Sunday, April 02, 2006


These are my notes from the talk I went to on Tuesday. Jim Wallis spoke. It was basically the Cliff's Notes from his book God's Politics. Here are some of the things I thought enough of to write down. (And this is what you'll read about in his book if you pick it up.)

- There are two hungers that seem prevelent today: a hunger for spiritual integrity, and a hunger for social justice. These are both biblical.

- Good religion pulls out our "best stuff." Bad religion pulls out our hatreds, fears, and prejudices.

- We are told to love our brothers: Half of the world's Christians are living on less than $2 per day, yet we are not fighting to get them on our political agenda.

- For the religious to affect real change, they must be part of a movement that is nonpartisan, one that is not ideologically predictable, and one that holds all sides to a moral standard.

- Changes in the rates of abortion will happen when we give support to low income women.

- There are 2000 verses in Scripture about poverty. That makes it a moral issue. The environment is God's creation. That makes it a moral issue. Yet these kinds of things are generally overlooked by the political working of the "Religious Right."

- The "politics of complaint" is not effective. God responded to Habakkuk's complaint by giving him HIS vision. We need to be in tune with God's vision.

- Protesting is good, but offering alternatives is BETTER.

- Hope vs. Cynicism: (Or, addressing those who say that nothing can be done to change the way things are.) His response is: that's exactly what faith is for - the really big stuff that seems impossible. Cynicism is a way to make ourselves feel secure so that we can avoid the commitment to make a change. Hope, on the other hand, is "believing in spite of the evidence and watching the evidence change."

- On restoring the nation to the days of our forefathers, Wallis said something that I have been trying to articulate for a long time. (I have never liked "that's how the forefathers intended it" as a way of determining what laws we should support/oppose. To me it seems a blatantly obvious conterargument to simply say that they were mere men, no more immortal than we are. So if their intent is worth adhering to, so is anyone else's. Really, it isn't THEIR intent that should matter, but what God desires for our country.) Anyway, Jim Wallis gave this kind of reasoning a name that made me chuckle at first, but I can't say I disagree with it. He called it "ancestor worship."

- Patriotism is not in the Bible. (Then he said something about the bible being invoked only in judgement of a nation, which I was a little lost on...) He said that Christianity knows no national bounds. When the Bible is used to invoke the rights or power of one nation over another, it is being used incorrectly... but that's my paraphrase.

- People are entrenched in poverty because of public policies AND personal choices.

- Faith based ministries are great. But we "cannot keep pulling bodies out of the river without ever going up the river to see who is throwing them in." In other words, while we need to do things to help those who are hurting, we also need to work towards changing our socioeconmic structures so that the injustice won't occur in the first place.

- The biggest scandal in American education, according to Wallis, is not whether to teach evolution, it is the state of poor, innercity schools.

- A real religous movement is one that engages in the moral argument and "changes the wind" of society, rather than striving for political power.

Comments, questions, clarifications welcomed.

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Blogger Heather said...

Off topic: Did you get B's SS# to file taxes?

Tue Apr 04, 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger PEZmama said...

No. But thank you for asking.

Tue Apr 04, 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger sarahgrace said...

What a thought provoking post on politics and Christianity. There's some really good stuff in there, that I wish a lot more Christians knew about!
Thanks for sharing.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by my little blog : )

Fri Apr 07, 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Would have loved to be there to here it. Still mean to read the book.

Wed Apr 12, 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger Luisa Perkins said...

You've convinced me. I need to read that book.

Tue Mar 20, 10:04:00 AM  

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