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The (Un)Common Good: How the Gospel Brings…

The (Un)Common Good: How the Gospel Brings Hope to a World Divided

by Jim Wallis

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An updated and revised edition of a previous work by Wallis.

The theme around which the book revolves is the concept of the "common good," what is best for the whole community of people. Wallis then brings his characteristic viewpoints and theology to bear on various subjects relevant to modern culture in light of his endeavor to seek after the common good.

Wallis writes well although there always is that bit of "humblebrag" about his efforts sprinkled throughout. He continues to attempt to marry a strong sense of individual morality with social justice, presenting the strengths of each side of the liberal/conservative divide: a concern for the marginalized in society, the state of race relations, helping people around the world, seeking the welfare even of enemies, civility in politics, making politics worth participating in again, righting economic wrongs without fleecing the rich, etc., while also affirming the integrity of life and the importance of family. He even starts talking about food choices!

For those who have read other works by Wallis most of this will sound familiar, but for those who are new to Wallis it provides a helpful introduction and wide scope of his theological and social viewpoints. For many in Evangelicalism it can be quite attractive since he is trying to straddle both the worlds of "conservative" Christian doctrines and principles along with a strong commitment to social justice and rooted in the Gospel.

Wallis strongly accepts the social and legal legitimacy of same-sex relationships and seems to even find room for them theologically but attempts to water down those views and call for inclusion of "multiple viewpoints" on the issue, at least for the time being, so that maybe through dialogue it will all be sorted out (...and of course we know on whose terms and in whose favor). He's also a big believer in egalitarianism and female leadership roles.

Even if you disagree with him on some things it is good to have to wrestle with what Wallis has to say to expose whether one's viewpoints are really rooted in Scripture or in some sort of cultural consensus that may not be entirely faithful to what Scripture has to say. This would be a good place to start.

**book received as part of early review program ( )
  deusvitae | Oct 23, 2014 |
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