The American Evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, interviews Jim Wallis (Where Jim Wallis Stands). Evidently, they are putting his evangelical credentials to the test and unfortunately Wallis sounds more defensive in parts of it. I can’t help but wonder if Ted Olson (the interviewer) is simply trying to play devil’s advocate’ or if he really thinks only in the ‘this or that’ categories he pushes Wallis on. I recommend this article because I hear in it the struggles Wallis has in trying to politically think through the two standard issues of the Religious Right – abortion and homosexuality. He has some honest reflections there and tries to point out, particularly on the abortion debate that this is a cultural problem that’s not going to go way simply by passing laws:
People make the mistake of defining prophetic by politically left and right categories, and that the further left or right you are, the more prophetic you are. They’re not biblically prophetic; they’re politically ideological. I think the prophetic stance right now in the pitched legal stalemate on abortion is abortion reduction. Instead of endless, meaningless debates about the law and constitutional amendments, let’s actually save some unborn lives. People can disagree with my stance, and say the constitutional amendment to ban abortion is the prophetic stance. I don’t believe it is.
I haven’t read much of Jim Wallis (a few online articles and his Sojourner’s blog), but I did hear him speak and preach when he came to Duke Divinity School. I was very impressed with him. As in the article, he mentions that theological issues are not unimportant, but there is a time and place. He told the story of a protest where he, Tony Campolo, and others were arrested. In jail, he overheard Campolo and a fellow protester (a Jewish rabbi) arguing over Christology. That seems to be the model he wants for engagement in unity over social justice and differences in theological issues!