Sunday, April 10, 2005

4 dots for God's Politics

Just finished God's Politics, by Jim Wallis. In it, he suggests a "third way," a way of bridging the left and right politically and religiously, finding common ground around issues both sides can agree on. For example, he assserts that most people on the Left who are pro choice, would rather women not have abortions. Why not form partnerships with those on the right, to give women alternatives to abortion (adoption, foster care), as well as reduce the economic circumstances that lead women to have abortions.

Time and time again, Wallis points out that conservatives are correct when they emphasize choice and ethics, and liberals are correct when they emphasize the economic, cultural, and political factors that keep people down.

Here are some of his more interesting "predictions for the New Millenium:"
  1. The Religious Right will lose control of the discussion of religion and public life and other voices will be heard.
  2. The Spice Girls (who?) will not be remembered, and Martin Luther King, Jr. will.
  3. Overcoming poverty will become the great moral issue as we move into the new millennium.
  4. Some liberals will get the values questions right, and some conservatives will really care about poor people.
  5. So a new option will emerge; conservative in personal values, radical for social justice. The number of spiritual progressives will grow.
  6. More parents will choose good books over mindless and soulless television.
  7. The Left will decide, as the conservatives already have, that ideas are important and will begin to offer some better ones.
My students and I began a discussion in class last week on how to overcome poverty, and I told them that Wallis' book was one dot to connect. More on that discussion later.

1 comment:

Michael Westmoreland-White, Ph.D. said...

Great Blog, Kev, although dark screens are harder on my eyes. I liked God's Politics but I had two problems: 1)Wallis advocates, as I long have, ways to find common ground with conservatives on abortion. But he doesn't address the other huge "wedge issue," equal justice for sexual minorities. I don't see an easy way around this cultural divide. The good news is that, across the board, younger people are overwhelmingly more open
to gay rights than their parents. 2)God's Politics, like its predecessor from the '90s, The Soul of Politics, paints a great vision. But both works by Wallis are lacking in many details about how to get from here to there. I want to see such steps.