Linda Anderson attends the launch of Jim Wallis's new book God’s Politics, Why the American Right Gets it Wrong and the Left doesn’t Get It.
'I love Christian Aid,' says Jim Wallis, which is a fitting message for its supporters to hear on Valentine’s Day.
Jim Wallis is a long time friend of Christian Aid, and is featured on the Act Justly video – www.surefish.co.uk/actjustly.
Around 250 people filled the chapel of Christ Church and Upton on February 13, home of church.co.uk, to hear Wallis speak at the launch of his latest book God’s Politics, Why the American Right Gets it Wrong and the Left doesn’t Get It.
Jim may have been preaching to the converted – but there is a time to rally the faithful and perhaps this was it. He said what the audience wanted to hear, that God is not an American, not a Republican, and not a TV evangelist.
Neither – as the Right may suggest - is he only interested in banning abortion and gay marriage. Issues which have alienated many, in particular the secular fundamentalists on the Left.
Instead, Jim reminded us of a God who spoke through his prophets of the need to feed the poor, to protect creation, and to “drain the swamps of injustice in which the mosquitoes of violence breed”.
His statistics were familiar, for example, the silent tsunami of poverty that kills 30,000 a day. His quotes were an inspiration, one 11 year old said to him:“I think we’re just going to have to change the world”.
Jim encouraged us to believe that’s possible. We can choose hope over cynicism. Hope is a decision we make because of our faith, believing in spite of the evidence and watching the evidence change.
Steve Chalke responded to Jim with thanks, and an exhortation to the church to deepen its confidence, to engage and speak out. To those who fear compromising their faith through involvement in politics: “To not be involved politically is the greatest compromise the church has already made”.
Martyn Joseph sang to us about summit meetings and infant slaughter, of journeys, injustice and and refugees. Touching hearts and minds with the prayer that God “Turn us Tender” again.
Nowhere near enough time for questions – but the last word was left to Jim. The biggest mistake the church ever made was privatising religion. God is personal but never private and it is about time we for converted to the public God.
A glass of wine followed along with time to buy a book, shake Jim’s hand and get another message from Jim: “Christian Aid is right about Trade Justice.”
The faithful left rallied and renewed, and maybe just a step closer to changing the world.
Read The Observer's interview with Jim Wallis
Martyn Joseph interview