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Religious Life in the Obama Era

Krista's live conversation with Joshua DuBois at the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Senator Barack Obama's "Call to Renewal" Speech

June 28, 2006 – Washington DC
This religious tendency is not simply the result of successful marketing by skilled preachers or the draw of popular mega-churches. In fact, it speaks to a hunger that's deeper than that — a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause.

Selected Audio

SOF Salon: Lived Faith and Civic Life

[mp3, 69:45]
Krista joined a diverse group of 13 individuals to react to DuBois' words, and contribute more stories to the dialogue. Download and listen to the lively and insightful conversation in full.

Pertinent Posts from the On Being Blog

Some stunning photos capturing DuBois' night at the Fitzgerald Theater.

1

Video of Obama's speech and how it came up in our live event with Joshua Dubois.

Krista speaks with a diverse group about what a new era of service and civic virtue in U.S. public life might look like. Watch it here!

Recorded video of the live stream of Krista and DuBois on stage at the Fitz — and a transcript of the online audience chat.

A White House video about the Obama administration's faith-based initiatives, with commentary by DuBois.

About the Image

Krista Tippett and Joshua DuBois during their live conversation at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Comments

I am retired from correctional chaplaincy, as both a chaplain and the Director of Chaplaincy for the Indiana Dept. of Correction. This work benefited from policy developed by this office of the prior president by utilizing and helping to fund programs developed by community organizations. I hope to hear something of how faith-based groups will continue to be supported for prison and reentry programs as research shows the effectiveness of such efforts.

Was raised "fundamentalist" Lutheran - WELS. Was basically shunned after divorcing a "called worker" for the church. Now remarried for 11 years, am still practicing Lutheranism - for two reasons: parents are still alive and well at 87 & 85 - it would KILL them if I "switched", and I have been singing with a group of wonderful women at my current church for 10 years. It keeps me there. Spiritually, am definitely looking for more.
My husband and I have a total of SIX children, Four girls (2 married - one w/grandbaby #1's arrival due any day, one engaged, and one single), and mirror identical twin boys - 26 - one in Afghanistan (USAF pilot, but embedded with the Army) and one a cinematologist in LA are VERY active in their non-denominational Christian churches/organizations (when not in Afghanistan, of course.) LA Son will take 2nd trip to India, filming documentary of Christian missionaries in the Himalayans, and is very involved in Internation Justice Mission - which has brought me personally to Not For Sale, etc. I believe there are continuums in life that bring polar opposites to the same place. I keep going down the path, wondering where it will lead, but believing I have a Leader to follow.

I am interested in participating in the Thursday morning salon. I think I could bring a distinctive voice to the discussion.

I am a young attorney. I am also a politically and theologically left-leaning Pentecostal who maintains strong ties with the often conservative Assembly of God denomination.

My legal practice is small, but diverse. I represent Christian businesses, a Somali Muslim charity, and secular anarchists. Daily, I live into the complicated tensions that the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships navigate.

It would be my privilege join the conversation. Thank you for considering my request.

Hello,

I believe community sustainability is vital to creating a strong multi-cultural infrastructure in every city, town, and state. If we as individuals can promote a mind, body, and spirit union at the community level, we can raise awareness to the many national and global challenges staring us in the face.

For example, in my community, we are volunteering to raise awareness and funds for our first food coop in the area. Supporting local farmers goes a long way to creating sustainable neighborhoods and a sense of community. A food coop is a powerful tool for distributing goods and services at the community level. This is just one example of empowering individuals at the community level to create positive change and stimulate social interdependence for the benefit of all aspects of society.

Thank you for this opportunity.
To the health of our planet,

Ken Wickstrom

I'm grateful that we now have a president who is finding so many ways to invite and encourage public involvement/empowerment.

I am a 65 year old interfaith minister.

Everything about this event interests me.

I am interested in politics and spirituality.

Everything and everyone presented on your show is of interest and is vital to the shift that is already in motion. The old paradigm has just not worked, and certainly does not work if the whole world, all sentient beings, are to be honored with consideration and care.

