I was introduced to Ron Sider at an event at Wheaton College and had a passing but lively chat about what I was working on at the time. Shortly after, I received one of Ron’s books from him in the mail, which he thought would be a helpful resource. It came with the first of many encouraging notes I’ve since received from Ron, right up to the day he unexpectedly died.
Some years after we first met, Ron and Sarah Withrow King asked me to join the board of Christians for Social Action (then Evangelicals for Social Action). Ron was uniquely easy to work with, and extraordinarily kind and generous to my generation. He always made time for folks like me and, in spite of his significant seniority and experience, I never felt any sense of hierarchy or superiority with him. We were always equals and brothers in Christ. Ron really listened, he really cared, he was eager to keep learning and growing, and he was quick to take responsibility and apologize for mistakes. When I think of Ron I think of someone who embodied Philippians 2:3-4, who did not do things out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but instead humbly strove to value and champion those around him.
I will greatly miss Ron’s generous and encouraging friendship, his dependable counsel and prayers, chats about our mutual love of fishing, and his unassuming example as a humble, courageous, and faithful follower of Christ. He never seemed worried about being or staying popular, but his abiding passion was to know and do the will of Christ, steadfastly bearing witness in and out of season to the good news of God’s radical love and vision for the church, society, and all of creation.
Rev. Ben Lowe is the author of Green Revolution (IVP 2009), Doing Good Without Giving Up (IVP 2014), and The Future of Our Faith (Brazos, 2016; coauthored with Ron Sider). Originally from Singapore, Ben is ordained in the Christian and Missionary Alliance and has over a decade of experience engaging faith communities around social and environmental concerns. He completed his doctorate in the human dimensions of environmental change at the University of Florida.