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"My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side."--Abraham Lincoln Lincoln led America through one of the most tumultuous times in our nation's history. Reading his words today, it is clear we still have much to learn concerning what it means to be on God's side. Bestselling author, public theologian, and leading Christian activist "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side."--Abraham Lincoln Lincoln led America through one of the most tumultuous times in our nation's history. Reading his words today, it is clear we still have much to learn concerning what it means to be on God's side. Bestselling author, public theologian, and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis speaks directly into our current context, revealing the spiritual compass we need to effect lasting change in our society. He explains how the good news of Jesus transforms not only our individual lives but also our public lives. Jesus's gospel of the kingdom of God helps us recover a personal and social commitment to the common good and shows us--in concrete ways--how to be both personally responsible and socially just. Working together, we can reshape our churches, society, politics, and economy. Releasing in the wake of the 2012 election cycle, this book seeks to move beyond the current media and political warfare and bring together a divided country. Wallis explores how Jesus's agenda can serve the common good, what it takes to sustain a lifelong commitment to social justice, and how reading the Bible as well as the culture can shape our lives for genuine transformation.


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"My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side."--Abraham Lincoln Lincoln led America through one of the most tumultuous times in our nation's history. Reading his words today, it is clear we still have much to learn concerning what it means to be on God's side. Bestselling author, public theologian, and leading Christian activist "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side."--Abraham Lincoln Lincoln led America through one of the most tumultuous times in our nation's history. Reading his words today, it is clear we still have much to learn concerning what it means to be on God's side. Bestselling author, public theologian, and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis speaks directly into our current context, revealing the spiritual compass we need to effect lasting change in our society. He explains how the good news of Jesus transforms not only our individual lives but also our public lives. Jesus's gospel of the kingdom of God helps us recover a personal and social commitment to the common good and shows us--in concrete ways--how to be both personally responsible and socially just. Working together, we can reshape our churches, society, politics, and economy. Releasing in the wake of the 2012 election cycle, this book seeks to move beyond the current media and political warfare and bring together a divided country. Wallis explores how Jesus's agenda can serve the common good, what it takes to sustain a lifelong commitment to social justice, and how reading the Bible as well as the culture can shape our lives for genuine transformation.

30 review for On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I read this book with my bible study/book study group and so had the pleasure of discussing each chapter. Wallis is liberal and progressive. A Christian, he takes a good hard look at Christianity in American politics today and largely doesn't like what he sees. While he tries to give equal support and critique to conservatives and liberals, he clearly sides with the latter. I do too, so that wasn't a problem for me. His message is this: Christianity requires more than looking out for ourselves. I read this book with my bible study/book study group and so had the pleasure of discussing each chapter. Wallis is liberal and progressive. A Christian, he takes a good hard look at Christianity in American politics today and largely doesn't like what he sees. While he tries to give equal support and critique to conservatives and liberals, he clearly sides with the latter. I do too, so that wasn't a problem for me. His message is this: Christianity requires more than looking out for ourselves. We must help our neighbors -- both literal and global neighbors -- and ensure justice for all. That means paying attention to the distribution of wealth and intervening to ensure a fair shot for most if not all. He also preaches a personal responsibility to safeguard our children, our families, and our communities. I would have liked to have sensed more humility from Wallis, but overall, I give this book a high rating. Wallis' goal is to challenge readers to think critically, to sacrifice, and to work for the common good. I noticed while reading it that I thought about daily life much differently. The news felt different to me. What I know about banking crisis felt VERY different to me. I think I'll carry his ideas with me for a long time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lee Harmon

