Tag Archives: Bob Edgar

regaining our courage

The Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar’s funeral is tomorrow, but his legacy will live on. Here is a short quote taken from his book, MIDDLE CHURCH. His passion to engage people of faith resonates in every sentence.

Never since Jesus walked the earth have Christians been as powerful and comfortable as they are today. That may be the problem. Gene Winkler, a United Methodist minister in Chicago, now retired, identified the heart of the matter in a sermon a few years ago:”Christians today are not persecuted; we are ignored. We are not ridiculed; we are faced with indifference. We don’t lose our jobs or our heads because of our faith; we lose our courage to talk about our faith.” It’s time faithful Americans to regain that courage. Not simply to talk about our faith, but to vote it; not just to go to the church or to the synagogue or mosque but to reach into our communities. For all of us, opportunities for making a difference abound.

I share Bob’s passion. Making a real difference in our world is not difficult. Working together, we can end hunger in our lifetime. We can truly change the world. As Bob wrote: “It’s time for faithful Americans to regain our courage.” I know Bob would agree; the future of the world depends on it.

“well done, thy good and faithful servant”

I just received an email notifying me of the funeral of the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar. Bob was seventy, and lived a life of service. His life and ministry touched thousands. He will be missed.

I first met Bob when he was serving as the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches when he invited me to be on his advisory council. Before serving at the National Council of Churches he had been a congressman, before that a United Methodist pastor. When he died he was serving as the leader of Common Cause.

Knowing Bob was both a privilege and an honor. His faithfulness to the gospel and his fearlessness in speaking the truth to those in power was an inspiration.

After leaving his position as head of the National Council of Churches, Bob wrote The Middle Church, a book that he hoped would “awaken the conscience of the average, ordinary, common folks within the United States to do above-average, extraordinary, and uncommon things to ensure the future for our fragile planet.”  He wanted his book to restore the passion for recovering America’s moral values.

That was Bob. He was a leader. He was as tireless as he was passionate in engaging others in doing the right thing for the right reason. I specifically remember that leadership when we were together as part of a humanitarian delegation to Iraq shortly before the Second Gulf War. His leadership during that trip was a powerful demonstration of of Christian faithfulness in action.

Bob will be mourned and missed by all those his life touched and all those his faithfulness impacted. I am one of those. Rest in peace, my friend.