supporting it better.
On trade and labor economics, Wallis seems really ignorant of the data. He prescribes raising the minimum wage as a poverty-reduction strategy without pointing out that most minimum wage workers aren't trying to support a family on it, a large number are teenagers and college students who are still dependents on their fairly well-off parents. How high should minimum wage be? Wallis doesn't think about it. Wallis spends much of the book arguing for Jubilee-style income redistribution and decrying how the highest-income Americans have seen incomes rise much higher and faster than everyone else.
But rather than encouraging Christians to give more and spend less, or to be more conscientious of what products they are buying and lifestyles they are supporting, he simply advocates for government to tackle the problem. Wallis' shallow thinking shows up disappointingly in one of the final chapters, where he talks of his love for the NBA. Because we need "fun and diversions. I give this book 1 star out of 5.
I was hoping for M. Douglas Meeks and got the Left's version of Jerry Falwell. I'm not sure who is more dangerous to have advising a President. Jul 08, Daniel Hendon rated it it was amazing. Wallis doesn't pull any punches. He calls sin sin and he refuses to bow to the idols of Democrats and Republicans. Due to the timing of this publication, Wallis focuses a lot on the particular policies of the George W.
This book leans left of center in a good way.
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I didn't agree with everything he said, but this is a solid and provocative read. I hope that it challenges us all to follow Jesus in both words and actions. Jan 18, David Sarkies rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Understanding God in a Democratic World 18 January I first heard about this book when I was with one of my lady friends watching late night television the sort that you don't actually watch, but rather have on in the background while you talk about absolutely nothing in particular and are drinking some form of alcoholic beverage.
Anyway, this friend of mine particularly hated Christians with the exception of me, because she thought that I actually gave Christianity a good name, or at leas Understanding God in a Democratic World 18 January I first heard about this book when I was with one of my lady friends watching late night television the sort that you don't actually watch, but rather have on in the background while you talk about absolutely nothing in particular and are drinking some form of alcoholic beverage.
Anyway, this friend of mine particularly hated Christians with the exception of me, because she thought that I actually gave Christianity a good name, or at least until we had a falling out, and then I became like all the other Christians out there and as we listened to Jim Wallis advertise his book, she simply thought that he was reciting tired old dogma, where as to me he was beginning to take a new position on Christianity.
Anyway, when I did read the book what struck me the most was not so much about which political party is the most Christian, or which party Christians should vote for, but how God's politics is actually above and separated from the politics of both Republicans and Democracts or for Australians the Liberals and Labor.
As the subtitle of his book says: This is what I think is essential when we understand how we as Christians should interact with the political world: It is a shame that in many cases we have Christians drifting towards either party, and playing the political game of brinkmanship, and even using politics as a way to put down and harass their brother's in Christ.
We must remember that when the Emperor Theodosius attempted to muscle his way into the communion service during the later Roman Empire the priest pretty much drew a line and made it clear that the political sphere was not to trespass into the spiritual realm, meaning that politicians were not to use the church or Christianity to forward their own political agendas.
Mind you, I don't necessarily agree with everything that Wallis says, particularly with his position on homosexuality. Now, that does not mean that we should be locking homosexuals up, or even persecuting them, but also we should not be compromising ourselves in relation to rewriting the bible in relation to that practice.
While it is not my position to judge homosexuals that is God's position and I am not God if a church has made a stance where they will not allow homosexual priests, or refuse to participate in homosexual marriages, then we should not force them otherwise.