Parting Words For and From Bob Edgar

I went to a memorial service Wednesday for Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause, who died suddenly last month. (See Peter Laarman’s RD piece on Edgar’s legacy here.) The service was packed with social justice activists as well as current and former members of Congress. Edgar, a liberal Democrat, had been elected to six terms in the House of Representatives from a staunchly Republican congressional district because he had such a strong reputation for integrity. His warmth and human decency was lovingly remembered by colleagues and friends, many of whom mentioned his penchant for groan-inducing puns. Edgar was also a United Methodist minister who headed the National Council of Churches before taking the top job at Common Cause. Edgar’s book Middle Church: Reclaiming the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right was quoted by one of the speakers:

I admit that I do not give much thought to the afterlife personally, if only because I am keeping plenty busy here on Earth and I trust God to sort out eternity. The promise of heaven and the threat of hell were simply not central themes in the faith tradition I was taught. But all people of faith can agree that there is work to do in this world, no matter what we believe awaits us on the other side. There is too much that is broken in our world to rest our souls on a theology of waiting.