The sticker still adorns my car’s otherwise bare bumper. During the last election, more than any other time in my thirty-three years of life, I observed our nation careening head first into an idolatrous pit, using God to justify various political agendas without the prayer, humility, and reflection necessary to discern first what God’s agenda might be.
In his thought-provoking and prophetic book, God’s Politics, Jim Wallis— executive director/editor of Sojourners magazine, preacher, faith-based activist, and author—reminds us that God does indeed have a vision, an agenda for the world, which challenges everything about our partisan politics and ideologies. Wallis courageously invites all people of faith, from every political spectrum, to allow one’s faith, rooted in the soil of Scripture, to challenge the politics of our nation today from a consistent moral ground. Relying upon God’s own vision as demonstrated through the prophets and through Jesus Christ, both the left and the right find their political and economic power to be weighed on the scales of God’s justice and to be found wanting.
Throughout the pages of this book, Jim Wallis is relentless in his call to all faithful people to remember that God’s politics are most concerned about those that our politics often forget: the poor, the weak, the voiceless, those left out of the process. God’s vision for our world reminds us that as people of faith our concern cannot be limited only to those who are citizens of the United States, but instead, should be for all citizens of the human family, particularly those children of God upon whose nations we have waged war. God’s vision affirms care for creation, abhors exploitation in any form, and consistently calls us to be a people who “choose life,” supporting policies and budgets which afford life to the fullest for all.
God’s Politics is concerned about telling the truth and facing up to the real inconsistencies in our political speech and action. Within its pages, all people of faith are challenged to see through the rhetoric and “God talk” in order to reclaim and to act upon the biblical mandates for justice, mercy, and humility that are clearly God’s concern. However, Wallis not only challenges but also encourages people of faith to seek out the common ground they share—such as a deep concern for those who live in poverty, for those who do not have health care, for the support of families who are struggling to raise their children with religious values, and for a world without the threat of war. By the conclusion of the book, readers will be hope-full that together faithful people can redefine the nation’s issues, transform the discussion, and claim in our lives together, as Wallis quotes an activist friend named Lisa Sullivan, “We are the ones we have been waiting for!”
STACY RECTOR, Second Church, Nashville, Tenn.