Listening to your guests is both enlightening and humbling, and a joy in knowing that many more people than I ever expected are on the same path. We all know what is essential to our souls' nourishment (for lack of a better word) ....... making a contribution that is real and empowering to others, doing what we need to do in as selfless a manner as possible, expressing gratitude for all that comes our way, whether we deserve it or not, and the warmness in the community that we are capable of creating. And, we need to live in the present and have some semblance of mindfulness to even be aware of this.

My biggest fear was that I would end up without a husband, poorer that I'd known being with a husband, and without a compass. All that has come to pass, but now I actually make wiser choices, have been given the opportunity to live much more simply, something I've wanted to do for many years, the chance to abandon relationships that serve no one and no thing, kindle new ones that warm me and I know are empowering to all concerned. I would not have guessed that life could have been so full and so rich, except that fear and seeming comfort kept me from making that commitment to voluntary change. I have come to trust that we get what we want, perhaps not wrapped the way we'd expected, but we get the gift anyway.

Your show is part of each and every Sunday morning, and I am indebted to you for all that I've learned from you and your staff and guests. I've always considered myself an outside the box kind of thinker, but any box I may have created as a non-box is in small pieces that scattered with the wind. My gratitude to you all.

Dear Krista,

I am a high school teacher of 15 years in a hard-hit small city in southeastern lower Michigan. Around half of the students attending the high school here live at or below the poverty line. Many of their parents are losing their jobs as more and more businesses and factories close. At the same time, military recruiters visit the school often, offering many seemingly un-reachable things to students in poverty: training, wages, travel, educational opportunities, health care benefits.

Although I, too, want more than anything for my students to have all these things and more, I am deeply concerned about the practice of military recruitment in high schools on a couple of levels. First of all, I do not support war. Violence is not an appropriate response to fellow citizens of a global society. It is a contradiction of the founding principles of American public education to accept war. I do not accept the premise that to live the American dream, our young people should have to kill, risk being killed, or submit to a lifetime of suffering the aftermath of war. The students I serve deserve to live in a peaceful society that provides them with jobs where they can earn a living wage and expect access to food, shelter, health care, and education.

Secondly, and this is the concern I would like Mr. Dubois to address in the program: I do not support the practice of the U.S. military acting as an agent of Christian fundamentalists who openly defy US Central Command’s General Order Number One-- that explicitly forbids active-duty troops from trying to convert people to any religion.

A small mountain of evidence exists that clearly shows that many in the Officer Corps currently sees it's military mission in Iraq and Afghanistan as a religious crusade. One source that introduces readers to an officer who places his allegiance to religious zealotry over his sworn duty to uphold the U.S. constitution is Jeff Sharlet's “Jesus Killed Mohammed: The Crusade for a Christian Military,” in the May issue Harper's magazine. In it, readers meet "Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Young, who is also in Afghanistan at Kandahar Air Base, and he was quite plain in boasting about a PowerPoint presentation he had given to Afghan warlords explaining that American government was based on Christianity, that our Christian god was what made it great, and Afghanistan had a choice if it wanted to achieve democracy. And of course that choice was going to be for Jesus."

In an interview on Democracy Now, Mikey Weistein, Air Force veteran and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is asked to "talk about how common this is." He describes the situation this way: "It is...ubiquitous. It is that—it is in the very particulate of the technologically most lethal organization ever created by humankind, which is our US military. It’s everywhere. We’re about two inches away, you know, from a fundamentalist Christian America through our US military."

In a military that sees itself on a religious crusade, what the recruiters offer my students (with slick marketing tools that include action-packed video games that are literally "a blast" to play) looks very much like what terrorist organizations offer their age-mates overseas. This is not the future I want for my students or for my country, the United States, which I deeply love, or for my world.

I would like to know if Mr. DuBois is aware of the Christian fundamentalist take-over of the U.S. military, and if so, what is his response? If this is the first time he has confronted the situation, what does he think? As President Obama's "Pastor-in-Chief," does he support the idea as that the goal of military operations is to spread the Christian faith through armed occupation? Which document does he believe U.S. military personnel should call upon as the final arbiter when faced with decisions that may bring Constitutional law and religious belief into conflict: the U.S. Constitution or the Bible?

