Commentary
By Jim Wallis 5-11-2017

We have a president who seems not to believe in checks and balances. As I write, Trump’s firing of the FBI director and the real reasons behind it are raising what many are calling a “constitutional crisis.” When a president fires the nation’s chief law enforcement officer who is investigating that president’s administration, and then lies about the reasons why, a moral crisis is also being created. A poll just out says that 61 percent of the American people think the president is dishonest — and that was before the Comey firing.

In the meantime, the vulnerability of those Jesus called the least of these is presenting deep challenges every day to those who say they follow Jesus.

Both truth and justice are at stake in the United States of America, and I can testify how deeply many who know they are supposed to be moral leaders in this country are struggling with how to fulfill that vocation — including church leaders, those responsible for faith-based organizations, many pastors, and faith-rooted activists working for social justice.

But today, let me shift from the issues to us — those leaders who are called to offer moral leadership in the churches and in this society. So many leaders have confided in me how overwhelmed they feel. Every day brings a new crisis to respond to and every day new things happen that are frightening, completely disconcerting, threatening to the most vulnerable, morally incomprehensible, and a direct assault on so many things we as faith leaders believe in.

Many are asking me: How do I respond, how do I choose which things to respond to, where do I put my focus and leadership, what things do I choose to prioritize? Maybe the most common thing I am told my so many leaders is, “How do I sustain myself and discern what I should be doing? I am feeling overwhelmed.”

Sojourners is convening our fourth annual leadership Summit this June to address these underlying spiritual and personal challenges. We will deal with more than “the issues" — most urgently the need for sustainment and discernment for those called to provide leadership in this time of crisis.

Our call and our ministry, in such a time as this, must be for healing and resistance.

In other words, our social justice movements of resistance require a deep spiritual rootedness to stay viable over the long haul and the capacity to discern how we should respond.

Together with movement leaders and prophetic voices from every field – including Margaret Atwood, Rev. Traci Blackmon, Joshua DuBois, Michael Gerson, Amena Brown Owen, Linda Sarsour, and many more – we will focus on this unique moment in history, and the healing and resistance we need at this time.

Here’s the vision for The Summit 2017, take a look:

The Summit is a convening to build and nourish leaders, but we need the entire body of the church to help make it happen. Here’s what you can do:

Nominate a leader to attend The Summit and help us find the voices we need to hear from. If the description of who we to gather together applies to you, I’d encourage you to apply to attend The Summit yourself.

We’re not just talking about the well-known names; we want the greatest leaders that no one has heard of yet. It could be a promising young pastor, a community immigration activist, a politician fighting for police reform, an artist supporting religious liberty for our Muslim brothers and sisters, an entrepreneur creating jobs with a living wage, a lawyer fighting for civil rights and voting protections, or a philanthropist supporting new and existing social movements to knit our communities together.

The Summit is designed for intimate conversation for about 300 leaders, so not everyone will be able to attend in person. However, our Core Conversations will be live-streamed on Sojourners Facebook page during the event, and available online and in Sojourners magazine over the coming year.

With your help, we’re building a Summit for 2017 that will truly live up to its mission: world change through faith and justice. Please nominate a leader from your community today.

Jim Wallis is president of Sojourners. His book, America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, is available now. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.

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