God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It
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God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  2,651 ratings  ·  253 reviews
New York Times bestseller God's Politics struck a chord with Americans disenchanted with how the Right had co-opted all talk about integrating religious values into our politics, and with the Left, who were mute on the subject. Jim Wallis argues that America's separation of church and state does not require banishing moral and religious values from the public square. God's...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by HarperOne (first published 2005)
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Katey
Will the real progressive religious left please stand up? I cannot consider Jim Wallis a true religious progressive when he won't stand up for women's rights and lgbtq people. He wants to say that abortion and gay marriage are "moral issues" and that responding to poverty is the "real" heart of the gospel. What he fails to recognize is that abortion is an economic justice issue. Poor women are 3 times as likely to have an abortion, and because of the Hyde amendment and lack of federal funding, t...more
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Dec 04, 2007 Stephanie "Jedigal" rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christian ministers
Not a Christian myself, I was nevertheless attracted by the title. Having long been fed up by my perception over the years of the increased failure by politicians to make moral decisions when legislating, my "to be read" shelves are becoming populated with political commentary. This is one of the first I chose to read.

The main thrust of the book is that
-- Christ advocated the use of government to address social issues, such as poverty;
-- the Religious Right has allied itself with the party le...more
Gilee
Jan 03, 2008 Gilee rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: gluttons for punishment
Recommended to Gilee by: Josh Reid
Shelves: nonfiction
This was one of the great disappointments of my late 20's. This book.
The beginning was intriguing...what? you mean to tell me that there's others out there like me? who believe that Jesus was a radical and we Christians should be helping the poor? and that these fringe issues the Religious Right gets into are really vehicles to control the masses and rarely actually advocate for Biblically-based directives? that, in fact, if you get down to the main platforms of Christianity, no one in our poli...more
Mark
I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately it's just not very good, and I say that even though I agree with most of the general positions taken.

First, the book tries to make it seem like the right and left are equally outside Christian values. To do this the author repeats standard Republican lies about the left, which not only is insulting but by lying the author undercuts his moral authority. Even bending over backwards like that, the author still makes it clear the sad state that the ri...more
Charles
This is a book that is needed in the modern world. It's one I've been hoping to see, and it actually came out in 2005. I've been saying for many years that religious people need to do more to counter the extremism that seems to be creeping into Christianity these days, especially that which has a political agenda. There are many moral issues to deal with in our time, not just gay rights, abortion and prayer in schools. There is how we treat the poor, fair versus free trade, the environment, and...more
Bart Breen
A must read Book for people of Conscience and Intelligence

Wallis brings an important and much needed message to the religious and political arena. Most of what he has to say is articulate, well thought out and presents the important message that Christians must beware of the dangers of "Group-Think."

My primary criticism and the reason I give the book 4 stars rather than what would have otherwise surely been a 5, is that the title is somewhat misleading. Reading this book I was under the impressi...more
Aldra
Mar 26, 2008 Aldra rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Folks who can handle being challenged
Those who cling to their political ideologies and parties will find this book difficult, because it exposes the idiocy of both sides of the divide. From what I've noted among other critiques, folks have a hard time dealing with their particular tribe coming under the microscope and fail to see that both sides of the fence receive Wallis' sense of frustration. It's not a "liberal" or "conservative" tome, despite the offended's insistence upon such.

It is, however, an interesting read, albeit redu...more
Jon
Wallis makes a fantastic argument, though the book could be a bit more concise. I agree with his basic premise, that God isn't interested in selective morality, in choosing left or right in politics, that He's interested instead in all moral choices, from war and poverty to sexuality and abortion.

His stance is fresh and appealing, but I have just one complaint. He too frequently lampoons Republicans for being greedy money grubbers. Again, I agree with his words on how much God is concerned with...more
Matt Hartzell
May 07, 2009 Matt Hartzell rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: politics
This was a pretty meaty book to get through, and I don't think that has everything to do with an abundance of unique content. This book probably could have been cut down a bit.

That being said, I think I generally enjoyed the book and the challenges that Jim Wallis gives. I loved the call to a new kind of approach to politics, and it helped me to understand my own misgivings about the whole political process. At times, I feel negatively about American politics, and this book helped me to articula...more
Corrielle
While I am very glad that I read this book, God’s Politics isn’t perfect by any means. It is sometimes repetitive, and I think that there are areas in which Mr. Wallis glosses over incredibly complicated and thorny issues with too much ease for my liking. However, it did what I needed it to. I think I was already in a place where I was ready to hear a lot of what the author had to say, though.

