My admiration for those who exercise heroic courage for justice testifies in part to my own lack of anything close to it.
Mostly my efforts to right the wrongs as I see them stops at the computer terminal with occasional jeremiads directed at a cluster of targets. But that all takes place at a safe remove. I'm not much of a street campaigner or a speaker of "truth" to power out in public.
That's why I need constant prodding from those who provide me models. Two of them died this week.
One was a Protestant minister, a mainline one no less, named George W. Webber. "Bill" He'd been formed at Harvard and Union Theological Seminary in the days when those credentials won entry to the now extinct Protestant Establishment. While a dean at Union, however, he heard one of those diffenent drummers calling him to battle against racism and poverty.
He moved to East Harlem and helped begin the East Harlem Protestant Parish and lived there for decades. He became immersed in an increasing number of justice initiatives. A quiet, self-effacing man with a radiantly spiritual manner, he and the ministry became a magnet for young people who identified with its example and its stature.