    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 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. These issues were seen as “fundamental moral issues and biblical imperatives.” The president listened and acted. Mission accomplished. Problem is, I’m not sure Wallis grasps that our democratic system will be no less broken if it caves under the weight of organized religion. Nevertheless, if you are able to separate church and state in your mind as you read– learning about seeking the common good according to the example of Jesus, and learning also of our needed political reform–then you will find thought-provoking conversation on both fronts. Before you read the book you might want to read Matthew 25:31-46.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Another great book by Jim Wallis. I don't want to say that this book is "rehashed" material, b/c that would not be quite fair. However, if you have read Jim Wallis' other books (and read them with an open mind) you will see that this is the type of thing he has been saying and writing about for years and years. He just is a lot more "pastoral and personal" in this book and steers clear of a lot of overtly political ideology. His only goal is for us to understand that as Christians, and as a soci Another great book by Jim Wallis. I don't want to say that this book is "rehashed" material, b/c that would not be quite fair. However, if you have read Jim Wallis' other books (and read them with an open mind) you will see that this is the type of thing he has been saying and writing about for years and years. He just is a lot more "pastoral and personal" in this book and steers clear of a lot of overtly political ideology. His only goal is for us to understand that as Christians, and as a society, we need to be working towards the common good. If we forget this, then as a society we truly are heading down the wrong path. And once again, Mr. Wallis, tells us that both sides have forgotten this and as Christ-followers it is up to us to be the "prophetic" voice calling our elected officials to accountability and to the "common good".

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Raley

    I really appreciate Jim Wallis and the work of Sojourners, so I eagerly anticipated this book. I even pre-ordered it so I would get a chance to read it before being bombarded by magazine and blog excerpts! A lot of the content of the book will be familiar to readers of Sojourners' various outlets. As with much of the content in Wallis' previous books, many articles and blog posts get repurposed into the book, or vice versa. The book's greatest strength is in Part 1, which examines the Biblical, th I really appreciate Jim Wallis and the work of Sojourners, so I eagerly anticipated this book. I even pre-ordered it so I would get a chance to read it before being bombarded by magazine and blog excerpts! A lot of the content of the book will be familiar to readers of Sojourners' various outlets. As with much of the content in Wallis' previous books, many articles and blog posts get repurposed into the book, or vice versa. The book's greatest strength is in Part 1, which examines the Biblical, theological, and ethical underpinnings of the concept of the common good. It also explores critiques of theologies that cause an individualist or consumerist mentality. This is a well-researched, well-explained case for Jesus followers to focus on the common good. Part 2 is somehow less inspiring. It's filled with heartwarming stories and suggestions on how to live a more community-focused life, but it somehow fails to inspire direct action. The most disappointing aspect of the book is when it talks about the current partisan tone in Washington. While I understand that Wallis hasn't set out to criticize specific groups, and that he's trying to write a book that will stand the test of time, it feels as though his overgeneralized critiques of politicians' inability to work together created a sense of false equivalence - implying that all politicians are equally contributing to the gridlock and lack of attentiveness to the common good. While offering the "best idea" from each political tradition, Wallis fails to point out that one side of the partisan divide is doing far more to damage the common good than the other side. The lack of recognition of this partisan imbalance in the book makes it seem less rooted in the real world. In any case, though, I would recommend this book. It's a good reminder of the Biblical roots of the concept of the common good, and an exploration of how it plays out in real life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Malin Friess

    Jim Wallis and I would likely disagree politically on a variety of issues (immigration, minimum wage, foreign policy, tax policy, size of government, social welfare programs, american exceptionalism). But he cares for the Christian Faith, our nation, and genuninely seeks as Abraham Lincoln wrote during the Civil War..."My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concenr is to be on God's side. Wallis does an excellent job reminding me of the highlights of the Biblical Narative - The Jim Wallis and I would likely disagree politically on a variety of issues (immigration, minimum wage, foreign policy, tax policy, size of government, social welfare programs, american exceptionalism). But he cares for the Christian Faith, our nation, and genuninely seeks as Abraham Lincoln wrote during the Civil War..."My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concenr is to be on God's side. Wallis does an excellent job reminding me of the highlights of the Biblical Narative - The Good Samaritan, Sermon on the Mount, What you have done for the least of these--you have done for me, The Greatest and Second Greatest Commandment (Love God and Love your Neighbor as yourself). Through these Biblical ethical teachings Wallis weaves issues of politics, faith, theology, social justice, charity, etc. Wallis makes a lot of good points. The best conservative idea is personal responsibility. The best big liberal idea is social responsibility. Wallis praises conservative churches to continue upholding "Jesus is the only Saviour, the lamb that was slain for our sins, the sacrifice necessary fo rour atonement, the figure whose propitiation opens our way to heaven"...but don't forget about Jesus parables, bringing in the Kingdom of God, the Beatitudes--behaviours that should be reflected in Christians here and now. Wallis praises liberal mainline churches for championing Social Gospel (highlighting peace, poverty, race, war), but warns these churches appropriately on Easter Sunday when the pastor says "He is risen" - and the congregation replies "He is risen Indeed." Do the parishoneers really believe it? 5 stars. Conservatives will smart and bite their tongue occassionally as Wallis may stretch the biblical text to support political positions he favors. Liberals will find little they disagree with.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Louise Hassell

