Monday, June 25, 2007

Faith is Always Personal, Never Private

Had the opportunity to hear Jim Wallis today in person. He did a workshop and spoke at the evening session of a conference in town today. In case you're unfamiliar with Wallis, he is the founder of Soujourners/Call to Renewal, and lives in the inner city of Washington DC. I've been interested in him for some time. He hearkens back to another era in the history of our country, when Christians made a difference in the world. For instance, the lead that evangelicals took in the abolishment of slavery in our country. Little stuff like that.

Today, however, he's a controversial lightening rod. Partly because he highlights the hard truths of Scripture. He isn't afraid to take on the likes of Dobson et al and their "take" that there are only 2 key moral issues facing us today: abortion & homosexuality. Not that those aren't key issues, but come on, the only issues? What about the thousands of references in scripture about the poor? What about the epidemic of slavery in our world, which is a bigger problem today than in the history of the world? There are a plethora of other concerns that Wallis brings to the front, including the environment, the AIDS pandemic in Africa, the genocide that's happening in places like Darfur (go ahead...quiz the typical Christian - where's Darfur, and what's going on there, anyway?). Wallis isn't afraid to say "hey, the Bible has a lot to say about these things too...maybe even more than the couple of issues that we somehow weave into every major political campaign.

Here are a couple of quotes from the day...
  • Transformation is not just a turning from, but a turning to

  • What does it mean to be different from the world and still transform it?

  • Our evangelism often answers a question that nobody else is asking.

  • Does the way you and I live raise questions?

  • The Hebrew mindset - truth isn't really truth until it affects the way we live

  • For most of us, we have to LIVE our way to a new way of THINKING. We assume we can THINK our way to a new kind of LIVING, and that seldom works.
Jim's book spent some time on the New York Times Best-Seller list. It's entitled "God's Politics - Why The Right Gets It Wrong & The Left Doesn't Get It" I plan to read it before the summer is over (I need to slow down reading for a bit...need to digest a little first!)

He also spoke at the large evening session, which you can find here. Scroll through some of the preliminary stuff to get to his talk.

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