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America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America

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America's problem with race has deep roots, with the country's foundation tied to the near extermination of one race of people and the enslavement of another. Racism is truly our nation's original sin.

"It's time we right this unacceptable wrong," says bestselling author and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis. Fifty years ago, Wallis was driven away from his faith by a white church that considered dealing with racism to be taboo. His participation in the civil rights movement brought him back when he discovered a faith that commands racial justice. Yet as recent tragedies confirm, we continue to suffer from the legacy of racism. The old patterns of white privilege are colliding with the changing demographics of a diverse nation. The church has been slow to respond, and Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week.

In America's Original Sin, Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians--particularly white Christians--urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing.

Whenever divided cultures and gridlocked power structures fail to end systemic sin, faith communities can help lead the way to grassroots change. Probing yet positive, biblically rooted yet highly practical, this book shows people of faith how they can work together to overcome the embedded racism in America, galvanizing a movement to cross the bridge to a multiracial church and a new America.

From the Back Cover

A book that every white person--especially every white Christian--must read.

"Jim Wallis marches among our hardiest and most steadfast pioneers on the path to a more perfect union and a more vibrant faith. America's Original Sin is a powerful act of Spirit-led truth telling and a loving disruption of the status quo. Wallis calls us to transcend racial categories and to see in one another the image of God. He points out the structural realities of sinful racism and makes clear that to be redeemed, we must do more than deny it. This is required reading for all who believe in the promises of God, hope for the American democracy, and long to see the power of a justice ethos grounded in love."
--Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president, North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP; author of The Third Reconstruction

"I have been waiting a long time for this book. I have been waiting for a white, male, evangelical Christian to say what Jim Wallis has the courage to say. Jim, in his own inimitable way, invites us into a conversation about America's original sin that is long overdue. America, the church, the criminal justice system, and, indeed, all of us, need to engage in the level of truth telling that he is calling for in this book."
--Cynthia L. Hale, senior pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, Georgia

"Jim Wallis, the nation's preeminent evangelical prophetic teacher and preacher, sends a tough love letter to America, demanding and daring the church not only to repent of the 'original sin' of racism but also to join the fight against all forms of racial injustice. I encourage everyone who is concerned about our democracy and who desires to see the church live out its true mission of love and justice to read this prophetic epistle."
--Otis Moss III, senior pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois

"In the face of the implicit and often unconscious structures of racism, 'it's time for white Christians to be more Christian than white,' says Jim Wallis. If you don't understand this quote--or if you do--read America's Original Sin. Wallis unpacks for white Americans how we lost our souls, and he maps out the road of repentance to systemic and personal racial healing."
--Sharon E. Watkins, general minister and president, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

"For decades, Jim Wallis has steadfastly spoken, written, and lived as one committed to racial justice and reconciliation. This book is a consummate distillation of those themes that leans back to remember 'America's original sin,' principally to rivet our attention and commitment to a different future. This is a sobering and motivating act of hope."
--Mark Labberton, president, Fuller Theological Seminary

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Foreword by Bryan Stevenson
Preface: June 17
Introduction: You Will Know the Truth, and the Truth Will Set You Free
1. Race Is a Story
2. The Parables of Ferguson and Baltimore
3. The Original Sin and Its Legacy
4. Repentance Means More Than Just Saying You're Sorry
5. Dying to Whiteness
6. A Segregated Church or a Beloved Community?
7. From Warriors to Guardians
8. The New Jim Crow and Restorative Justice
9. Welcoming the Stranger
10. Crossing the Bridge to a New America

Product Details

  • Title : America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America
  • Authors:
    • Wallis, Jim
    • Stevenson, Bryan
  • Publisher: Brazos Press
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • ISBN: 9781493403486

Jim Wallis is an author, activist, preacher, teacher, and pastor. He is a bestselling writer, convener of faith-inspired movements for justice and peace both outside and inside politics, public theologian in a secular culture, renowned speaker in the United States and abroad, and international media commentator on ethics and public life. He is the founder and leader of Sojourners, a magazine, movement, and global network whose mission is to put faith into action for social justice. Wallis has written more than ten books, including The (Un)Common Good and the New York Times bestsellers God's Politics and The Great Awakening. He has written for major newspapers, does regular columns for top digital news networks, and appears frequently on a wide variety of television and radio networks. Wallis also teaches at Georgetown University and has taught at Harvard University. He is husband to Joy Carroll, one of the first women to be ordained a priest in the Church of England, father to two teenage boys, Luke and Jack, and a decades-long Little League baseball coach.


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