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On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  218 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Jim Wallis thinks our life together can be better. In this timely and provocative book, he shows us how to reclaim Jesus's ancient and compelling vision of the common good--a vision that impacts and inspires not only our politics but also our personal lives, families, churches, neighborhoods, and world.
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Brazos Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Jennifer Pebbles
I'm still wading my way through this one.

I am not religious, but I bought this book after hearing his interview on NPR- because most of what he discussed about the problems with the current religious/political climate are the very reasons why I am not religious.

He had me when discussing scripture where Jesus said- "What you do to the least of these, you do to me." It rang so true to me about the hypocritical actions of politicians claiming to be "Christian" but trying to take away the programs
Lee Harmon
Mar 22, 2013 Lee Harmon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Has Christianity been derailed from serving the common good to mandating bipartisan stances? If Christian principles mean standing up for God, then in the myriad of complex political issues—from same-sex marriage to immigration reform—how do we know which side to take? Which side is God’s side?

Wallis asserts we can find God on the side of compassion. The common good. Throw out your gospels of self-help, personal enhancement, prosperity, and parochial nationalism, and instead look to the story of
May 12, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with my bible study/book study group and so had the pleasure of discussing each chapter. Wallis is liberal and progressive. A Christian, he takes a good hard look at Christianity in American politics today and largely doesn't like what he sees. While he tries to give equal support and critique to conservatives and liberals, he clearly sides with the latter. I do too, so that wasn't a problem for me. His message is this: Christianity requires more than looking out for ourselves. ...more
Another great book by Jim Wallis. I don't want to say that this book is "rehashed" material, b/c that would not be quite fair. However, if you have read Jim Wallis' other books (and read them with an open mind) you will see that this is the type of thing he has been saying and writing about for years and years. He just is a lot more "pastoral and personal" in this book and steers clear of a lot of overtly political ideology. His only goal is for us to understand that as Christians, and as a soci ...more
Jenn Raley
Mar 27, 2013 Jenn Raley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
I really appreciate Jim Wallis and the work of Sojourners, so I eagerly anticipated this book. I even pre-ordered it so I would get a chance to read it before being bombarded by magazine and blog excerpts!

A lot of the content of the book will be familiar to readers of Sojourners' various outlets. As with much of the content in Wallis' previous books, many articles and blog posts get repurposed into the book, or vice versa.

The book's greatest strength is in Part 1, which examines the Biblical, th
Malin Friess
Mar 29, 2013 Malin Friess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Wallis and I would likely disagree politically on a variety of issues (immigration, minimum wage, foreign policy, tax policy, size of government, social welfare programs, american exceptionalism). But he cares for the Christian Faith, our nation, and genuninely seeks as Abraham Lincoln wrote during the Civil War..."My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concenr is to be on God's side.

Wallis does an excellent job reminding me of the highlights of the Biblical Narative - The
Louise Hassell
Mar 21, 2014 Louise Hassell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read book for anyone who is concerned about the American political system today. The author is an Evangelical minister which caused me initially to have some pre-conceived notions that turned out to be quite wrong. Whatever side of the political aisle you belong on you need to read this book. Thought-provoking!
Jo Oehrlein
This book is powerful. It really called me to think about what I believe and how I act on that belief.

I like that he talks about getting people from both conservative and liberal/progressive denominations/religions and about getting republicans and democrats to agree on certain key things. He emphasizes what we can learn from each other and points out that some things are worth protecting.
Josh Morgan
Jan 20, 2014 Josh Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (

Jim Wallis is well-known by many Christians, and he often is viewed as controversial in the evangelical community, as he uses the term evangelical while promoting progressive ideals through the social justice group, Sojourners. I've never read or listened to any of his work, so I was intrigued to listen to an audiobook version of his (very long) tome, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned abo
Oct 03, 2013 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are many things that Jim Wallis writes with which I agree.

There are many things that Jim Wallis writes with which I disagree.

The wonderful thing about reading a Jim Wallis book is the grace in which he writes. He does not bash you over the head for disagreeing with him. He doesn't resort to the name-calling ridiculousness from many political pundits.