As a teacher, I, too, am a public servant, and I am faced with questions about what and how to teach U.S. and World history, literature, and mythology. I am absolutely certain that the Word that must guide my decisions and to shape the ethical position I must embody in the position of authority I have been entrusted with, is the U.S. constitution. U.S. military personnel should be as certain in their duty to uphold Constitutional Law as am I.

In closing, I call upon Mr. DuBois to take this issue back to President Obama and Congress for their immediate attention. It is urgent for the Obama administration and our representatives in Congress take immediate action to restore Constitutional supremacy in military operations and to insure that the U.S. military follows the letter and the spirit of US Central Command’s General Order Number One that explicitly forbids active-duty troops from trying to convert people to any religion.

I look forward to a thoughtful response from Mr. DuBois.

Thank you, Ms. Tippett. Your show is an important part of my life as a human being, as a teacher, and as a citizen of Earth.

Peace to You

Source Information

Goodman, Amy. (2009) Democracy Now. Retrieved 17 May 2009 from
http://i2.democracynow.org/2009/5/6/the_crusade_for_a_christian_military

I am interested in the community of faith as a way to conflict resolution and a movement for change in tolerance, and understanding of all the different ways in which we, as Americans, express our belief in a divine power. Grassroots movements can be the most compelling and positive way in which we express ourselves as citizens and connect with others who are committed to change in a positive peaceful manner. Thank you for "Speaking of Faith,"
it has the power to transform spirits and minds in ways that are mystical and magic.
Peace and Blessings,
Chaplain Deb Dockery
Akron, Ohio

I am a theology major working in IT. I want to see what Mr DuBois sees as his role as a pastor to the president, what he wants to see done in the White House, and what programs he is fighting for against the bully pulpit.

Born and raised on a southern Minnesota dairy farm. High achiever through high school, and transformed from dualistic religious thinking and militarism during the Vietnam era. Have incorporated traditional faith with Zen Buddhist practice. Fascinated with how we language our world and dedicated much of my life to abnormal communication and transcending communication practice. This lands me square in the distinction of religion (thought) and spirituality (heart), in the distinction between small circles of belonging and the grand circle of belonging.

I've trained and taught General Semantics, practice Zen meditation for over thirty years, play the blues as a deep spiritual activity, and engage in multiple board sports as 'doing from the heart' outside the subject/object dichotomy.

My communication focus has me deeply involved in the study of the listening process (something I greatly admire Krista for). I participate and direct various forms of Circle Process communication events in the form of Conversational Cafe, Council, and Peer Spirit. The aim is to empty the belief system (where learning stops) and courageously enter a circle, speaking from the heart.

We're in a critical phase of the planet where we either open to 'allow' one another religious freedom outside all notions of 'right or wrong'. We are so much more than 'a Christian nation'. As a Christian/Buddhist focus, it's now time to step from our differences to the common spiritual experience of our oneness. The healing of our nation and planet depends upon this and hopefully Obama will start to move in this direction.

My dream...to have Comparative Religions taught in all schools from kindergarten on, with a focus on the core aspects: compassion, gratitude and forgiveness. At some point we'll touch one another in our felt interconnection...and I honor my grandchildren in the stewardship we carry to this.

Speaking of Faith has contributed so much to this. Thank you from the depth of my heart.

In these ever changing times, I want to gain perspective of the "official line" of the government regarding religion. I also live with a variety of disabilities so I want to know about his views on inclusion and accessibility in churches.

A longtime SOF listener, my faith and beliefs (though perhaps more, my spirituality) motivate my interests and actions as well as enlighten my perspective on the events of the day and the challenges we face. I have been concerned with the role religion has been playing (or that some have been asserting it should play) in our public life and am optimistic that Obama may be able to guide a course-correction with regard to the relationship between religion and public policy.

I spent 2003-07 teaching English in China, and am now retired.

I love how Speaking of Faith encourages us to explore and converse with those who think differently about the world. Spitting holy verse to one-up only creates more divides, but Speaking of Faith insists on hearing depth from multiple perspectives.

