“Let us leave rebellions to the choleric who enjoy them: to serve as a paradigm now of what a plausible Future might be is what we’re here for." - W.H. Auden, “The Garrison”
ICCG looks to the following leaders as inspirations for our work and vision. Here is just some of what inspires and challenges our values and imagination by their lives.
By Andrew DeCort -
"On Saturday, May 1, I was having lunch at a roadside cafe directly across the street from the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST). I was eating and talking with a few friends, who were students at EGST, when a young man approached our table and begged for help. As so often, we respectfully indicated that we were not going to give anything, and the boy turned away.
But when he turned, the dirty hood he was wearing slipped off, and I saw that he had a terrible wound on the back of his head.
Immediately I found myself wrestling with inner turmoil: Should I stay seated and continue eating lunch with my friends? Or should I get up and help him? I’m not sure how long that inner debate lasted, but I quickly became certain somehow that if I didn’t help this specific person right now, I would be rejecting God’s direct call to me. Somehow I knew must act.
By this time, the boy was some ways down the road, so I got up from the table and started running after him. When I caught up to him and said hello, I saw that he had a condition unlike any I have ever seen before. Approximately the back sixth of his head had rotted away; the bone of his skull was gone and his decaying flesh was exposed. I could literally see the boy’s brain pulsating through his monstrous wound, and I could see that he was in excruciating pain. I was horrified that he was stumbling through the streets begging for help by himself in this critical condition.
His name was Eyob – the Amharic name for Job.
Eyob became for me what Mother Teresa called a “saint of darkness,” a God-sent witness of goodness, love, and hope in the midst of the most horrific suffering – realities that sometimes tempt me to despair that life is meaningless and without redemption." [Read more here]
Professor, Pastor, Martyr
“Who is God? Not primarily a general belief in God’s omnipotence, and so on. That is not a genuine experience of God but just a prolongation of a piece of the world. Encounter with Jesus Christ. Experience that here there is a reversal of all human existence, in the very fact that Jesus only ‘is there for others.’ Jesus’s ‘being-there-for-others’ is the experience of transcendence! Only through this liberation from self, through this ‘being-for-others’ unto death, do omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence come into being. Faith is participating in this being of Jesus… Our relationship to God is no ‘religious’ relationship to some highest, most powerful, and best being imaginable – that is no genuine transcendence. Instead, our relationship to God is a new life in ‘being there for others,’ through participation in the being of Jesus. The transcendent is not the infinite, unattainable tasks, but the neighbor within reach in any given situation." Prison writings, April 1944
Pastor, Advocate For The Poor, Martyr
“Christ put his classroom of redemption among the poor – not because money is evil, but because money often makes slaves of those who worship the things of earth and forget about God.” December 25, 1978
“With all contributing their own interior life, their own responsibility, their own way of being, all can build the beautiful structure of the common good, the good that we construct together and that creates conditions of kindness, of trust, of freedom, of peace. Then we can, all of us together, build the republic – the res publica, the public concern – what belongs to all of us and what we all have the duty of building.” July 10, 1977
“The church considers this its ministry: to defend God’s image in human beings.” January 21, 1979
Missionary, Educator, Servant Of The Poor
"God is calling me – unworthy and sinful that I am. I am longing to give all for souls. They will all think me mad – after so many years – to begin a thing which will bring me for the most part only suffering – but He calls me also to join the few to start the work… All beginners have their many crosses…" January 13, 1947
“When I walk through the slums or enter the dark holes there Our Lord is always really present… the streets, Kalighat, slums & Sisters have become places where He lives His own life of love to the full.” Letters to Archbishop Périer from June 21, 1950 and November 17, 1956
Martin Luther King Jr.
Preacher, Public Intellectual, Activist, Martyr
"The end of life is not to be happy nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain but to do the will of God, come what may." From Strength to Love
“Who doubts that this toughness of mind is one of man’s greatest needs? Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think… The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of soft-mindedness. A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.” From Strength to Love