Author Credits North Park Graduate with Inspiring New Book
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 21, 2010) – Jim Wallis says he has North Park University graduate Tim King to thank for his latest book Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street.
King graduated from the university in 2006 and grew up attending Bethany Covenant Church in Bedford, New Hampshire. He started working with Sojourners in 2008, having done community organizing in Chicago and briefly consulting for congressional candidates.
He now works at Sojourners and wears the long title of “Communications Manager and Special Assistant to the CEO.” His duties include accompanying Wallis to various speaking engagements across the country.
“As we traveled together and he heard me speaking and preaching about the need for a moral recovery to accompany the economic one, he was insistent that ‘there is a book here',” Wallis says. “He kept pushing me to write it until I finally agreed, but only after he agreed to work 24/7 in researching it. During some weeks, I think he did.”
King helped shape, research, and edit the book. Wallis asked him to write the Epilogue: Notes from the Next Generation. “His epilogue gives a sense of who this young man is,” Wallis says. “To put it simply, I have never met a person of his age with more intelligence, energy, passion, and commitment than Tim King. His capacity for leadership is extraordinary. I love Tim King, and have no more important partner in the work that I feel so called to do.”
Wallis had long been an inspiration for King, who became involved in fighting social injustice and inspiring others to compassion when he arrived on the North Park campus. Among other activities, he organized an anti-homelessness event that drew 300 students representing a wide swath of political and religious views from across the Midwest.
King says the idea for a book developed as he traveled across the country with Wallis. King knew the book had to be written when he heard his boss preach the sermon, “Sunday School with Jon Stewart.”
“I would sit in the crowd while he preached and see the looks of hope on people’s faces when they heard about the idea of ‘God’s Economy’ and using the crisis as an opportunity to relearn old lessons,” King says. “We started working on an outline and researching soon after that.”
The book advances the idea that the current economic crisis offers an opportunity to return to a more Christian view of “God’s economy.” Wallis writes that Christians should focus on how the crisis will change us rather than when it will end.
The first day of working on the book was a marathon session that King will always remember. “The first time we really sat down to work on the book was at his house on a Saturday morning,” King says. “He made omelets, bacon, and coffee before we got to work on the outline. He was throwing out themes and ideas, and I was typing away when it hit me: here I was sitting at the dining room table of a New York Times best-selling author whose books had been hugely influential in my own life, getting to be a part of the birth of a new work.”
The pair worked almost 14 straight hours. King continues, “As a young person and aspiring writer, the experience was almost surreal.”
Wallis wanted King to help him connect the book’s ideas with a younger generation. King watched Jon Stewart and researched other pop culture references and how they might be woven into the book.
“In addition to the pop culture, I also spent months immersed in reading dozens of books, mostly on economics,” shares King. “I read a lot from the father of modern economics, Adam Smith and then modern conservatives like Milton Friedman and liberals like Paul Krugman. I never realized before how much research goes into a book like this. By the time I was done, I had more than 1,000 pages of just newspaper and magazine clippings, in addition to all the books.”
Writing the epilogue was “exciting but also nerve wracking,” King says. “Jim Wallis is a hard act to follow. But his belief in me that I had something to say on the topic gave me the confidence to try out my own voice. I had a few internal ‘Moses moments’ of feeling that I couldn’t speak, but in the end I think the inspiration of the Spirit broke through.”
In the epilogue, King credits his parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents for modeling a strong faith that involved sacrificing their own desires to meet the needs of others.
That connection to family led King to use the image of being rooted in the faith. “It shows that I can grow into new areas while still being connected to the rest of the tree and drawing nourishment from the roots.”
“I think every generation has a tendency to want to reinvent the wheel, especially when it comes to the church and faith,” King says. “There are things that I see in the previous generations that I don’t agree with or want to change, but that doesn’t mean I should cut myself off from that tradition. One of the things I appreciate the most are older and wiser mentors who are willing to pass along their wisdom and experience, but also recognize that a younger generation won’t just copy what they did.”