Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jim Wallis Speaks in Grand Rapids

Last night, I had the opportunity to listen to Jim Wallis, author of a book titled God's Politics : How the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get it at All. He spoke at Calvin College here in Grand Rapids, MI. I read this book earlier this year, and found it very interesting.

One of the main points that he makes is that Christians should never be card carrying Republicans or Democrats. We are called to stand for justice and moral issues of this country - not just some of the moral issues, but all of them. This stance should be regardless of the party affiliation of the President of the United States. In other words, it doesn't matter who is elected President in November. If we do not challenge them to stand up for injustice, odds are, they won't either.

He also made it clear that most of the radical positive changes in this country and in this world, were not instituted / started within politics. The source of radical positive change has always been grassroot efforts - the most successful grassroot efforts have always been spiritually based. As an African American, I can clearly see how the Black Churches in the South were instrumental in Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. One of my favorite things that Jim said was, "President Lyndon Johnson was not a Civil Rights leader until, Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks forced him to be one".

Clearly Jim is calling us to not just fight injustice at the voting booth, although this is necessary as well. He is challenging us to continue the fight long after the voting has taken place. Both are crucial, the vote and social grassroot effort, but alone they can never accomplish the goal that we are trying to meet - ending abortion, poverty, world hunger, as well as other social justice and moral issues.

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