First of all, this book suggests that people of faith should in no way feel obligated to give their unco...more
Andrew
I've read many short articles by Jim Wallis but this is the first extended book of his that I have read. Overall I think that Wallis has a prophetic voice that the American Church needs to hear. After reading this book, I'm not convinced that the book format provides the best platform for him. I felt he was at times repetitive and some of the chapters read like a compilation of shorter articles. But I may have felt this way because I was already familiar with some of his writing.

Despite my rese...more
Bernie
Focused on the 2004 presidential election, God’s Politics is a sweeping commentary on the two-party American political system. Jim Wallis believes that American leaders have a vision problem: a basic lack of vision. Therefore, Wallis recommends adopting a vision of justice borrowed from the pages of the Old Testament prophets. He believes, as I do, that our political system spends too much time, energy, and money on partisan bickering, acknowledging that every important social movement in Americ...more
Jon
Jesus called us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and be of service in other simple ways to 'the least of these'. This was the essence of the greater part of his message to us and is central to us learning and showing that we love God as He loves us.

This book, published after the 2004 election, throws cold water in the face of the meanness of the political right and the vacuousness of the political left with regard to how they treat religion in their campaigns.

I think thi...more
Connie
This is a refreshing outlook from a man who is a Christian in the truest sense of the word. It is unfortunate that the extreme right professing to be Christians aren't required to read this book. I have loaned this book to many people of ALL different religious persuasions (including an atheist or two) and all have come away with positive thoughts and a better understanding of today's moderate Christians as well as the extremists.

This is a book that I will re-read every couple years.
Lenje
not an entirely new idea, some may find the writing not too articulate. HOWEVER, it gives good example on being "religious" and somewhat "conservative", which also signals "tolerance".
Ryan
This very ambitious book by Jim Wallis is a refreshing read for readers interested in the relationship between politics and religion, here Wallis focuses on his personal Christian conviction. Wallis argues that the American political discourse must be inclusive of religious spiritual values in order to make radical progress on issues of social justice, poverty and foreign policy. Overall I endorse this book and the argument for progressive politics rooted in spiritual values, and the need for co...more
Ben Bush
Read this for a book review back in '05. I know neurotic that I'm logging this stuff but it's interesting for me to see what I remember of these things.
John
Wow what an I opener. I will be suggesting this book to everyone of my Christian friends. When I here someone say separation of church and state again I am going to refer to this book. This nation was built on the Judeo-Christian prophetic teachings and if we are to find our way in the near future we need to first understand to be Christian is to be political. Please read this no matter what your party affiliation and you will come to see as I did that we are all in this together. The Republican...more
Justin Tapp

Someone had brought Jim Wallis to my attention before I read this book, but I didn't remember. (You can Google him yourself to find out his historical support for problematic causes.) Nor was I familiar with Sojourners. I'd like to think this gave me an objective stance in reading this book.

I find Wallis to be a Leftish version of what he criticizes on the Right -- someone who wants to impose his interpretation of Scripture on everyone else in America. Wallis criticizes the evangelical church fo...more
Lainie
I wish I'd read this book years ago. It says so well some of the things that have bounced around my brain for years.

Let me start with a little background on the reader (me) because of course I can only see the book through my own particular lenses. I grew up in a very politically conservative and fairly religiously conservative Christian home. By college (if not before) I knew I didn't quite agree with all I'd been taught. I was very involved with a Southern Baptist group on campus, but also tal...more
Christina
Jan 26, 2010 Christina marked it as abandoned
Wallis’ “new vision for faith and politics in America” was the selection of my parents’ Sunday School class five years ago. I was sort of a member of the class, but I gave up on the book after thirty pages. It’s been on my TBR list ever since, especially since the class had such interesting conversations and reactions to Wallis’ thoughts.

The book — subtitled “Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It” — asks why believing in God and having moral values makes you pro-war, pro-rich,...more
Aurora65
Mar 13, 2013 Aurora65 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aurora65 by: My pastor
To understand the book, you have to understand his audience. If you are already a left-leaning liberal anything, you are not really the target. So please don't pan the book.

