More than anything else, Dolphus Weary brings credibility to the issues of poverty and economic and spiritual development. His life itself is a testimony. Weary grew up under difficult social and economic circumstances in Mississippi. He has harnessed his own life experience to lead others out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. His model for holistic outreach to the poor with Mendenhall Ministries has been widely adopted in other parts of the country. The Mendenhall Ministries received national recognition by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, when it was recognized as one of the Daily Points of Light.
Weary's book I Ain't Comin' Back is the perfect reminder that the heartbreaking issue of poverty is not a hopeless one but rather, at its fundamental level, it is an opportunity to serve. Today he continues to serve his community and many that are considered "the least of these" in his home state of Mississippi. There is an emotional conclusion to I Ain't Comin' Back where Weary reveals that he never had a father to look up to but "God brought along men who showed him the way." For his own kids, Weary says he wants to leave a legacy that testifies to a life spent serving "people that nobody else wanted to serve." We hope this interview will help inspire service in the same way for the reader.
Historian Mark Summers returns with another feature piece in this issue to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. I said before that while there have been many fascinating pieces to cover the anniversary in major publications, little has been said about faith. In the Summer 2011 issue of Religion & Liberty, Summers wrote about the evangelical revivals in the Confederacy and has now penned "Onward Catholic Soldiers," to tell the story of the Catholic Church during the conflict.
David Deavel and managing editor Ray Nothstine offer reviews of important new books in this issue. Deavel reviews Mitch Pearlstein's, From Family Collapse to America's Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation. Data from the book suggests that a very conservative estimate of the social cost of family fragmentation costs U.S. taxpayers $112 billion annually. Nothstine reviews a new biography on William F. Buckley by Carl T. Bogus. This is another important account of a man who reshaped conservatism. The author covers the movement as well, adding a unique perspective from an observer who admits to being a liberal and critic of the ideology Buckley so deftly articulated.
The "In the Liberal Tradition" figure is the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov. Solovyov favored limits to state power and always sought to ground the person upon concrete moral foundations.