Faith Works: Lessons from the Life of an Activist Preacher

Jim Wallis, Author Random House (NY) $23.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-375-50176-0
Wallis has correctly surmised that people long for an alternative to the blame-placing, cynicism-producing and often hate-filled debate between the Left and the Right about social issues. In this engaging and timely collection of sermonlike essays, Wallis, the pastor who founded Sojourners Magazine and the Sojourners community in Washington, D.C., tells story after story of people living out just such an alternative, and in doing so, shows that meaningful activism is possible, palatable, soul-healing and even fun. Arguing that the health of a society can be measured by the way it treats the poor, he chides conservatives and liberals alike for their failures in this area but also affirms their strengths and challenges them to work together toward values both groups share, such as child welfare. Wallis validates the most sensible ideas of liberals and conservatives, in the church and in politics. While he never shies away from harsh truths about the widening wage gap in the U.S., devastating poverty in the developing world and our wealth-obsessed culture's apathetic response, Wallis ultimately inspires as much hope as he does outrage. Hope, in fact, is a theme in this book, which sets it apart from the angry bulk of anti-poverty literature. Wallis sees this hope as a gift from God; he believes that one must have a spiritual well to drink from in order to maintain hope. His book is a welcome primer for any aspiring activist, regardless of spiritual inclination. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
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