If you are an evangelical Christian, trying to understand the place of politics in your faith, then this book will challenge you into the type of action the Bible intended.

It takes a while, but in the end Wallis puts an emphasis on moving Christians to act for global justice and stewardship. For some Christians this is a ne...more
Danny Bennett
I gotta be honest...this book bugged the crap out of me. Probably the biggest issue was that a subtitle of the book talks about how God isn't a Republican or a Democrat, but by the end of the book it doesn't live up to that ideal. According to Wallis (even though I think he'll deny it), God is undoubtedly a Democrat. A lot of his political analysis have no substance and do not look into the issue deeply enough. I was deeply distrubed by the fact that I thought this book divided Christians furthe...more
Amanda
May 27, 2012 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who are serious about applying Scripture to their lives
Recommended to Amanda by: Jack Cole
For content, this book would have gotten five stars, but it loses a star for its writing quality. This book is so very repetitive that it becomes an annoyance. The author has a few favorite phrases he likes to use over and over again (such as describing Martin Luther King, Jr. with "a Bible in one hand and the Constitution in the other"), as well as statistics he likes to constantly remind the reader about (such as thirteen million homeless children in this country). These statements, while init...more
David Sarkies
I first heard about this book when I was sitting in the lounge very late one night with one of my lady friends and watching late night television (the sort that you don't actually watch, but rather have on in the background while you talk about absolutely nothing in particular, and are drinking some form of alcoholic beverage). Anyway, this friend of mine was particularly anti-christian (with the exception of me, because she thought that I actually gave Christianity a good name, or at least unt...more
Robin
I had had my eye on this book since it came out, but finally read it in my ethics class in 2008. Like Traveling Mercies, this book was a revelation.

For many years, I knew that I had certain gut feelings and instincts about how God works, but wasn't really sure on the biblical support for those feelings. Things like erring on the side of love, not hating people, supporting the poor, being anti-war. It feels stupid now to write those things, and I'm not expressing exactly what my inclinations were...more
Tom
I like Jim Wallis. I have liked him for some time. I have also wanted to read this book for some time as well, and I recently did just that. It was good…not incredibly great, but good.

God’s Politics is built on the premise that God is not a republican…or a democrat. Though one tends to see God more as a democrat in this book, I do believe he (Wallis) maintains his balance fairly well. Religion and religious discourse has been co-opted by the right in the political arena. If you are religious the...more
Maureen
Jul 29, 2008 Maureen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Maureen by: UMW
The author of this book is a fundamentalist Christian, but he is also a smart guy who cares about the future of this country. Although I do not concur with all of his political views, he makes some good points about how religion should be part of politics, because it shapes people's values. From his standpoint, helping the poor, children, and the environment; ending war, truth-telling, human rights, responding to terrorism and a continuous ethic of human life are all religious issues.

I have to...more
Joseph
Nov 11, 2008 Joseph rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to Joseph by: Pastor Rich Nathan
Shelves: christian
I was able to hear Jim Wallis speak at the Vineyard when they were having their justice revival during the spring of 2008. It was interesting to hear his fresh perspective on Christian responsibility and accountability.
In his book, he makes a number of worthy challenges to conservative Christians to rethink the issues and values that they hold to the strongest, and to re-prioritize justice and peace over "moral" issues (i.e. homosexuality, abortion, etc.)
While many of his points are true and bi...more
Grumpylibrarian
I want it to be clear that I do not agree with many of the, in my opinion, conservative opinions in this book, but I agree with the fundamental message that social justice and poverty reduction are the single most important global cause of this generation.

Wallis focused too much on his own ministry for my own liking, although I can't find fault in his conviction and faith in his own abilities to motivate the faithful. Maybe working-class America is more conservative and open to sermon than midd...more
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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

...more
More about Jim Wallis...
The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street: A Moral Compass for the New Economy On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good The Soul of Politics: Beyond "Religious Right" and "Secular Left" The Call to Conversion: Why Faith Is Always Personal but Never Private

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“It just doesn’t make spiritual sense to suggest that the evil all lies “out there” with our adversaries and enemies, and none of it is “in here” with us—embedded in our own attitudes, behaviors, and policies.” 4 likes
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