Jim Wallis, publisher of Sojourners magazine and author of The Soul of Politics, believes that a new age is dawning for faith-based efforts to address the nation's most pressing social problems: "Service and spirituality are the growing streams of energy, which as they begin to flow together, could create a mighty river of action." In this expansive and hopeful work, the energetic evangelical Christian, who lives in the inner city of Washington, D.C., presents stories of believers who have acted on a positive vision of their faith. He also unravels his experiences of bringing service and spirituality together over a 30-year period.
The book is organized around five themes: engage your world, deepen your understanding, learn your strategy, guide your steps, and think movement. According to Wallis, faith works when you trust your questions, get out of the house more often, use your gift, throw away all labels, find new allies, and search for common good. Wallis offers strategies for cooling youth violence, giving children a good start, helping welfare recipients succeed in work, creating more equitable institutions, and moving beyond racism. He wants to establish new alliances between middle-class and poor people in order to deal with the growing gap between the rich and the very poor, which he aptly calls the 900-pound gorilla sitting in the living room of every American home.
The faith-based solutions to social problems that Wallis describes here are small-scaled, decentralized, values-based, multi-sector partnerships between government, businesses, and religious groups. Twenty-first century ecumenism has already been forged in soup kitchens and homeless shelters. It is the wave of the future.