Book Size: 9" x 6"

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781623718268

Imprint: Interlink Books

Release date: Summer 2022

Foreword by: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II & Phyllis Bennis

Categories: , ,

Glory to God in the Lowest

Journeys to an Unholy Land


$ 20

Glory to God in the Lowest provides a rare view of the spiritual turmoil which led Don Wagner, an untypical Christian Evangelical, to a painful life journey of unpredictable commitment to helping the Lowest, or the Palestinian, and discovering along the way what is unholy about American foreign policy and its totem pole of values. ” ”Ghada Hashem Talhami, D. K. Pearson’s Professor of Politics, emeriti, Lake Forest College

About this book

A personal, political, and religious journey from Evangelical Christian faith and conservative politics to solidarity with the poor and advocacy for anti-war, anti-racism, and Palestinian rights.

After serving for five years as a pastor in a remarkable Black church, Donald Wagner comes to fully understand the original sin of racism. As his journey continues, he encounters another marginalized people—the Palestinians—and witnesses their struggle for justice and equality. Touched by their resilience and fight against injustice, he leaves the pastorate to assume full time work as an advocate for Palestinian political and human rights.

The memoir begins in mid-September 1982, with a gut-wrenching day interviewing survivors of the Sabra-Shatila massacre in Lebanon, as they wept and waited for the bodies of family members to be pulled from the rubble. Donald Wagner’s conversation with the local Imam ended with a challenge: “You must return home and tell what you have seen. This is all we ask. Go back and tell the truth.”

Glory to God in the Lowest is a metaphor for his counter intuitive journey with the victims of the “chosen people” in the “unholy land,” also called historic Palestine or Israel. The irony of the journey reminds us that God is everywhere especially with the disinherited, the victims of the powerful, including the victims of Israeli oppression.

The memoir touches on history and includes political analysis and theological reflection. In it, Donald Wagner describes Israel’s continued colonization and destruction of Palestinian lives and chronicles his involvement in a grassroots movement of resistance that demands justice based on full equality, an end to the Israeli military occupation and settler colonization project, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and full political rights for the Palestinian people.

Filled with stories—some humorous and some shocking—as well as encounters with people of every race, gender, and religious affiliation working below the radar, this book will inspire, challenge, and offer a narrative that envisions a transformed “unholy land,” where justice, liberation, and equality for all is the reality for every citizen.


About the author

Donald E. Wagner received a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary. He was Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Chicago’s North Park University. He served as National Director of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign (1980-89), was Director of Middle East Programs for Mercy Corps International (1990-94), and was co-founder of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding. He is the author of five previous books on Palestinian rights.


“Wagner’s memoir, Glory to God in the Lowest, is a powerfully written work —it should be on everyone’s shelf who has any interest in the Middle East. It is an intense work, motivating and compelling, inspirational for both Christians and non-Christians alike. ” —Palestine Chronicle

Glory to God in the Lowest provides a rare view of the spiritual turmoil which led Don Wagner, an untypical Christian Evangelical, to a painful life journey of unpredictable commitment to helping the Lowest, or the Palestinian, and discovering along the way what is unholy about American foreign policy and its totem pole of values. ” — Ghada Hashem Talhami, D. K. Pearson’s Professor of Politics, emeriti, Lake Forest College

“If you have never read a single book about the struggle for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine, this is the one I hope you’ll read. If you’ve read a lot, and are about to give up hope, this is also the book I hope you’ll read. Glory to God in the Lowest not only helps you understand the situation in the so-called Holy Land; it also helps you feel the pain, the longing, the courage, and the love of good people working, praying, and giving their lives to bend the arc of history toward justice. Don Wagner educates and inspires me, and this book will educate and inspire you too. ” ”Brian D. McLaren, author of Faith after Doubt

“With his well-known humility, Donald Wagner reveals the insights of a scholar, the spirit of an activist, the heart of a pastor, and the guts of a prophet, all from a lifetime of work throughout the Arab world. His awakening from Christian Zionist evangelicalism to liberation theology is powerfully instructive as is his call now for intersectional solidarity among liberation movements. ” — Dr. Michael Spath, Director, Indiana Center for Middle East Peace

“Compelling, Donald Wagner’s grasp of the truth that powered his battle for justice for all is likely to be a microcosm of what the warring parties and their backers must eventually experience for peace to reign in this tortured land. ” — Rami G Khouri, American University of Beirut

“Beautifully written, carefully nuanced, and deeply moving. More than a memoir, this welcome book is a model narrative of how we are summoned to go beyond safe ideological assumption to engagement in the deep pain and odd possibilities of our human world. ” —Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Seminary

“Inspiring… A brave journey anchored in truth and driven by justice for Palestine … a spiritual pilgrimage and a theological transformation in favor of the lowest. Readers will find Don’s lucid critique of Christian Zionism stimulating and provocative. ” — Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, Co-founder of Sabeel Jerusalem and author of Justice and Only Justice

