AMERICA'S ORIGINAL SIN: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America. By Jim Wallis. Foreword by Bryan Stevenson. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016. Xxv + 238 pages.
Racism is America's original sin. That is a very theological diagnosis, but an accurate one. It is a sin that has festered in our midst from the earliest days of European exploration and settlement to the present. It is a sin that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is deeply embedded in the American psyche, and even today many of us live in denial that one can be infected by this sin. Yet, the evidence suggests otherwise.
Jim Wallis is a Christian activist who has attempted to address this reality throughout his adult life and ministry. He is aware that his own reality is affected by his own ethnicity. He, like me, benefits from what we have been calling white privilege. He has been involved in this work through the auspices of Sojourners, a leading Christian social justice ministry. Jim comes at this conversation from an interesting perspective. That being his roots in Detroit. Metro-Detroit, which is my home at this time, has experienced deep racial divides that even today are difficult to bridge. He witnessed this growing up and it has influenced his own vision of ministry and engagement in public life.