The Common Good

My Prayer for Traveling Mercies

Sojomail - February 7, 2008


Bleeding-heart liberals could accomplish far more if they reached out to build common cause with bleeding-heart conservatives.

- Columnist Nicholas Kristof, in an article titled, "Evangelicals a Liberal Can Love." One example he cites: "In parts of Africa where bandits and warlords shoot or rape anything that moves, you often find that the only groups still operating are Doctors Without Borders and religious aid workers: crazy doctors and crazy Christians."(Source: The New York Times)

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A Lenten Prayer for Traveling Mercies

This post is drawn from a message I sent to our staff at Sojourners, thanking them for their hard work and support as I begin the exhausting pace of The Great Awakening book tour. I'd like to share it with you as well. I really need your prayers, and I wanted to share with you the prayer that I will be saying every day—likely again and again! It is from Charles de Foucauld. He was a French aristocrat who joined the French army in Algeria, then left it, and lived there identifying with the people, serving the poor, learning the language, and sought to found a new religious order, which became The Little Brothers of Jesus. His is a compelling story about how "great awakenings" begin with faithful journeys of discipleship. Charles de Foucauld lived from 1858 to 1916, a Catholic contemplative at the time of the 19th-century revivals.

Here is his prayer that I will be using during the book tour. It's called The Prayer of Abandonment—something I am not particularly good at. Maybe his prayer might also be helpful to you, and perhaps we could pray it together during these important days for this movement of faith justice. Thank you all. I hope and pray that it will further the mission that draws together all among you who consider yourselves Sojourners.

Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.


+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

With Romney Out, Will Coulter Campaign for Clinton? (by Becky Garrison)

Conservative pundits and Religious Right power-brokers went into extra innings to ensure that Romney would score some serious home runs on Super Tuesday. As they stepped up to the plate, some of their plays veered into foul territory. For example, Ann Coulter struck out by stating that if McCain wins the nomination, she will actually campaign for Hillary Clinton.

Dialogue at Davos (by Brian McLaren)

In late January I had the great honor of being a participant in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. I was invited to participate in dialogue among Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders about "improving the state of the world."

Young, Brown, and Weird (by Anna Almendrala)

I don't count myself as oppressed or downtrodden—one of the good things about going to a majority white school in California is that it pretty much correlates to receiving an excellent public education (once you put all the privileged kids in the same institution, their privilege usually follows them). I made it into University of California-Berkeley straight out of high school, so I guess being called a "chink" once a year was totally worth it.

A New Baptist Unity for Social Justice (by Adam Taylor)

As an associate minister at a church that's a member of both the American Baptist Church and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, I straddle the historic black and predominantly white Baptist worlds. It was significant that this gathering took place in the seat of the South and demonstrated a genuine commitment to uniting across the racial divide. An entire worship service focused on the theme of welcoming the stranger and dealt head-on with the polemical issue of immigration - emphasizing the need for a biblically-based response characterized by compassion, mercy, and justice.

Super Tuesday Liveblog: What Will (or Won't) Dobson Do? (by Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

Back in October, Diana Butler Bass asked on this blog, "What Will Dobson Do?" Back then, Guiliani was the front-runner and Dobson was threatening to bolt the party if he became the nominee. Today, he sent an alert to Focus on the Family Action lamenting: "But what a sad and melancholy decision this is for me and many other conservatives. Should Sen. McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can't vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life."

Super Tuesday Liveblog: They Did It Again (by Duane Shank)

The Democratic exit poll asks the standard questions about church attendance (where Barack Obama swept the board among those who attend more than weekly, weekly, monthly, a few times a year, or never), and about religion (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, other, or none -- where Obama also won all categories). In the Republican exit poll, they asked the same two questions, but then also asked whether the person was a "born-again or evangelical Christian."

Beyond Super Tuesday (by Mary Nelson)

I haven't seen as much interest around a primary election in a long time. Despite the experiences of defeat around issues so important to my low-income community - the fear of recession, the dragged-out Iraq war and the billions of dollars diverted for war that we need spent on improving the health and future of our youth - there is a tangible sense of hope and possibilities. As Caroline Kennedy told of her own experience, youth are speaking out to their parents about the future, about the candidates, and getting involved. There will be change in whoever becomes president, and that gives us hope for a new direction for the country, especially in how we spend our money.