This event in particular, caught my attention because I work in a secular non-profit that is based out of public schools. However, the people that I serve are all Muslims and work and study in an environment that is intentionally accommodating to the practices of Islam. It is interesting to do the separation of church and state dance and yet see how faith infiltrates all parts of their lives. After serving in this environment for the last nine months, I see a lot of potential for faith-based initiatives in the next few years to really get at some of the systemic social injustices that face our society.

I am a 23 year old Christian raised and educated in mostly conservative geographic locations. I have recently found myself in a diverse, politically left-leaning setting that includes a majority of nonbelievers when I am not at work. I generally fall under the “liberal” title in terms of politics, so people are particularly surprised when they find out that I am Christian. While I see the need for state not to establish religion/church, I hope that Obama paves the way for other moderate Christians to have both “liberal” ideology and maintain their faith. I am passionate about justice for all. My passion is largely enlightened in my understanding of servitude from Christ's teachings.

I'm a seminary grad, current doctoral student in religious studies and a practicing Christian. My area of research is religion and health in African American communities. I see REAL opportunities for the expansion of how these intersections are interpreted and expressed in the Obama Administration. However, coming out of the prophetic tradition of the "black church," I am concerned about what I perceive to be its reduced status in the public sphere--although I also see many places where that tradition can add voice to policy discourse. I look forward to how the new Administration finds opportunities for a variety of religious voices, including that of my own tradition. Participating in this event will give me first-hand exposure to their ideas about this variety of issues.

(Plus, I have not heard Krista Tippett since I moved here from Atlanta!)

All the best for the program!

I'm encouraged that the current administration wants to connect with spiritual leaders and the religious community. I believe that part of the current economic crisis was due to people neglecting or totally ignoring their spiritual connection with their employees, customers, families and neighbors. Materialism, wealth and personal status became more important that working together for a common good.

My essay for the "Repossessing Virtue" series is already posted at the SOF web site, so that will provide you with a good snapshot of who I am. Since I submitted it, I am now doing contract work for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I have redesigned an outreach brochure that I and another contractor will offer to non-psychiatric doctors and clinics in the Howard county Maryland area. It's important that people with mental illness not be overlooked. In the midst of difficult financial situations, there are many services, agencies and support networks for these people. The project I'm working on will attempt to connect with people with mental illness who are in need. My Christian foundation is based on Jesus' words, "Love one another." I believe this is key to getting us over the hurdles ahead of us.

Everything. I am a resident of St. Paul, MN but I am currently in Boulder, CO visiting my son on my way back from a work internship at the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM. I am very interested in discussing the ways we can become more spiritually aware in this country.

I am a former journalist and personal student of comparative religion. I was born and raised in the Presbyterian faith, but have spent quality time with many religions including: Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and the sects of Sikhs, Siddhas, Bahai and Krishna consciousness. It has become clear to me that miracles and precious, saintly souls exist within all of these paths.

This is a time of heightened awareness when more and more of us are becoming aware that genetically, we all share the same DNA as we all share this one sacred earthly membrane.

In my heart, I feel that God gave each religion a part of the spiritual puzzle so that we could come together to learn from one another.

In order for us to create any kind of true peace and brotherhood, the fundamental religions that see themselves as the "only" path to God and who preach division instead of acceptance need to find the heart of compassion for all of the earth's citizens as opposed to encouraging separation, exclusivity, judgment and even death.

I've very recently been introduced to the teachings of Swami Vivekananda who came to America in the mid 1800's. He was among the first to teach the acceptance of all religious paths as examples of the true spirituality taught by Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and all of the world's saints and Avatars.

He taught that we are all sacred individuals who have different human experiences and we should all be honored for whatever way we choose to demonstrate our journey toward God.

He had the deep understanding and compassion to recognize the divinity of all souls - completely free of judgment and cultural influence.

He understood that religion is an evolving process beginning from original myth to present day as human knowledge has been expanded through science and education. He did not separate science or any kind of knowledge from religious thought. He saw it as the all encompassing, natural progression of the human soul. His timeless, all-embracing philosophy stands as an example for how our world needs to proceed toward building a more compassionate, peaceful future - respectful of plants, animals and all of the earth's living beings.

