Over the past five decades, my vocational mission can be summed up in just a few words: “People of faith must step up to confront fear, fundamentalism and Fox News with an interfaith courageous commitment to address peace, poverty and Planet Earth.” I believe God is calling average, ordinary, common folks to do above-average, extraordinary and uncommon things to insure a future for our fragile planet. In our lifetime we can end the poverty that kills, heal the earth and live as brothers and sisters in peace, if, and this is a big if, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and all faiths, find new ways to live and work together. Using my experience as a pastor, politician, academic and social activist, I will challenge everyone to understand that we are the leaders that we have been waiting for! We are the courageous ethical remnant God has called to be the prophets and disciples in these troubled times. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often reminded us: ?You and I will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.?
Bob Edgar is president and chief executive officer of Common Cause, a national nonpartisan, non-profit citizens lobby. Previously he was the general secretary of the National Council of the Churches. Edgar was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974, representing the Seventh Congressional District of Pennsylvania. During six terms in the U.S. House, he led efforts to improve public transportation, fought wasteful water projects and authored the community Right to Know provision of Super Fund legislation. He also served on the House Select Committee on Assassinations that investigated the deaths of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and President John F. Kennedy. Edgar sits on the boards of several organizations, including Families USA. He has a B.A. degree from Lycoming College and a Masters in Divinity degree from the Theological School of Drew University. He has served as President of the Claremont School of Theology and holds five honorary doctoral degrees. Edgar is the author of the book Middle Church.
Bob Edgar is delivering the biennial Rion Lecture. The lecture, named in honor of Michael Rion, a former Seminary president, honors an individual who embodies a dedication to ministry in daily life and is committed to service to others.