It is rare to read a walk through someone's life as their heart and conscience develops. Yet that is exactly what this book is.
It's not a memoir or autobiography; there is no overarching narrative. Instead, it is a series of meditations on what was on Rob's mind and in his heart at various moments, some reacting to events of his day or "the day" and others the result of long-ruminated-on questions.
Rob became a columnist for his local paper in 2011, when he was a senior in high school, and vaulted onto the national stage at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, speaking with the mother of Heather Heyer, a woman murdered at a counter-protest to the Confederate-loving neo-Nazi-embracing hate rally in Charlottesville earlier that month.
This is a serious book but not one that is burdened by being serious. It is full of joy and possibility and calls us all to believe in our tomorrows.-from the Introduction by Chelsea Clinton
Praise for The Pulpit and the Paper
"As I read The Pulpit and the Paper, I kept wondering 'How did Rob Lee write so much, and so well, and so insightfully, at such a young age?' I especially value this collection right now-when many of us are deeply disappointed in so many of the well-known religious leaders of the older generation. Thank God for Rob Lee, a preacher who doesn't just preach the Good News, but also makes news with his penetrating and heartfelt message of justice, joy, and peace." -Brian McLaren, author of Faith After Doubt
"I try to listen to every sermon Rev. Rob Lee preaches, and I try to read everything he writes. Now that just got easier. This book is like a 'Best Hits' album of one of America's great prophetic voices. As a descendant of General Robert E. Lee, Rob's life is helping heal the wounds of history. His message is a balm to the festering, untreated wound of American racism and hatred." -Shane Claiborne, co-founder of Red Letter Christians
"Journalism and preaching share a singular mission: to tell the truth. Rev. Rob Lee was born with a burdensome legacy, and much like many of our heroes, Rob chose to bear this burden in the most complex of ways. He chose not to bury the lede, but to run his ancestry as the front page headline above the fold. As a result, Rob has earned my trust. I believe him because his words are brave and courageous enough to bear the weight of truth. In this book, we have the benefit of hindsight. This anthology contains columns published years prior to Rob's invitation to address the nation in the wake of the Charlottesville riots. No prophet asks for the job, but it is clear that God was making a path for Rob's life and witness. This book holds tender, delightful, and profound stories that are as inspirational as they are true. The singular mission of the journalist and preacher is beautifully accomplished in this work." -Rev. Mandy Sloan McDow, Senior Minister, Los Angeles First United Methodist Church
"Faith manifests in numerous ways, but, to the Rev. Rob Lee, his calling is to live his devotion publicly. My audience is always richer for hearing his unique perspective on the critical intersection of religion and social justice. This book is the evolution of a public figure who is willing to bare his wounds and to be honest about his struggle. Lee's journey from a hometown newspaper columnist to a pastor is deeply personal, yet familiar." -Ali Velshi, Host of MSNBC's Velshi