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Learning to Live in Exile
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Learning to Live in Exile

A model of pastoral care.

Peter Wehner’s former office was the White House.  He served in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush administrations, as Deputy Director of Speechwriting and later Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives for President George W. Bush. Now, he’s a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and a contributing editor for The Atlantic

He’s been in the halls of power, and he writes for publications of prominence.  So why has Peter been in exile?  In this powerful episode, Curtis talks to his old friend about what it’s like to have a role in the unfolding drama of American history, to believe your most important moments are in the past, and to walk out one’s faith in complicated times.

Show Notes:

Global Giving – Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund: Two powerful earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria early Monday morning, killing more than 19,000 people and injuring thousands more. People are trapped and homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure have been destroyed under layers of rubble. Your donation to the Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund will provide emergency relief and fuel long-term recovery efforts in Turkey and Syria.

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Died: Steve Hayner, Former President of InterVarsity and Columbia Seminary, Christianity Today: This is a death notice for Steve Hayner, “one of the baby-boomer generation’s most influential evangelical leaders, has died. He was known for his presidency at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and later at Columbia Theological Seminary.”

Remembering Steve Hayner, InterVarsity: This reflection from Intervarsity about their former president states, “Steve became president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in 1988, near the end of a turbulent decade in which InterVarsity had five presidents. “Steve brought pastoral care, healing and hope to a community that had undergone much trauma,” said Alec Hill, Steve’s successor and InterVarsity’s current president.”

“Painting As a Pastime” by Winston S. Churchill; “The perfect antidote to his ‘Black Dog’, a depression that blighted his working life, Churchill took to painting with gusto. Picking up a paintbrush for the first time at the age of forty, Winston Churchill found in painting a passion that was to remain his constant companion. This glorious essay exudes his compulsion for a hobby that allowed him peace during his dark days, and richly rewarded a nation with a treasure trove of work.”

“President Donald Trump?  Just Say No,” by Peter Wehner:This 2015 article describes Pete’s unwillingness to embrace the new GOP candidate who would ultimately become President of the United States.

“The GOP and the Birther Trap,” by Peter Wehner: This 2011 Wall Street Journal article describes Wehner’s take on a fringe conspiracy theory that was then front and center in American politics: the claim that President Barack Obama might not be a natural-born American citizen.

“Why I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump,” by Peter Wehner.This 2016 New York Times explains why Pete did not find Donald J. Trump suitable for the Oval Office.

Creating Beauty in Exile: Mark Labberton:Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Seminary, reflects on the themes of exile in scripture and what it means to live a “faithful exilic life” in a culture shaped by fear and violence.

Exile: A Conversation with N. T. Wright, Edited by James M. Scott, by N. T. Wright; According to N. T. Wright, the controlling narrative that shaped the thinking of Jesus and Paul is this: “Israel had grievously sinned against Yahweh and suffered the judgment of exile from its land. But even though Israel had returned, the majority of Jews of the second temple era regarded themselves in paradoxical exile under Roman rule and still awaiting their full restoration. It was this crisis of exile that reached its climax and resolution in the person and work of Jesus Christ.”

Makoto Fujimura on Faith and Art by Dan Clendenin, Journey with Jesus: “Makoto Fujimura is a leading contemporary artist whose process driven, refractive “slow art” has been described by David Brooks of the New York Times as ‘a small rebellion against the quickening of time.’ Robert Kushner, in the mid 90’s, has written on Fujimura’s art in Art in America this way: ‘The idea of forging a new kind of art, about hope, healing, redemption, refuge, while maintaining visual sophistication and intellectual integrity is a growing movement, one which finds Makoto Fujimura’s work at the vanguard.’”

The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth by Jonathan Rauch: Disinformation. Trolling. Conspiracies. Social media pile-ons. Campus intolerance. On the surface, these recent additions to our daily vocabulary appear to have little in common. But together, they are driving an epistemic crisis: a multi-front challenge to America’s ability to distinguish fact from fiction and elevate truth above falsehood.

Victoria Holmes is an associate multimedia producer at The Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2022, she worked as a TV news reporter and podcast host. When she's not producing and editing podcasts and multimedia content, she enjoys discovering new restaurant spots or planning her next escape to the beach.