    A must read book for anyone who is concerned about the American political system today. The author is an Evangelical minister which caused me initially to have some pre-conceived notions that turned out to be quite wrong. Whatever side of the political aisle you belong on you need to read this book. Thought-provoking!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carol R.

    Possibly I bought this book when it was released just after the 2012 election cycle, or maybe I picked it up used more recently. In any case, I didn't read it until now, after the horrific 2016 election cycle. Wallis expressed a small optimism that things were changing, that people of faith and no faith had realized after the 2012 elections that they needed to work together for the common good. Obviously, his optimism did not pan out as our current political environment makes crystal clear. But Possibly I bought this book when it was released just after the 2012 election cycle, or maybe I picked it up used more recently. In any case, I didn't read it until now, after the horrific 2016 election cycle. Wallis expressed a small optimism that things were changing, that people of faith and no faith had realized after the 2012 elections that they needed to work together for the common good. Obviously, his optimism did not pan out as our current political environment makes crystal clear. But that makes the call of this book all the more important—the need to commit ourselves to serving the common good as citizens of America and as citizens of the kingdom of God. We are called to serve and Wallis explains why and how and encourages us to choose to make a difference by committing to serve others rather than live for ourselves.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    A lot to take in. It took me longer to read than I expected because I kept having to put it down after each chapter, walk away from it for awhile, and just ingest what I'd read. Hard to believe this was written in 2013; it is even more applicable now. Favorite quotes: "As we move into a post-Christian world, churches can be free to live a faithful gospel lifestyle that does not require majority acceptance. And that is a great freedom indeed." "Jesus's followers in the United States are called to A lot to take in. It took me longer to read than I expected because I kept having to put it down after each chapter, walk away from it for awhile, and just ingest what I'd read. Hard to believe this was written in 2013; it is even more applicable now. Favorite quotes: "As we move into a post-Christian world, churches can be free to live a faithful gospel lifestyle that does not require majority acceptance. And that is a great freedom indeed." "Jesus's followers in the United States are called to be Christians first and Americans second... when politicians say that God has granted the United States a special role in human history, they are theologically wrong and politically dangerous." "For people of faith, government is never ultimate but needs to play the important and modest role of servant."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gary Chorpenning

    This is a challenging and, in my opinion, generally balanced look at the idea of the common good ("general welfare" U.S. constitution) in concrete terms. It is a very personal book; Wallis is very honest about his own life and struggles. He offers some very wise proposals for leading our country toward a greater expression of the common good. It is worth pointing out the publication date. This book pre-dates the 2016 campaign and election. My only real critique is that the book is probably 75 pa This is a challenging and, in my opinion, generally balanced look at the idea of the common good ("general welfare" U.S. constitution) in concrete terms. It is a very personal book; Wallis is very honest about his own life and struggles. He offers some very wise proposals for leading our country toward a greater expression of the common good. It is worth pointing out the publication date. This book pre-dates the 2016 campaign and election. My only real critique is that the book is probably 75 pages longer than it needed to be.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shenard Robinson

    As expected, Wallis did not disappoint. I read God's Politics awhile ago, and having read, On God's Side, solidifies my belief in social Christian ministry. The two are not mutually exclusive even if the prevailing sentiment is that living within mainstream American religious belief prohibits religious protest. A wonderful read, and one worth understanding what Wallis is asking of us, whether Christian or not, as we build a world where kingdom doesn't mean oppression. As expected, Wallis did not disappoint. I read God's Politics awhile ago, and having read, On God's Side, solidifies my belief in social Christian ministry. The two are not mutually exclusive even if the prevailing sentiment is that living within mainstream American religious belief prohibits religious protest. A wonderful read, and one worth understanding what Wallis is asking of us, whether Christian or not, as we build a world where kingdom doesn't mean oppression.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jo Oehrlein