“A powerful personal testimony and an incisive political history Christians, Jews or anyone concerned with justice in Israel/Palestine would do well to read this book. ” ”Rabbi Brant Rosen, Tzedek Synagogue, Chicago

“A treasured gift Don Wagner has had the courage to listen to Palestinians, and to speak the truth about Palestine at the times and in the places where silence would have been much easier. ” — Ali Abunimah, Co-founder, Electronic Intifada and author of One Country

“A profound and deeply moving personal account that embraces faith and justice to fearlessly exit the indoctrination of political Jewish and Christian Zionism. ” —Sam Bahour, writer, businessperson, activist

“Eye-opening, heart-moving. This is the engrossing story, briskly told, of someone whose experience in the Middle East transformed him from an apathetic, conservative evangelical Christian to an energetic and courageous advocate of justice for the Palestinians. ” —Nicholas Wolterstorff, Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale University

“These are the notes from a modern prophet: often inspiring, frequently passionate, occasionally angry, sometimes generating heated disagreement. ” — Gary M. Burge, Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary

“Wagner’s book is not a mere memoir of a brilliant person who made an impact locally and globally. [He] provides us with that essential contemporary prophetic voice that is much needed to bring peace with justice to our turbulent and changing world. For readers of all faiths, this gently-told story will inspire and motivate us in our own journey to a better future. ” — Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor at Bethlehem University (Palestine) and author of Sharing the Land of Canaan and Popular Resistance in Palestine

“Don Wagner has given us a marvelous gift. The chapter on Christian Zionism is alone worth the price of admission a historical review and invaluable analysis that Wagner is uniquely equipped to provide.. ” — Mark Braverman, Executive Director, Kairos USA

“This book provides a detailed analysis of Christian Zionism. It is both a scholarly work and personal testimony of the author. It outlines the great damage to the prospects of a just peace of those who follow this false theology. I highly recommend it.. ” —Jonathan Kuttab, Director, Friends of Sabeel North America

“A call to unlearn Christian zionism and relearn God’s justice for all through solidarity with the poor and marginalized in the unholy land. Join the journey toward the outrageous hope and justice that sees all God’s children as created in God’s image (imago Dei) and treated with equality, dignity, and justice.” — Dr. K. K. Yeo, Harry Kendall Professor of New Testament, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; Affiliate Faculty, Northwestern University

“Highly recommended reading for anyone contemplating study for ministry, especially justice-related. Wagner relates life-changing experiences and reflects on their meaning, as Paulo Freire and many others do.” — Pauline Coffman, Ed.D., educator and advocate, Presbyterian Church USA

“Don Wagner has been for many years a strong voice for justice for Palestinians, an especially crucial one given that he comes out of American Evangelical Christianity, the backbone of rightwing politics throughout the world and in support of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. He has paid a heavy price for confronting his community on the issue of Palestine. That should be not only an inspiration for us but his journey should serve as a guide to all of us working for an inevitably radical world of justice.” ” Jeff Halper, author of Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism, Settler Colonialism, and the Case for One Democratic State

“Don Wagner’s compelling story of personal transformation and work for justice. I believe his early insights into why we need to engage and challenge Christian Zionism while centering the truths lived by Palestinians will inspire many to follow his lead in embracing the often-challenging journey for liberation that remains rooted in hope. ” — Jennifer Bing, American Friends Service Committee, Chicago

“Don writes with complete honesty and integrity from the depth of his soul I am awestruck, humbled, and deeply inspired as the pages of this book unfolded. Read on about how he broke free from the shackles of Christian Zionism to enter into the ever deepening struggle against apartheid and settler colonialism, exposing how the Zionists defile the land of the Holy One. ” — Dr. Swee Ang, Orthopedic Surgeon; Founder, Medical Aid for Palestinians; and author of From Beirut to Jerusalem

“I simply could not put this book down. It is a compelling, detailed, eye-witness commentary on the unfolding tragedy of Palestine over the past 40 years. It is also a searing indictment of the failure of the West, tragically with the complicity of the Church, to hold Israel accountable to its obligations under international law and repeated UN Resolutions.” —Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, Director, Peacemaker Trust, UK

“A gripping memoir. A must read for anyone looking for an eyewitness account of major political and religious developments in the modern Middle East.” — Rev. Prof. Dr. Mitri Raheb, President, Dar al-Kalima University, Bethlehem, Palestine

Like many memoirs, this is the story of a journey: the authors four-decade-long quest to try to tell the truth about what he calls the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people over the previous one hundred years Throughout, Wagner’s antagonists are Christian Zionists and political Jewish Zionists, whom he confronts even though his plans are often thwarted and he is called an anti-Semite. Bound to provoke controversy as well as thought, Wagner’s work will hopefully invite reasoned discussion, too. ” — Booklist


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