I was indoctrinated in the Presbyterian tradition, but currently am closest to an atheist than anything. I am interested in knowing how strongly committed President Obama is to keeping religion/faith out of government decision making.

I'm an orthodox christian and I'm interested to learning more about Obama's approach to religion, diversity, and the American peoples right to freedom of religion.

I was raised by a Jewish-turned-Christian minister, with 6 brothers and sisters, and spent much of my childhood immersed in environment focusing on "the Lord," and what it means to love others. Now, at 30 years old, as a wife of one, mother of two, and high school teacher of many thoughtful teens, I have found myself trying to understand young peoples' rapid disillusionment with so many traditional religions. I have about a dozen books stacked up beside my bed - most of them dealing with some aspect of religion. One of my greatest goals in life would be to help understand atheism/agnosticism better, and to help open a path back to spirituality for those who've been turned off by "religion."

I believe my faith calls me to be engaged in the world, to be in relationship. I believe that faith-based individuals and organizations are to be the voice of the marginalized, calling the justice issues to the attention of policy makers. I also believe that all faiths have their unique perspective to offer; given our diverse God-given natures and cultures we would naturally have diverse faith journeys.I'm excited to have this perspective realized at the level of our executive office in Washington, and so look forward to Mr. DuBois' comments.
I'm an OB/gyn,, with an MPH in international health I live and work in Fargo, but am very involved in a hospital in rural Haiti, working to improve the available healthcare there.

I am a very intelligent, intellectual, and spiritual twenty-four year old young man with so much love in my heart for my fellow man (and woman), and so many ideas for this lovely Mother Earth and our beautiful country.

I am a true patriot. And only true patriots complain. Our country was designed, by the founding fathers, to have malleable and changeable government.

I mean, just look at the Introduction by Thomas Jefferson in "America, the Book", he's rolling over in his grave.
Heh.
(Sorry, I had to.)

I am a Unitarian Universalist, a Church that has less than three hundred thousand members on the planet. But our Ministry and congregation members have probably affected the most change for progressive ideas and social justice more than any other one single group.

UU Church is about what Church is supposed to be about. Community. People. Love of your fellow human being. Sermons that teach love, and don't sow seeds of hate and intolerance.
And it feels like plain old church. Hymnal singing, choir, Sunday school. But we also, especially since our last change of Minister in my congregation, Really want to build up the progressive ideals in the larger community. Whether it be volunteering or donating to the local Food Bank, or rallying in Sacramento or Fresno for Marriage Equality and LGBT Rights.
In fact, Cleve Jones (of "Milk" and Global AIDS quilt fame) spoke at my church last friday. Right now he is working as a hospitality/hotel workers union spokesperson. Though of course he is for LGBT rights in jobs and marriage as well. And that's the point.

We need to have more conversations with people outside of our comfort zone. If you talk to someone in the "religious right" about marriage and children, visitation rights and benefits after death. And make the conversation civil and intelligent: They are going to listen and maybe that seed can be planted. A seed of tolerance.
If you talk to migrant workers (most of whom are either in the hospitality, construction, or agricultural industries) about on the job equality, fair pay, and anti-discrimination laws, in possibly their native tongue even, they are going to understand your side of the argument. And though they may have a prejudice, the majority being Catholic (in terms of latino workers), they are going to understand that humans have a basic right to not be discriminated against at work.

And these are the type of things that I can already tell are beginning to change in this country.
I am proud to have voted for Obama.
But we still have so much to do.

And we are the generation that gets to do it. Quite a lot of people are talking about "The Mayans and 2012" and it's either the apocalypse or something better but it's still that same old prophecy/doomsday kind of talk, at least much of the time.

Though I do believe it may be an important date; and who knows if something weird happens; but the later Mayans--who were around much later than those who appeared, built the temples and the ballgame/creation myth, and disappeared into the jungle--just considered a cycle change a day of celebration. To celebrate Creation in its infinite and powerful beauty. And humans Create just as much as the Universal Consciousness creating itself. Every time we paint a picture, compose and play a song, write a poem: That is Creation as much as anything else. God is within us all and some of us find that Infinite Truth and Beauty better than others; but it's obviously what we all strive for.

Love. Family. Knowledge. Enlightenment.
We all want the same things in life.
Even Hitler, in his own fucked up genocidal way, believed he was helping the evolution of Man.

But I digress,
I just want to do good work in the world in all walks of life; and am interested in learning just about everything.
I also have a manic form of bi-polar disorder with psychotic features; which is both a gift and a curse. Creativity, Spirituality and Transcendental thought and possibility are the gift. Illness, Mania, and Delusionality are the curse. Regardless, I am definitely someone who has found Divinity, Beauty, and Truth in my life. And if we don't build Community in this world soon, by the time of our generation's grandchildren; we'll probably have passed the point of no return on this Spaceship Earth. Though, throughout the ages, the next generation has never failed.

We have evolved, and though spiritually over the last 2,000 - 10,000 years we may have been devolving though technologically evolving. That's okay. Because most of us, those not full of greed and hate and corruption in our hearts, we know we have work to do, and we know we either change or go extinct. Mother Nature is pretty much indifferent to our survival. Though we may have a very high and Holy purpose in the Universe, and we are capable of such great things: We also have a self destructive and almost suicidal streak as well; at a species wide level.

Anyway,
There's a little about me and my thoughts on Community, Humanity, and Cosmology.
Hope you made it this far. :)

Peace and Blessings,
Gavin Jules Stringer-Sonne

I am a Legacy Coach and working on my new book about spirituality in the everyday. I work with corporations, individuals and educators to help them identify the mark they are making, and become more intentional about it. The anchor question of the work I do is "What mark are you making?"

Religious diversity in a topic of great interest to me and my husband.

I know personally how faith gives shape to identity. The path begun during my conversion to Catholicism back in college provided the deep grounding to navigate my process of coming-out, and pursuing a career in adolescent faith formation.

My professional work entails creating faith-based service retreats for adolescents. Our focus is handing on a relevant faith to a next generation, one that is up to the task of engaging the realities of poverty and inequality. My hope is that young people leave our retreats with a stronger sense of how their faith inspires them to act with compassion in response to the world's greatest needs.

But I am most interested in this conversation because so many of my peers--30 somethings--no longer attend church. In the coming months, I am attending a number of weddings. The first is for some dear friends, a Christian couple, that has, with much thought, decided to get married in a restaurant. I am officiating at my cousin's secular wedding in Toronto later this summer. Later, I have the honour of officiating at a gay friend's marriage to his partner. These three weddings for me are windows into the lives of my friends and family, where the common theme is deep desire for meaning. But this seeking does not find expression in institutional religion.

President Obama has already demonstrated his capacity to mobilize the talent of my peers in responding to the needs of our nation. But given our diverse spiritual paths, I wonder what religious/spiritual vocabulary/ies President Obama will craft that further invites our participation.

My daughter and I hope to attend. I am a Lutheran pastor, my daughter is the 2009-2010 front page editor of the Bethel University Clarion (campus newsletter).

I'm looking into topics for Adult Sunday School, and exploring my faith and beliefs. I love the speaking of faith show - i recently downloaded 20 podcasts and listened to them all and loved them.

Middle school English teacher in Compton, CA. 10 years teaching in an economically and socially challenged area. Love my work and my students. Need to develop community service programs at the middle school level that empowers the students as well as serves the community.

NEA provides support for student in the arts, what can we do for student commnity service in public schools.

I have a strong interest in the role religion plays in politics. As a Christian, I am a bit disenfranchised with the American Church and its pursuit to supposedly "take America back for God." On all sides, there are self-proclaimed Christians espousing diametrically opposed viewpoints regarding the stances Christians should or shouldn't take on many a social and political issue. Any conversation which has potential to center around this issue will certainly perk my ear.

Spritual information.

I am an avid listener to Speaking of Faith, and am on a spiritual path that has taken me on many adventures. I was raised Jewish, and go on mission trips with a Baptist Church and an Evangelical one to both both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. I also meditate and am involved in the Course in Miracles. So - a bit eclectic. I live in a very involved community where there is energy abounding for support of the arts and events. Religion does, among many people, become a difficult issue to discuss - mostly because most of my friends are not religious at all. That's enough.....the event interests me greatly as I am a strong supporter of President Obama, and his manner of getting individuals of disparate thoughts to speak - which is great value. How we take that energy that I see with my friends on the Mission trips and combine that with a less religious population is an interesting dilemma.

I'd like to follow along, provide support, and perhaps most importantly provide promotion during the event.

I am a person of faith, wife, mother, friend, volunteer, listener, and tender. Since becoming a mother over twenty one years ago, I have had paid employment (at schools and churches) on a part-time, intermittant basis only. It has been by intention that I've left myself open and available to the needs of our children and community. During this current time of economic stress, I struggle with the decision to seek paid employment again, even though my husband was recently laid off. It seems as if need for the kinds of unpaid work I've been doing might be increasingly important. I'm feeling a strong pull to be more intentional about how our family lives, eats, makes decisions, and how we support others.

I believe the long ignored virtues of helping, caring, listening, and tending are so important to the healing of our collective health and soul. Doing those things require time - which is often difficult to find when much of our energies are used to achieve success as we have come to know it in our current culture of competition and material wealth.

I am curious to hear more about how the Obama administration will listen to, and utilize the energies of, people of faith. I am hopeful that President Obama continues to have the courage to be guided not by fear, but by hope.

I am an African American Evangelical Christian who was a friend of the President when he was in high school. I work for a national agency of the moderate United Methodist Church. I am intrigued by the President's approach to faith and politics and particularly how Joshua Dubois has operated both during the campaign and in his new role.

As a Christian (as well as pastor of an urban church in a very progressive Mpls. neighborhood)I desire to better learn how culture and faith intersect in the public square, especially amidst our increasingly religious pluralistic fabric.

I also desire to dialogue with others (some who I may not theologically agree with) how to not only coexist but to live for the mutual good of our culture--even amidst very profoundly real differences.

I am interested in this event because my world-view is shaped by my deepest beliefs in Jesus, my grateful appreciation for my country and strong interest in seeing it live up to its noblest aspirations.

I have a large family living in the Nashville area. I'm not as conservative as I used to be and have gone from 20 years of being a one issue voter (that of abortion) to a bigger picture, varied approach regarding minimizing unwanted pregnancies. However, I voted for President Obama with the hopes that his faith, intelligence and transparent dialogue about difficult issues provide better solutions than non-productive ideologues of any party.

I also strongly believe in the voice of dissent, free exchange of ideas, and listening to those with whom I disagree. I hope to gain a better understanding of how President Obama's administration adds measurable actions to the many words spoken regarding limiting unplanned pregnancies but also how this administration can support productive, faith-based initiatives while resisting the castigation of faith by those who believe one must not admit to making any decision because of their faith alone.

i am 41 years old single mother of 5,i am looking for work but it,s hard for me becouse i have a felony record from 1996,i am trying to get it exspunge.ihave change my life around i help kid's now that live in drug infested home's and community's i have fish fry's to raise money's to help with new shoe's and clothing and personal item's.i think the community should help out more and come together.i think if the community would come togeter with me and help i would be able to do more.but blessed to do what i can.

My belief in Christianity and my uncompromising Faith in GOD. I would like to learn more about the Obama's religious beliefs and practices in choosing his former Assistant Pastor as the White House Faith-based Executive Director. I would love to attend in person, but due to conflict of interest and time restaint the live-internet video watch will suffice. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this fascinating discussion.

I'm interested in learning more about the faith-based initiatives of the Obama administration and how they contract with those of the previous administration. Are they more consistent with Obama's perceived approach, which is more compassionate and pragmatic, and less dogmatic than those of the Bush administration? Where does DuBois stand on the coupling of financial aid for family planning that includes birth control/contraception?

Searching for answers about religion and spirituality.

I am public policy advocate and writer based in Washington, DC. I worked on various domestic issues for the MCC Washington Office, 1998-2005, as well as other organizations before and after. Presently, I consult for religious and non-profit groups regarding civil rights and criminal justice issues.
I am interested in deeply democratic processes and recently attended an urban ministry conference(for Washington and Baltimore stakeholders) at which Mr. DuBois spoke briefly.