    This book is powerful. It really called me to think about what I believe and how I act on that belief. I like that he talks about getting people from both conservative and liberal/progressive denominations/religions and about getting republicans and democrats to agree on certain key things. He emphasizes what we can learn from each other and points out that some things are worth protecting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Wallis makes a few good points but they are overshadowed by the constant stream of subtle and not subtle bragging about his own life. He uses himself as an example too much to be convincing. Instead I'm left wishing for more specific solutions to his problems and more information about people doing good in the world besides him. Wallis makes a few good points but they are overshadowed by the constant stream of subtle and not subtle bragging about his own life. He uses himself as an example too much to be convincing. Instead I'm left wishing for more specific solutions to his problems and more information about people doing good in the world besides him.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris Lugo

    If you are tired of religion or tired of politics and especially tired of both being intermixed incorrectly: this is a great read. It is slow at moments but some chapters pick up fast. In today's political climate this book is a great read (even though it is written around 2011-2012). If you are tired of religion or tired of politics and especially tired of both being intermixed incorrectly: this is a great read. It is slow at moments but some chapters pick up fast. In today's political climate this book is a great read (even though it is written around 2011-2012).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Josh Morgan

    This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (jacobscafe.blogspot.com). Jim Wallis is well-known by many Christians, and he often is viewed as controversial in the evangelical community, as he uses the term evangelical while promoting progressive ideals through the social justice group, Sojourners. I've never read or listened to any of his work, so I was intrigued to listen to an audiobook version of his (very long) tome, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned abo This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (jacobscafe.blogspot.com). Jim Wallis is well-known by many Christians, and he often is viewed as controversial in the evangelical community, as he uses the term evangelical while promoting progressive ideals through the social justice group, Sojourners. I've never read or listened to any of his work, so I was intrigued to listen to an audiobook version of his (very long) tome, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good. The book, running at about 14 hours for the audio version and 300 pages for the print edition, has a lot of information and examples of Wallis' points. Many posts could be written about these points, but I was generally impressed with Wallis' ability to be rather balanced and try to find a common ground in the name of the Gospel. The basic premise of his text is a fundamental shifting of the paradigm of faith in politics, which argues God is always on our side (whichever side you're on). As the title of the book suggests, Wallis asserts that this perspective and the question of whose side God is on misses the point. We should be asking if we're on God's side. While I'm sure this argument has been made before, and it's not simple to live out, I really appreciated how this view shifts the focus from being anthropocentric to being theocentric. Both sides of the political (and theological) aisle seem to increasingly emphasize humanity as central rather than trying to find out how to re-orient to be in line with God. The result, Wallis argues, should be striving toward the common good rather than our individual, siloed good. And I agree. If you like texts on the politics of religion, this is a great addition. But the print version might be better. Again, I haven't listened to Wallis before, but for him being such a national leader who has to speak regularly, his narration of his own book was less-than-impressive. In fact, the almost monotonous tone made some very important points seem unimportant. I usually love authors narrating their own works because you can hear their passion and interest in their points, even if their readings aren't great. Unfortunately, both were lacking here, making me sometimes question if Wallis even believed what he was saying. I hope he does because his points are important and much-needed. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  15. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    There are many things that Jim Wallis writes with which I agree. There are many things that Jim Wallis writes with which I disagree. The wonderful thing about reading a Jim Wallis book is the grace in which he writes. He does not bash you over the head for disagreeing with him. He doesn't resort to the name-calling ridiculousness from many political pundits. Make no mistake, Jim Wallis is a left-of-center thinker. He has made many enemies since Glenn Beck declared war on him. In On God's Side, Wall There are many things that Jim Wallis writes with which I agree. There are many things that Jim Wallis writes with which I disagree. The wonderful thing about reading a Jim Wallis book is the grace in which he writes. He does not bash you over the head for disagreeing with him. He doesn't resort to the name-calling ridiculousness from many political pundits. Make no mistake, Jim Wallis is a left-of-center thinker. He has made many enemies since Glenn Beck declared war on him. In On God's Side, Wallis attempts to toe the center line. But even more than political lines, he tries to explain what God would do with our country's current situations. I enjoyed reading his open letter to President Obama in which he criticizes him for being seduced by the special interest groups. I enjoyed reading his letter to other elected officials as well. Part of the problem Wallis has with the more conservative readers is that he uses "hot button" words that liberals use all the time. Words that typically would have served the purpose but, because of their political baggage, have been usurped. He wrote this book while on sabbatical and it's practically a response to the recent presidential campaign. I agree with his thoughts on how our presidential campaign (and most other national campaigns) has become all about saying whatever will get either candidate the most money. It has turned into the poster ad for human ugly. (perhaps it's always been that way) I can never agree more with the call for civility from our elected officials - Presidents, Senators and Congressmen and women. However, there were other aspects where I disagree with his political leanings. It's always terrifying when someone tries to lay claim to Jesus and their political beliefs. Wallis does a fairly admirable job and avoiding this but, as I said, he uses "flash" words that will turn most conservatives off instantly. Read this book for an example of civility when discussing religion and politics. Discuss it with friends and see how, more often than not, the civility will die a quick death. This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Brazos Press.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joe Henry

