Jim Wallis to outline progressive Christian view of politics
Jim Wallis, a passionate voice for social justice among US Christian evangelicals, will deliver the prestigious Cole Lectures for 2005 at Vanderbilt University's Benton Chapel beginning on Thursday 13 October. His perspective will posit a radical alternative to the recent pronouncements of President George W. Bush.
Wallis' first address, entitled 'God's Politics,' a reference to his recent bestselling book, God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. He will return 14 October to present 'A New Vision for American Politics', developing insights into the progressive movement to unify people around religious values beyond left and right.
The founder and editor of Sojourners magazine will also address the critical need to reach out spiritually as well as financially to the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 'There are moments in every generation when a society must decide what its real moral principles are,' Wallis declares.
He adds: 'In the aftermath of the hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, this is one of those moments in history. The waters have washed away our national denial of just how many Americans are living in poverty, our reluctance to admit the still persistent connection of race and poverty and even the political power of a conservative ideology that, for decades now, has seriously eroded the idea of the common good. Sometimes it takes a natural disaster to reveal a social disaster.'
During the early 1970s Wallis developed a strong interest in the relationship between faith and politics as he got involved in the Civil Rights movement and Vietnam War protests. While at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, he and other students started a small magazine and a community with a Christian commitment to social justice that has grown into Sojourners, which now has a readership of more than 100,000 people.
Other publications by Jim Wallis include Faith Works, The Soul of Politics: A Practical and Prophetic Vision for Change and Who Speaks for God? A New Politics of Compassion, Community, and Civility.
More information on Wallis' writings and initiatives is available at www.sojo.net. Colonel E. W. Cole established the Cole Lectures in 1893. Speakers have included such distinguished international scholars as Harry Emerson Fosdick, George Buttrick, H. Richard Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, James Barr, Edward Farley, Don Beisswenger, Gene TeSelle and David Buttrick.
The Cole Lectures are free and open to the public. Media contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens.