A PRESENTATION, "The Uncommon Good", was given by the Revd Jim
Wallis on Saturday afternoon.
Mr Wallis said that he was not aware of any Church in the world
doing as much work on the subject of the Common Good as the Church
of England. The Common Good had become "quite uncommon", and this
had become both a "tremendous problem" and "for us, a great
The largest growing religious affiliation was the "nones" (those
ticking the "no religion" box). Most believed in God, but they
"don't want to affiliate with religion because of what we have or
have not done". They were attracted, however, to "those who are
doing something to change their communities".
The Common Good was an ancient idea that had been forgotten. It
was "absent" in Washington, DC, the "most dysfunctional political
city in the world". But there was a hunger for it among politicians
"who say it has never felt this bad".
He said: "Our life together can be better. We are such a shallow
and selfish nation in need of conversion from looking out for just
ourselves and our tribe, our party, our bubble, our group, our
class, our race, to looking out for one another."
He continued: "Loving your neighbour as yourself is supposed to
mean loving other people's kids as much as your own." He gave the
example of the thousands of undocumented, unaccompanied minors
arriving in the States.
Religion made a "big mistake when its primary public posture is
to protect itself and its own interests". It was "much better when
we lead and care about the needs of everyone, not just in our own
community, but in a pluralist democracy that we inspire and serve
in ways that make people say, 'Huh. I wonder why they do
He regretted that "most American Christians are clearly
Americans first. Sociology trumps our theology." The "privatising
of faith" had led people to walk away. The Pope was changing
He asked: "What will you do in your workplace to provide
leadership to implement that mission statement?" Christians had
underestimated human sin in economics, politics, and Churches, but
also underestimated the "radical power of hope, which is our best
contribution to changing the world".