Crazy Evangelicals (by Brian McLaren)

As an evangelical, I occasionally watch late-night religious broadcasting and the word "crazy" comes to mind in a different way. But thankfully, Kristoff is right: there's a new kind of craziness spreading among evangelicals. It's the belief that the impossible can happen – that yes, we can stop global warming, yes, we can redirect the economy to benefit the poor majority, and yes, we can build bridges of peace instead of razor-wire-topped walls of distrust.

American Gangster, Jim Wallis

Last week we began the national 20-city book tour for The Great Awakening in Portland, Oregon, at a majestic old venue called the Bagdad theater. It's a renovated 1920s era cinema, one part Grand Old Opry and two parts Ali Baba – complete with a retro, neon-lit marquee. Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to the theater to find my name up in lights immediately above the name of the feature film screening later that evening. It read...

The Millennials Are Waking Up (by Cara Boekeloo)

During the 2004 election cycle, I was bombarded repeatedly with messages about how young voters had failed to be involved in the electoral process. My generation—the Millennials—was failing to live up to its potential, it seemed. This time we're starting to shake things up—and people are taking note.

Born-Again Voters Up for Grabs (by Jim Wallis)

A common question over the last few years has been for proof that the movement I describe has a real and measurable constituency. "Give us a sign," they say. The headline from the latest Barna Group report is another such sign: Born-Again Voters No Longer Favor Republican Candidates.

Keeping Up With Our Elders (by Rose Marie Berger)

Because I was born in 1963, I qualify as a bottom-of-the-barrel "baby boomer" (a person born between 1946 and 1964). I'm not ready to make a post-workforce transition or second-half-of-life vocational shift, but I'm watching my elders who are.

A Dose of Inaugurated Eschatology (by Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

Far from advancing a "politics only" solution, because evil and sin are real, and because they are manifest in our worst social problems, it takes a work of the Spirit to really change things.


The Great Awakening Makes The New York Times Best-seller List

We did it! Thanks so much to everyone who responded to our call to help put Jim’s newest book, The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America, on The New York Times best-seller list.

The Great Awakening is now officially #10 on The New York Times list, which will appear in the paper this Sunday, Feb. 10.

Here at Sojourners, we’ve learned how critical the list is to getting the media attention for our message. Because of thousands of readers like you, a voice for progressive faith is now being heard nationally – from interviews on talk radio shows to local newspaper coverage to national news networks.

Find out more about The Great Awakening at our new book Web site: There you can find (or start!) a book group in your area, download a free study guide or screensaver, and watch a video about the book.


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Top Stories:

Jim Wallis: Primaries Show Evangelicals Moving in a Different Direction
Christianity Today online
Jim Wallis is still preaching that God is not a Republican or a Democrat. The Sojourners president appeared on the Jon Stewart show January 22, and his book will be announced at #10 on The New York Times best-seller list later this week. He spoke with Christianity Today about the election and his take on the candidates and the evangelical agenda.

Is there a Great Awakening? Q&A with Jim Wallis
Seattle Times
In the Rev. Jim Wallis' previous best-seller, God's Politics, the editor, speaker, and self-described progressive evangelical claimed that the religious right had narrowed discussion of moral issues to a very narrow agenda, while the political left has shown disdain for faith and moral-values talk.

Religious Right and the GOP
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Editorial: Healing; Harshness Opposed
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Putting Jesus back in politics, at last!
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Evangelicals a Liberal Can Love
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Politics Watch
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Islam and Christianity: changing the subject; Pope Benedict and Muslims
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"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.


Christians. Muslims. Hindus. Buddhists. And so many more. We can fight. Or not - as shown in Borders and Bridges: Mennonite Witness in a Religiously Diverse World. "These honest, unpretentious stories reveal decades of Mennonite involvement in interfaith relationships. They should do much to dispel the popular idea that religion only makes conflicts worse." - Gayle Gerber Koontz, Professor of Theology and Ethics, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. For information and orders see

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