Make no mistake, Jim Wallis is a left-of-center thinker. He has made many enemies since Glenn Beck declared war on him. In On God's Side, Wall
Joe Henry
It was a beautiful, relatively mild March day in Mobile (AL) when I chose to sit quite comfortably in a bed of pine straw, leaning back against a tree, to read while my wife went in to check out the flower-&-garden show. After a bit, feeling some need for a trip to our car in the parking lot, I arose and happened to fall into conversation with a couple of pleasant ladies who had finished their tour of the show and were making their way alongside me through the lot toward their vehicle. One i ...more
Jan 13, 2014 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Joshua by: NPR
Shelves: social
This book had an amazing message. The fact that it is titled "On God's Side" may deter some people from reading it as they are not Christian or don't believe in God, or don't know where they stand on belief in the divine. While I fall into this latter category, I can personally attest to the fact that this book is a good read for anyone regardless of where they are in their understanding of spirituality. While the points are motivated by biblical passages, the point, intent, and direction that t ...more
Scott Haraburda
Mar 29, 2013 Scott Haraburda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Book.


Everyone wants to claim that God is on their side, their country's side, their team’s side, their company’s side, their political party's side, and even their church’s side. But what does it mean to be on God's side? Jim Wallis does a superb job in trying to answer that question for us.

In his book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good, Wallis states that we should fo
Nov 02, 2013 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, politics
If anyone reading this is familiar with Christian Social Justice teaching, most of what is in this book is standard fare, with Rev. Wallis' personal experiences in the field providing a wonderful lens through which to view societal problems. The book itself is divided into two sections. The first examines the scriptural origins of social justice doctrine, and the second provides ideas for how to deal with current injustice scenarios.

Rev. Wallis begins the book by speaking briefly about the spiri
Aug 13, 2013 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The main point of this book is that people need to behave more like Christians and stop being antagonistic. Jim Wallis believes that there are good things on both sides of the issues and that we are letting ourselves get side tracked by the polarization of politics. Politicians are arguing about the wrong things which distracts us from the facts. He wants us to concern ourselves with the common good, and he feels it will take a "movement" by the people, NOT politicians, to reclaim our goals of w ...more
Dan Salerno
Aug 06, 2016 Dan Salerno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a powerhouse of a book!

Jim Wallis has been at the forefront of the faith-community's social justice movement for over four decades and this book is packed with wisdom and insight he has gained by living it out in the context of family and community.

There are simply too many gems in this work to mention them all, but here is one that will perhaps spark your curiosity to go deeper:

"No social reform movement in modern times has succeeded without the central involvement of the faith community a
Agatha Nolen
Jun 22, 2013 Agatha Nolen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd like to believe that there is hope for our political structure in the U.S. Jim Wallis narrates the space that gives us that freedom by advocating that all politicians regardless of special interest groups, financial backing and political party come together in areas of "common good". I see clearly what Jim is trying to say: us religious and our leaders have strayed so far from what Jesus has asked us to do that it is hard for us to see and admit the broken path we have traveled. Instead, Jim ...more
Marguerite Harrell
I won this book some years ago from giveaway contest that was a mix bag with other books that I want to win.

Now, I got the chance to read this book even though he is liberal and I am conservative. I wanted to understand their liberal view. I disagree with him on political side and theological point of view. He had me scratching my head times to times. I do understand that he does care for the poor. Yes, I do care for the poor, but we have a very different view how we should do this.

