The Great Awakening Tour

February 29, 2008

activism / politics / theology

Jim Walls, who wrote God’s Politics, recently released The Great Awakening. Along with the book’s release, he is traveling around the country on The Great Awakening Tour.
The event is described like this:

“What would it take to end extreme poverty, to address climate change, to create peace?

For too long, a narrow religious agenda has been used like a wedge to divide people. But a wider and deeper vision of faith and values is emerging. It’s a renewal of faith – a great awakening – that combines personal faith with social justice. A new social movement is on the rise. The Great Awakening is upon us. “

From time to time, Sojourners, Jim Wallis’ organization, seems a bit naive with the way it wants faith to impact politics. Some of this is the language that is used to describe things, and some of it is probably what is actually being expressed.

But with things like this book, and the tour accompanying it, they really perceive something that is happening, and the potential for growth to happen, in the way that faith relates to politics in the United States. A recent blog post from Jim Wallis says this:

This doesn't mean young evangelicals are automatically becoming Democrats (and I don't think they should). It does mean that their agenda is broader and deeper, no longer beholden to a single partisan ideology – more concerned with 30,000 children dying daily of poverty and disease than with gay marriage amendments in Ohio.

Theologically, these 20-somethings are abandoning a worldview that reduces the gospel of Jesus Christ to an afterlife-oriented, fire-insurance, salvation pitch. These are Matthew 25, Luke 4, and "Sermon on the Mount" Christians. They really believe that the kingdom of God represents God's best hopes and dreams for this present age, not only for the life to come.

This goes alongside any number of other things that God is doing in the United States, specifically. He’s doing amazing things in the rest of the world, and it is easy to be discouraged by the situation here in the States. He is asking us to begin to see past our attempts to box in the ways we expect and want him to interact with us. For many years, there have been people at the forefront of new things that he is doing, and I believe that things like this indicate that their message can have an impact.