The Gospel According to Jim Wallis

The Washington Post on Jim Wallis…

Jim Wallis is preaching about a Bible torn apart. Wallis tells the crowd at the Seattle Pacific University chapel that when he was in seminary, a fellow student took hold of an old Bible and cut out “every single reference to the poor.”

“And when we were done, that Bible was literally in shreds. It was falling apart in my hands. It was a Bible full of holes. I would take it out to preach and say, ‘Brothers and sisters, this is our American Bible.’”

Wallis pauses. “It’s like someone has stolen our faith. And when someone tries to hijack your faith, you know what? There comes a time when you have to take it back!”

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  • Brian

    Watching them on the big screen, I know I thought Childredn of Men was better-shot. Watching them on screener tapes, like a lot of the Academy voters probably did, might produce a different reaction.

  • Campbell Andrews

    Truly groundbreaking work isn’t usually rewarded till much later, if ever. In any contest, people tend to vote for the safe and obvious, not the daring and demanding. It’s in good company.

  • wngl

    I’m with you, Jeff. More like “Spam’s Labyrinth” y’ask me.

  • Campbell Andrews

    Truly groundbreaking work isn’t usually rewarded till much later. It’s in good company.

  • D. Ian Dalrymple

    I’m with you, Jeffrey. Much as I loved PL, I thought CofM should have had it for cinematography.

  • Nate

    I think prefer the molten-lava color scheme in Pan’s Labyrinth to the ashen palette in Children of Men, but I was rooting for Lubezki all the way. Why? For political reasons, of course!

    Seriously though, I thought those showboating long takes were enough to win Lubezki the Oscar. Apparently, everybody else thought so, too!

  • Julio

    Camera movement and blocking is often a collaboration between the director and DP with the director usually getting final say (and the lion’s share of the credit, fair or not).

    Cinematography awards, at least as I understand them, tend to have more to do with the film’s lighting, film stock choices, etc.. that combine to give the film it’s overall look.

    So from that perspective, that evens the playing field between Pan’s Labryinth and Children of Men a bit more. I still would have voted for Children of Men, personally, but there you have it…kinda.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Geoffrey, I’ve been trying to reach you. Email me!

  • Geoffrey S. DeWeese

    Wallis’s point is not that Christians don’t give to the poor, but that the “Christian Right” movement does not make social justice a central tenent of their political power. Rather than being all about abortion and gays, he believes that we should first be feeding looking to the points of the Sermon on the Mount for our priorities.

    Further, he is frustrated with the Left for being anti religous. In this regard he’d trumpet the amount of giving by Christians to show that we do care, and he wonders why the Left is so insistent that Faith be left outside the public realm.

    I can’t agree with all of Wallis’s positions, but he is an important voice to help reshape how Christians, and non-Christians, view Faith and Politics.

  • Justin

    Actually, the statistics are out: Conservative Christians outgive liberal Christians by a small margin and “secular” liberals or conservatives by a wider margin. This is from a book called “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism” by Arthur C. Brooks, which was recently released.

    This should absolutely not be used by Conservative Christians to pat themselves on the back. The left hand/right hand thing Jesus talked about still holds true. However, it only puts Wallis’ comments in a more frustrating light. We all need to love those in need as if they were Jesus themselves. Good Christians will disagree on how to do this. The challenge apparently is to work without accusing the other side of ignoring Scripture because they won’t do it our way. Wallis apparently has this problem, as do some Christian Conversative leaders.

  • Tompaul

    Problem today on the political end of things is that government has become for the corporations, by the corporations, with few speaking out for those lost in the shuffle. Read biblical passages like Isaiah 1:23 and the prophet is definitely addressing a political issue of social justice, not just encouraging the local Salvation Army thrift store.

    On the spiritual side of things, I’m far too guilty of not doing enough to help the disadvantaged nearby, and I’m afraid I’m a pretty typical Christian in that regard. I just sent some toys to Central America with a mission trip group, but all around me in my major American city are people who could never afford a house as nice as mine–a house that costs less than half of what it would have in the area I recently moved from. Christians have a duty to speak out on issues like health care and minimum wage, and if most Christians are anything like me–and I think they are–they’re not doing a tithe of what they should on the “home front.” Preach on, Brother Wallis.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Quite so. Of course, Wallis’s point goes beyond merely telling Christians to help the poor — he wants the secular government to help the poor according to his interpretation of Christian values, using the tax money that the government takes from citizens both Christian and non-Christian. And what basis there is for that in the Bible, I don’t know.

    Incidentally, in the Post article, Wallis says that “every major social movement in our nation’s history — abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, child labor law reform and, of course, civil rights — was fueled and driven in large part by religion.” He carefully omits any mention of Prohibition, which was also a major social movement promoted by “progressive” Christians.

    Government needs to know its limits, and replacing a “religious right” agenda with a “religious left” agenda isn’t necessarily going to help in that regard.

  • M. Cruz

    It’s hard enough to hear stuff like this from the world, let alone fellow Christians. I don’t know where this assumption comes from, that Christians (and American Christians in particular) are not helping the poor.

    I don’t have statistics, but I am sure they would bear it out that out of various people groups it’s people of faith who give and help the most. (Not even counting the various charitable and relief organizations that were started because of the Biblical teaching to help the poor and needy.)

    Is there room for improvement in the area of giving and helping? Of course. But to come from the assumption that Christians have forgotten the poor is not accurate.


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