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

5 Star, Religion & Politics of Religion
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Jim Wallis

5.0 out of 5 stars TImely — Relevant to 2014 and 2016, March 29, 2013

God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It is in my view the better book, here is the first sentence from my review of that book in 2005:

“Jim Wallis has my vote to be Chaplain to the Nation. This is an extraordinary book. Indeed, if the President has a Science advisor, I have to ask myself, why doesn't he have a Faith advisor?”

Along with Rabbi Michael Lerner, Michael Down, Howard Bloom, and yes, I love him so, Rev. Al Sharpton, I believe that Jim Wallis is one of the kindest wisest voices around, an essential contributor to what must inevitably be an era of truth & reconciliation if we are to avoid another war of secession, but this time breaking up into The Nine Nations of North America.

Some books I read from back to front, and this is one of those, so let me start by saying that at the very end he provides a list of ten decisions we can all make, and also points out that we are beginning the third battle of faith in US history. The first was the battle to bring faith into the public sphere and stop its being sidelined as a private matter between man and God; the second battle, still on-going, is the perversion of faith by the fundamentalists, making it all about sexuality instead of about community. This third battle picks up the banner for the powerless, and is about “what kind of society.” Of course this reminds me of What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States.

I have no quarrel with anything in this book, other than to lament the author appears to believe that politics is defined by two parties, and does not recognize that there are EIGHT accredited national political parties in the USA (Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Libertarian, and Socialist are the other six), and that the Independents are now the largest “party” in terms of voice, followed by the Libertarians. The Democrats and Republicans make up for lower numbers with outrageous corruption of the entire electoral process so as to retain their death grip on the public purse and the right to borrow one trillion a year “in our name.” Certainly I agree with the author when he observes that politics has lost its way and is no longer about the public interest, but instead has become a form of idolatry.

QUOTE (11): God's politics is most concerned with the powerless.

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REVIEWS PENDING — All Three Books Recommended

00 Pending Reviews

The following books are in line for review over this coming week, in the order in which they have been published or will be published.

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RELEASED:  13 February 2013.  No reviews at Amazon.

How have the intelligence services been forced to adapt to try and combat the threat of terrorism? In this gripping book, former security correspondent Mark Huband takes us inside the shadowy world of intelligence-gathering. Drawing on previously unseen material, unpublished letters and exclusive interviews, he explores how the role and purpose of ‘intelligence' has evolved from its origins in nineteenth-century Ireland to today's fight against terrorism. Using his unique sources, he exposes the hidden blunders of the western intelligence agencies, such as the CIA's total misreading of the KGB's intentions during the Cold War, and the politicisation of intelligence in the build up to the Iraq War, and throws light on their evolving methods, including the manipulation of the media. Ranging from Kandahar to Belfast, this fast-paced book provides not only a compelling account of modern spycraft but a thoughtful and sobering analysis of its current fitness to combat the threat of 21st century terrorism.

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RELEASED EARLY: 22 March 2013.  1 idiot review at Amazon flagged for deletion.

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side.”–Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln led America through one of the most tumultuous times in our nation's history. Reading his words today, it is clear we still have much to learn concerning what it means to be on God's side.

”There are few people on the scene who can put together mature Christianity with mature politics without compromising either. Jim Wallis does it best–and does it again here.”  —Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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RELEASE DATE IN APRIL 2013. No reviews allowed until release.

Told with candor and passion, Collapse of Dignity is Gómez’s account of the union’s fight, mounted in the face of traitors, armed aggression, death threats, and a political alliance extending all the way up to the presidential residence at Los Pinos. As he fends off absurdly complex legal charges, organizes the resistance from exile in Canada, and uncovers an anti-union conspiracy stretching back to years before the explosion, he only becomes more committed to fighting for the rights of Los Mineros—and by extension the workers of every country.

Gómez’s story is one of outrage, but also one of hope. Though Collapse of Dignity lays bare sickening injustice and inexcusable aggression against the Mexican working class, it is at its core a fervent call for a global workers’ movement that will represent the fundamental rights of every person who works for a living.

Collapse of Dignity is an unblinking and unnerving look inside our world’s labor struggle. Gómez’s incredible account of the fight for justice in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity is a warning, a lesson, and—ultimately—an impassioned call for international change. Essential reading for any working person.”  —Thom Hartmann, Author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

“A riveting story about standing up to big corporations, Collapse of Dignity delivers a message for us all: We the People must force the global corporatocracy to serve us, the workers and consumers. The contrast between Chile and Mexico is a striking call to action.”  —John Perkins, New York Times Bestselling Author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Hoodwinked

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Review: God’s Politics–Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (Hardcover)

5 Star, Religion & Politics of Religion

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5.0 out of 5 stars Jim Wallis for National Chaplain–Extraordinary Book,

May 4, 2005
Jim Wallis
Jim Wallis has my vote to be Chaplain to the Nation. This is an extraordinary book. Indeed, if the President has a Science advisor, I have to ask myself, why doesn't he have a Faith advisor?

I recommend this book be read together with “Faith-Based Diplomacy” by Douiglas Johnson, and “The Soul of Capitalism” by William Greider. This hard-hitting book is full of both common sense and scholarship. Over-all it slams both Right and Left–the Right for claiming that Jesus is pro-war, pro-rich, and a selective moralist; the Left for not embracing faith and God as part of the politics of America.

Early in the book I am immediately won over by the author's preliminary manifesto in his preface: we who have faith are not single-issue voters; we believe that poverty is a religious issue; that caring for God's earth is a religious issue; that war–and making peace–is a religious issue; that truth-telling is a religious issue; that human rights are a religious issue; that our response to terrorism is a religious issue; and finally, that a consistent ethic of human life is a religious issue.

Throughout this book the author returns again and again, to a theme that I am now seeing everywhere: morality matters. The author is superb at relating the power of faith and the morality of religion (not pretentious morality, but practiced morality) to the real world. On pages 105-107, if you are glancing through the book in a bookstore, he repeats key points he made a year after 9-11 on how to defeat terrorism–among his ten points a few simply leap off the page: 4. Let's define terrorism the right way, and allow no double standards. 5. Attack not only the symptoms, but also the root causes of terrorism. 6. The solutions to terrorism are not primarily military. And so on.

Poverty, economic justice, and *moral* capitalism are the underlying challenges that confront the author, and he does a really fine job in this book of showing how America will never be safe if we fail to address global as well as homeland poverty. (In this regard, see my reviews of “Working Poor” by David K. Shipler, and “Nickled and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich.)

The book ends with an extraordinary list of 50 predictions for the future. This list, by itself, is worth the price of the book. #45 is consistent with the eight movements centering around collective intelligence: “All our media will be owned by two or three corporate conglomerates unless and effective movement rises up to stop this trend and restore a genuinely democratic public discourse.” I have the strong feeling that the author's faith is being tested by both the Right and the Left–indeed, in the social and economic policy arena, the author, from a religious point of view, is a perfect counter-part to the Chairman of the Council of Foreign Relations, Peter Petersen, whose book, “Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It,” is the practical counterpart to “God's Politics.”

This is a world-class, Nobel-level discourse.

See also:
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury
The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right
Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political SeductionReligion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right
Piety & Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom
Dogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moors
Thank God for Evolution!: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World
The Complete Conversations with God (Boxed Set)
Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik

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