When the Acton Institute was first established, part of our mission was to influence future leaders. We have done that in countless way through our array of programs, but this issue of R&L highlights one particularly important example. The Reverend John A. Nunes, a Lutheran minister, is our feature interview this month. Nunes was recently appointed to head up Lutheran World Relief. Aside from the genuine pride we have that one of our colleagues has been entrusted with such an important mission, we are also excited to see how the principles that Pastor Nunes wrote about for Acton will now animate LWR’s service to those in material need, and in need of the Gospel.
In our interview, Pastor Nunes speaks about his experience doing community work in Detroit, and what he learned about “accompaniment”—meaning not doing something for or to somebody, but doing something together. Whether that model can be replicated in dozens of countries and with multi-million dollar programs is the challenge that awaits him. We wish him well, and pray that God blesses abundantly the work of LWR.
I am sure that in his work in Detroit, Pastor Nunes came across a Catholic school or two that were islands of hope in a sea of troubles. Kris Mauren explains in this issue the important work Acton does to highlight Catholic schools that exemplify the best in parochial education. Often such religious schools are the only ones left to “accompany” the children of troubled neighborhoods.
I am not much of a TV watcher, so I must confess that I have never seen the program Deadwood on HBO. After reading Jordan Ballor’s article on it in this issue, I may have missed something. Set in the nineteenth-century “wild west”—or the Dakotas, at any rate—Ballor argues that the series shows the dramatic conflict between tyranny and liberty, and that mere law and order, while necessary, is not sufficient for a free and virtuous society. Part of Acton’s mission is to engage our culture, not only to criticize, but to celebrate the virtues and principles when presented in dramatic form. Those of us who write monographs and edit journals know that the poet, playwright, composer, or painter is sometimes more persuasive than a thousand carefully crafted arguments. I am pleased that Jordan Ballor brought that once again to our readers’ attention.