    It was a beautiful, relatively mild March day in Mobile (AL) when I chose to sit quite comfortably in a bed of pine straw, leaning back against a tree, to read while my wife went in to check out the flower-&-garden show. After a bit, feeling some need for a trip to our car in the parking lot, I arose and happened to fall into conversation with a couple of pleasant ladies who had finished their tour of the show and were making their way alongside me through the lot toward their vehicle. One inqui It was a beautiful, relatively mild March day in Mobile (AL) when I chose to sit quite comfortably in a bed of pine straw, leaning back against a tree, to read while my wife went in to check out the flower-&-garden show. After a bit, feeling some need for a trip to our car in the parking lot, I arose and happened to fall into conversation with a couple of pleasant ladies who had finished their tour of the show and were making their way alongside me through the lot toward their vehicle. One inquired about why I was sitting outside under the tree. When I explained, she pursued with "What are you reading?" I have no idea what she expected, or hoped for--presumably something that sounded good and enticing to her. I held the book up to her view and approximated the title with something like "On God's Side, a book by Jim Wallis...do you happen to know Jim Wallis?" (She shook her head "no.") "He describes himself as an evangelical Christian...is the founder of something called Sojourners, which has a magazine, a web presence, and an activist thrust. This book is about serving the common good in the pretty polarized world we live in." Just then arriving at their vehicle, her countenance fell troubled or maybe conflicted, and her parting shot was, "Well, if we could just agree on what the common good was!" Indeed. I thought about that a good bit over the next few days. About the book itself, I find I am having difficulty knowing what to say. It is not that I found fault with it so much; it’s just that it didn’t seem to help me or stick with me that much. My problem, no doubt. The book was a sabbatical project for Wallis. Candidly, I felt the organization was somewhat lacking and the final chapter, especially, seemed to me weak—as if his sabbatical was coming to an end and he just had to get the book finished. I expect I wrote more than one paper in college that ended in that fashion. Part 1: Inspiring the Common Good Part 2: Practices for the Common Good Epilogue: Ten Personal Decisions for the Common Good Index (limited to 5 pages) There is no bibliography, but footnotes are included in the body of the text for quotations and references.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Scott Haraburda

    Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Book. ------------------------------------ Everyone wants to claim that God is on their side, their country's side, their team’s side, their company’s side, their political party's side, and even their church’s side. But what does it mean to be on God's side? Jim Wallis does a superb job in trying to answer that question for us. In his book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good, Wallis states that we should fo Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Book. ------------------------------------ Everyone wants to claim that God is on their side, their country's side, their team’s side, their company’s side, their political party's side, and even their church’s side. But what does it mean to be on God's side? Jim Wallis does a superb job in trying to answer that question for us. In his book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good, Wallis states that we should focus upon the Common Good, not just upon ourselves, not even our family or group. He supports his answer using the basic tenet of Christianity as written in Mark 12:31, “love your neighbor as yourself.” In his book, he provides several challenges to political leaders to care for ALL Americans, not just the ones with the money or even the political clout. ALL Americans include the homeless, the poor, and the unemployed. Wallis’ main theme in his book is that, “People were made for family, community, and human flourishing, not consumerism, materialism, addiction, and empty overwork.” Throughout nearly three hundred pages, he demands civil discussions among economic, political, and religious groups to create Common Good solutions that benefit everyone. He peppers his book with several biblical Scriptures and personal stories, making it easy to understand his points. In the words of Abraham Lincoln: “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side.” Which side are you on? Reading this book will definitely help you answer this simple question.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    If anyone reading this is familiar with Christian Social Justice teaching, most of what is in this book is standard fare, with Rev. Wallis' personal experiences in the field providing a wonderful lens through which to view societal problems. The book itself is divided into two sections. The first examines the scriptural origins of social justice doctrine, and the second provides ideas for how to deal with current injustice scenarios. Rev. Wallis begins the book by speaking briefly about the spiri If anyone reading this is familiar with Christian Social Justice teaching, most of what is in this book is standard fare, with Rev. Wallis' personal experiences in the field providing a wonderful lens through which to view societal problems. The book itself is divided into two sections. The first examines the scriptural origins of social justice doctrine, and the second provides ideas for how to deal with current injustice scenarios. Rev. Wallis begins the book by speaking briefly about the spiritual retreat he took at the beginning of the writing process to a monastery in California, where the guest library had The Chronicles of Narnia. Using C. S. Lewis' allegorical setting as a jumping off point (spoiler: Aslan is Jesus) Rev. Wallis spends the first half of the book defining the Common Good through the message of the Gospel and solidifying the theological stance that Christ is the King of the Universe, a fact that will be celebrated this coming Sunday throughout Christendom. The second half of the book is spent examining different social issues, economics, human trafficking, war, etc. in context of Christ's kingship and the divine justice which our governments and ourselves must strive to attain. The real point of this book, I think, is to remind people that it takes all of us to change the world. Injustice exists because human beings are failable, greedy, self-absorbed, any list of adjectives you wish to ascribe, but a groundswell coming from people who see the injustice can force a change, and this book provides concrete ideas for doing just that.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    The main point of this book is that people need to behave more like Christians and stop being antagonistic. Jim Wallis believes that there are good things on both sides of the issues and that we are letting ourselves get side tracked by the polarization of politics. Politicians are arguing about the wrong things which distracts us from the facts. He wants us to concern ourselves with the common good, and he feels it will take a "movement" by the people, NOT politicians, to reclaim our goals of w The main point of this book is that people need to behave more like Christians and stop being antagonistic. Jim Wallis believes that there are good things on both sides of the issues and that we are letting ourselves get side tracked by the polarization of politics. Politicians are arguing about the wrong things which distracts us from the facts. He wants us to concern ourselves with the common good, and he feels it will take a "movement" by the people, NOT politicians, to reclaim our goals of what's good for everyone. The title of the book is taken from a quote by Abraham Lincoln. There were times when it seemed Wallis was a bit redundant (a common affliction of preachers), but his points are sound. I agree with his views of theology (based on Biblical texts from Matthew) and hope that there really will be an awakening in our country (or even the world) to people helping each other. It's a book I wish that all of our politicians could read and embrace, but I hope that other people read this book and take it to heart.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Agatha Nolen

    I'd like to believe that there is hope for our political structure in the U.S. Jim Wallis narrates the space that gives us that freedom by advocating that all politicians regardless of special interest groups, financial backing and political party come together in areas of "common good". I see clearly what Jim is trying to say: us religious and our leaders have strayed so far from what Jesus has asked us to do that it is hard for us to see and admit the broken path we have traveled. Instead, Jim I'd like to believe that there is hope for our political structure in the U.S. Jim Wallis narrates the space that gives us that freedom by advocating that all politicians regardless of special interest groups, financial backing and political party come together in areas of "common good". I see clearly what Jim is trying to say: us religious and our leaders have strayed so far from what Jesus has asked us to do that it is hard for us to see and admit the broken path we have traveled. Instead, Jim gives us a new rhetoric: to put down the slurs and slanders of what has happened in the past and instead start afresh to build a new future. Jim's book opened my eyes to my prejudices and bigotry and I'd like to join a movement that examines the common good and bands together to change the world. Thanks for saying it so well, Jim.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dan Salerno

