Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Great Awakening

[Ed. note: this was originally posted on my professional blog, before it was solely a professional blog.  All comments were lost in the transfer- sorry!]

I didn't know it was possible to become even more of a Jim Wallis groupie. Then I saw him speak. Last Tuesday Jim lectured a packed room (I do mean packed- people were sitting on the floor right up to the podium, standing in the back, and crowding the overflow room) in Edman Chapel at Wheaton College. The lecture was sponsored by the Center for Applied Christian Ethics. Given that Wheaton used to ban Jim up until the last couple of years, the times sure do seem to be a-changin'. CACE's theme this year is Christian moral engagement in society, particularly politics and the upcoming election. Wallis, author, founder of Sojourners, head of "Call to Renewal," is more than qualified to address this topic.

I was lucky enough to sit in the second row in front of the podium, thanks to Ellen's seat-saving savvy. A week later and I'm still processing all that Jim covered. Some of the highlights from my notes:

-Christians should be the ultimate swing vote. We should not be in anyone's pocket.

-There are two great hungers in our culture today: spirituality and social justice.

-The country is not hungry for a Religious Left that behaves like the Religious Right. Don't go left or right, go deeper.

-Discussing Luke 4: if our gospel is not the gospel of good news to poor people, it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

-Faith prompts hope, creates action, leads to change.

Jim challenged us in the end. Will we choose hope or cynicism? Hope is believing in spite of the evidence and watching the evidence change. Every change begins with one person believing that change is possible and that change becomes their life. Very inspirational words.

Hearing Jim speak, I am challenged to become more involved in the issues we face. I am choosing to hope and that means action. I don't know where this will take me but the world seems full of possibilites right now. After the lecture, I was able to meet Jim and get my book signed. I told him that he had been my saving grace during the 2004 election. (Read God's Politics if you're unsure why.) The woman behind me echoed my words with a resounding "Amen!" Amen indeed.

Listen to Jim's talk for yourself!

Look at what my pal David has to say.

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