The Heart Of The Matter

This article was taken from Waging Peace: A Handbook in the Struggle to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, edited by Jim Wallis. Published by Harper and Row, it appeared in fall 1982.
--The Editors

I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it became known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the sisters and brothers have been made confident in the Lord because of my imprisonment, and are much more bold to speak the word of God without fear.
--Philippians 1:12-14

By the grace of God and the confirmation of my church, I am a Methodist pastor. By that same providence (the givens of history and the leadings of the Spirit) I begin these reflections sitting at a hard metal table in tier F-2 of the Richmond City Jail, where several of us are confined for a month as the result of a simple symbolic witness at the Pentagon. The action with friends from Detroit was dramatic and liturgical and prayerful, an attempt to publicly confess and repent, in ourselves and before all, the nuclear arms race.

From this table I have been trying clumsily to carry forward my pastoral responsibilities among the folk of a small congregation in Detroit. By correspondence I attempt little administrations, gather thoughts for a Bible study group, convey greetings to Sunday morning worshipers, and attend to some pastoral needs.

This week a dear friend who has been languishing for many months died. So I suffer here the agony of separation and write to her husband a letter which cannot suffice (for either one of us) in place of being there.

I get pulled in a kind of tension.

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