    What a powerhouse of a book! Jim Wallis has been at the forefront of the faith-community's social justice movement for over four decades and this book is packed with wisdom and insight he has gained by living it out in the context of family and community. There are simply too many gems in this work to mention them all, but here is one that will perhaps spark your curiosity to go deeper: "No social reform movement in modern times has succeeded without the central involvement of the faith community a What a powerhouse of a book! Jim Wallis has been at the forefront of the faith-community's social justice movement for over four decades and this book is packed with wisdom and insight he has gained by living it out in the context of family and community. There are simply too many gems in this work to mention them all, but here is one that will perhaps spark your curiosity to go deeper: "No social reform movement in modern times has succeeded without the central involvement of the faith community and the spiritual values they bring to the struggle... Jesus calls us to conversion and to community, to personal salvation and to social justice, to individual transformation and to societal change. People come to Jesus Christ as persons, but then they join something called the Body of Christ, which is the only community that exists to serve it non-members."

  22. 4 out of 5

    David Campton

    This took me longer to read than it should have, perhaps because I was generally reading it as an ebook when travelling... It covers similar ground to his previous book "God's Politics" and like it is written primarily into the polarised world of US politics but it has lots to say into other adversarial democracies, particularly our own toxic situation here in Northern Ireland. The principle of the common good is one that is too easily forgotten in such an environment, and is not always pursued This took me longer to read than it should have, perhaps because I was generally reading it as an ebook when travelling... It covers similar ground to his previous book "God's Politics" and like it is written primarily into the polarised world of US politics but it has lots to say into other adversarial democracies, particularly our own toxic situation here in Northern Ireland. The principle of the common good is one that is too easily forgotten in such an environment, and is not always pursued by churches/faith groups either, given that they can often look on each other as adversaries rather than potential allies over certain issues. Worth reading and worth buying a copy for your local public representative, especially if they claim to be a person of faith.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marguerite Harrell

    I won this book some years ago from giveaway contest that was a mix bag with other books that I want to win. Now, I got the chance to read this book even though he is liberal and I am conservative. I wanted to understand their liberal view. I disagree with him on political side and theological point of view. He had me scratching my head times to times. I do understand that he does care for the poor. Yes, I do care for the poor, but we have a very different view how we should do this. Too much for I won this book some years ago from giveaway contest that was a mix bag with other books that I want to win. Now, I got the chance to read this book even though he is liberal and I am conservative. I wanted to understand their liberal view. I disagree with him on political side and theological point of view. He had me scratching my head times to times. I do understand that he does care for the poor. Yes, I do care for the poor, but we have a very different view how we should do this. Too much for me to write down. We can't do this without the gospel. We need to be preaching the Gospel. Without the gospel the problems will not be solve and will still have problems. It is the heart issue. #vtReadingChallenge #Abookfromatheologialviewpointyoudiagreewith

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Pedersen

    So i like his first book Gods politics and I have heard him speak and felt some inspiration there. However, while he has some good points (examples: that the "common good" requires both personal and social responsibility and his comments on the importance of fatherhood and family) I personally think he talks too much about himself in this book and almost seems to brag about his political connections (talking about meeting Archbishop Tutu or reprinting his originally private letter to President O So i like his first book Gods politics and I have heard him speak and felt some inspiration there. However, while he has some good points (examples: that the "common good" requires both personal and social responsibility and his comments on the importance of fatherhood and family) I personally think he talks too much about himself in this book and almost seems to brag about his political connections (talking about meeting Archbishop Tutu or reprinting his originally private letter to President Obama are good examples.) Overall, if he took out those self-gloating parts, he would achieve the same point in 150 pages instead of 298.)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    Jim Walllis turns a common phrase--God is on our side--completely around in telling us that what we need to think about is whether we are "on God's side." He eloquently discusses how faith should focus on the common good and bring us together rather than tear us apart. The first part deals with theological perspectives; the second part with policy and political issues. Anyone who has been concerned with how religion has been misused to divide us, to create seemingly endless arguments and not to Jim Walllis turns a common phrase--God is on our side--completely around in telling us that what we need to think about is whether we are "on God's side." He eloquently discusses how faith should focus on the common good and bring us together rather than tear us apart. The first part deals with theological perspectives; the second part with policy and political issues. Anyone who has been concerned with how religion has been misused to divide us, to create seemingly endless arguments and not to bring good works to the Kingdom of God will find this book enlightening. It could provide a blueprint for future practices in churches and in government.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I found that his reasons for leaving the church reflect many of my misgivings or frustrations with the church I have been having but unable to put a finger on. I have felt like Christianity today has morphed into accepting God so you can get a free one way ticket to heaven because god is on your side. It just leaves out all the difficult parts like living like a christian, as a person, a country or a world for the common good of everyone. A good book that makes you think. You do not need to be r I found that his reasons for leaving the church reflect many of my misgivings or frustrations with the church I have been having but unable to put a finger on. I have felt like Christianity today has morphed into accepting God so you can get a free one way ticket to heaven because god is on your side. It just leaves out all the difficult parts like living like a christian, as a person, a country or a world for the common good of everyone. A good book that makes you think. You do not need to be religious to read this, the points made are just as valid to all religions, non religions and political leanings.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Steward