Too much for
David Campton
Aug 21, 2013 David Campton rated it really liked it
This took me longer to read than it should have, perhaps because I was generally reading it as an ebook when travelling... It covers similar ground to his previous book "God's Politics" and like it is written primarily into the polarised world of US politics but it has lots to say into other adversarial democracies, particularly our own toxic situation here in Northern Ireland. The principle of the common good is one that is too easily forgotten in such an environment, and is not always pursued ...more
Jeremy Pedersen
So i like his first book Gods politics and I have heard him speak and felt some inspiration there. However, while he has some good points (examples: that the "common good" requires both personal and social responsibility and his comments on the importance of fatherhood and family) I personally think he talks too much about himself in this book and almost seems to brag about his political connections (talking about meeting Archbishop Tutu or reprinting his originally private letter to President O ...more
Jul 24, 2013 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jim Walllis turns a common phrase--God is on our side--completely around in telling us that what we need to think about is whether we are "on God's side." He eloquently discusses how faith should focus on the common good and bring us together rather than tear us apart. The first part deals with theological perspectives; the second part with policy and political issues. Anyone who has been concerned with how religion has been misused to divide us, to create seemingly endless arguments and not to ...more
Feb 08, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found that his reasons for leaving the church reflect many of my misgivings or frustrations with the church I have been having but unable to put a finger on. I have felt like Christianity today has morphed into accepting God so you can get a free one way ticket to heaven because god is on your side. It just leaves out all the difficult parts like living like a christian, as a person, a country or a world for the common good of everyone. A good book that makes you think. You do not need to be r ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that requires only a couple of things. One is that you read it with an open mind and the other is to think or meditate on how this applies to real life. Jim is progressive/ liberal but that should not stop conservatives from reading this.
We need to rethink how we ought to live out our faith on all levels and how we relate to others who are not like us. I think that is the core message of the book and it is a very timely one.

You don't have to agree with all his points to get some
Jul 04, 2013 Alexnsteward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The need for the common good is over-whelming and Jim Wallis as usual brings it to our attention. The question is whether as Christians we are going to be bold enough to step out and do anything about it or are we going to sit in our comfortable spot and watch from the sidelines and complain.

The current status of government and the continual partisan politics that carry on is not going to help our nation or the world move forward. I believe that it is possible for us to work toward the common go
Apr 09, 2014 Adrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great book, well worth the read. Make you think,an I hope that for readers would drive not only thinking and discussion but also to action. I think he really challenges a theological position such as his views on 'atonement only theology'. I particularly liked his views on 'The Kingdom' but I would like that wouldn't I. The fact that he seems to be a fan of C.S. Lewis also engender the book to me. I would recommend the book to us all, read it and hopefully lets have lots more activists to ...more
Jul 24, 2013 Beverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really insightful book on getting government and politics working as intended vs. what they have degraded to. This book is good for all religious oriented people and extends beyond only Christianity. I found that it is also very valuable for atheists and others of similar bent. The ideas are presented with scriptural backing, however the ideas pertain too all persons intent on living on a path of fairness, mutual respect and social justice for individuals and for our communities that extend to ...more
Fr. Ted
Jan 18, 2014 Fr. Ted rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The theme of the "common good" and its importance for the existence of civil society is what attracted me to the book to begin with. The intended audience is probably Protestant Americans of whatever political philosophy one holds to. I ended up skimming large parts of the book as it didn't seem to offer any new insights. The last 2 chapters gets more into how people in their homes might live his ideas which might be of practical issue to some.
Keri Marquand
Jun 09, 2013 Keri Marquand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Wallis has a unique perspective on life and politics. He refers frequently to "the common good" and urges us to live our lives and use our votes to impact it. He has provided a lens through which to view decisions, both personally and in our communities. I love his perspective on the Kingdom of God as being both in heaven and our responsibility to live out God's principals here on earth. I recommend this book!
Russ Booton
May 12, 2013 Russ Booton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wallis tries to bridge the gap between liberal and conservative politics in this book by asking the question: what is the common good for which we should strive. I think he succeeds in this. Though Wallis writes from a liberal Christian perspective, he embraces the conservative emphasis on personal responsibility, while never relinquishing the liberal ethos of social responsibility. This book is a good read and a call to action.
David Campton
Just re-read this in the light of yet another breakdown in relations within our local government executive, and as the US gears up for another spasm of personality politics in the Presidential race. Jim Wallis' appeal to politicians to seek the common good is a much needed word in the face of vicious partisanship /sectarianism whilst his repeated reminder that a budget is a moral document is especially appropriate in an era of "austerity"
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How do we relearn civility and strive for the common good? 1 3 Nov 30, 2013 09:11AM  
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Jim Wallis is president and CEO of Sojourners and editor in chief of Sojourners magazine. He is a bestselling author, public theologian, national preacher, social activist, and international commentator on ethics and public life.

Wallis has written ten books, including the New York Times bestsellers God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It and The Great Awakening, and

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