Tribute: Michael Gerson, Released To Joy On November 17, 2022.
Michael Gerson, a faithful servant and follower of Jesus, is now with his Lord face-to-face.
Michael served as a Visiting Fellow with CPJ. What began as a one-year appointment inaugurated by his CPJ Kuyper Lecture in the summer of 2010 grew into more than a decade of collaboration and friendship.
For many years, Michael delivered weekly CPJ radio commentary on KDCR’s Plumbline (Dordt University), which CPJ transcribed and published online as part of Capital Commentary. In addition to his ongoing Fellowship as a strategic advisor and speaker for CPJ, Michael coauthored Unleashing Opportunity: Why Escaping Poverty Requires a Shared Vision of Justice (Falls City Press, 2015) with Katie Thompson (now at the faith-based office at USAID) and CPJ’s CEO Stephanie Summers.
Unleashing Opportunity was written for Christian college students, who looked askance at their political responsibilities. Michael cared deeply about the Christian political formation of young people and joined his coauthors for a multi-campus book tour that spanned a semester. On every campus, Michael generously gave the gift of candor and encouragement to hundreds of Christian young people considering whether God’s call on their lives included seasons in public service. He was always hopeful about what God was able to do through the lives of faithful followers of Jesus.
When traveling alongside a gifted writer for an extended period of time, one sees how the writer is always engaged in observing the world around them as it makes its way into the words next written. Michael was keenly attuned to the imago Dei in each person – this was marvelously evident in his writing. Michael was also a keen observer of the many ways God’s image is distorted for personal gain. When then-candidate Trump announced his campaign for president, Michael presciently saw that Trump could win the White House, based solely on his observation of Trump’s appeals to white working-class men who felt they’d been left out or left behind while much of the nation enjoyed relative economic prosperity.
Yet Michael was never cynical about government’s God-given purpose to establish and uphold justice. He shared openly about his own experiences of seeing government at both its best and at its worst, relative to its purpose. Even so, he never gave up his hope rightly placed in our Maker, the true King and Redeemer of all people and all governments.
Our team at CPJ celebrates Michael’s freedom from pain and his release to joy, and are forever grateful for our shared season of service to God.