    The need for the common good is over-whelming and Jim Wallis as usual brings it to our attention. The question is whether as Christians we are going to be bold enough to step out and do anything about it or are we going to sit in our comfortable spot and watch from the sidelines and complain. The current status of government and the continual partisan politics that carry on is not going to help our nation or the world move forward. I believe that it is possible for us to work toward the common go The need for the common good is over-whelming and Jim Wallis as usual brings it to our attention. The question is whether as Christians we are going to be bold enough to step out and do anything about it or are we going to sit in our comfortable spot and watch from the sidelines and complain. The current status of government and the continual partisan politics that carry on is not going to help our nation or the world move forward. I believe that it is possible for us to work toward the common good and Jim Wallis lays out some practical steps for us to begin the movement.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    A really insightful book on getting government and politics working as intended vs. what they have degraded to. This book is good for all religious oriented people and extends beyond only Christianity. I found that it is also very valuable for atheists and others of similar bent. The ideas are presented with scriptural backing, however the ideas pertain too all persons intent on living on a path of fairness, mutual respect and social justice for individuals and for our communities that extend to A really insightful book on getting government and politics working as intended vs. what they have degraded to. This book is good for all religious oriented people and extends beyond only Christianity. I found that it is also very valuable for atheists and others of similar bent. The ideas are presented with scriptural backing, however the ideas pertain too all persons intent on living on a path of fairness, mutual respect and social justice for individuals and for our communities that extend to all being neighbors no matter where they live.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

    Really great book, well worth the read. Make you think,an I hope that for readers would drive not only thinking and discussion but also to action. I think he really challenges a theological position such as his views on 'atonement only theology'. I particularly liked his views on 'The Kingdom' but I would like that wouldn't I. The fact that he seems to be a fan of C.S. Lewis also engender the book to me. I would recommend the book to us all, read it and hopefully lets have lots more activists to Really great book, well worth the read. Make you think,an I hope that for readers would drive not only thinking and discussion but also to action. I think he really challenges a theological position such as his views on 'atonement only theology'. I particularly liked his views on 'The Kingdom' but I would like that wouldn't I. The fact that he seems to be a fan of C.S. Lewis also engender the book to me. I would recommend the book to us all, read it and hopefully lets have lots more activists to change our world for the comment good.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This is a book that requires only a couple of things. One is that you read it with an open mind and the other is to think or meditate on how this applies to real life. Jim is progressive/ liberal but that should not stop conservatives from reading this. We need to rethink how we ought to live out our faith on all levels and how we relate to others who are not like us. I think that is the core message of the book and it is a very timely one. You don't have to agree with all his points to get some This is a book that requires only a couple of things. One is that you read it with an open mind and the other is to think or meditate on how this applies to real life. Jim is progressive/ liberal but that should not stop conservatives from reading this. We need to rethink how we ought to live out our faith on all levels and how we relate to others who are not like us. I think that is the core message of the book and it is a very timely one. You don't have to agree with all his points to get something very meaningful out of this book.

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