What markers are being tracked to determine your effectiveness?

I am an avid consumer of any theological discussion, debate, study, etc.! World belief systems and sacred practices is my passion. SO many people now seem to be on journey's of faith to choose a belief system that calls to them. I was wondering if there has been any study done on people beginning more and more to "choose their own religion" as opposed to assuming the religious practice one was born into. Do you see this as a positive step in uniting us as people of faith?

I am aware of how historical an event this election was for many African-American people. For the first time in a long time, I feel our country is building good karma and working with a global vision.

I'm vitally interested in bringing people from various backgrounds together. I was a Minneapolis 1st/2nd grade teacher and co-chair of the Minneapolis Public Schools Human Relations Committee during the desegregation process.

After two years of going to seminars, conducting seminars, meeting with various civic groups, etc. while teaching school, my husband and I took a hiatus from our city jobs. We moved to a run-down log cabin on a one acre island on a wilderness lake in the Chippawa National Forest of northern Minnesota. We lived primarily off the land-fishing, hunting, gathering, ricing, grinding our own grain for flour, gardening, baking bread on a cookstove, etc. We bathed in the lake in the summer and in the winter we had a tub like the ones we see in old-time movies. I traveled across the lake mostly by canoe in the summer because I didn't like motor boats. I resigned from teaching and we stayed at the lake.

I tend to define myself as on a spiritual path rather than a religious one. Our minister is a rabbi and a minister. Our congregation is small but includes people from several different religions as well as some who have not had a church home in the past. My religious background has been in the Luteran church as a young child and in the Christian Science church for the years since. There is no C.S. Church nearby so I joined a small but active non-denominational church. We meet in the Town Hall and all of our funds go to feeding, providing medical and dental services, school supplies, etc. for those who lack such necessities here and in a rural area of Honduras.

I'm 83 years young and working in the Activities Division of our local nursing home. I don't have a great deal of time or money to donate, but I would like to help wherever I am able.

I'm vitally interested in bringing people from various backgrounds together. I was a Minneapolis 1st/2nd grade teacher and co-chair of the Minneapolis Public Schools Human Relations Committee during the desegregation process.

After two years of going to seminars, conducting seminars, meeting with various civic groups, etc. while teaching school, my husband and I took a hiatus from our city jobs. We moved to a run-down log cabin on a one acre island on a wilderness lake in the Chippawa National Forest of northern Minnesota. We lived primarily off the land-fishing, hunting, gathering, ricing, grinding our own grain for flour, gardening, baking bread on a cookstove, etc. We bathed in the lake in the summer and in the winter we had a tub like the ones we see in old-time movies. I traveled across the lake mostly by canoe in the summer because I didn't like motor boats. I resigned from teaching and we stayed at the lake.

I tend to define myself as on a spiritual path rather than a religious one. Our minister is a rabbi and a minister. Our congregation is small but includes people from several different religions as well as some who have not had a church home in the past. My religious background has been in the Luteran church as a young child and in the Christian Science church for the years since. There is no C.S. Church nearby so I joined a small but active non-denominational church. We meet in the Town Hall and all of our funds go to feeding, providing medical and dental services, school supplies, etc. for those who lack such necessities here and in a rural area of Honduras.

I'm 83 years young and working in the Activities Division of our local nursing home. I don't have a great deal of time or money to donate, but I would like to help wherever I am able.

I am a tenured teacher in the public school system on Long Island and have long believed that the element most lacking in our daily lives is the awareness that "Spirit" must have an integral role in our character, our thoughts and our actions. Too often, the mere mention of the word "Spirit" sends people into panic mode, for many equate this with dogmatic religion. Instead, I would state that the difference between truancy and excellence in school is totally one of 'spirit'. The difference between waking up in the morning, energized to embrace a new day of work and refusing to get out of bed is again the presence of spirit. The question is one that needs to be addressed in all that we do, be it in the world of education, industry, business or whatever realm encompasses our daily lives. Spirit is our "essence" and is "essential" in giving rise to life in all we seek to do, to accomplish and to master. Spirit may struggle, Spirit may falter, but with perseverance, it will always succeed and prosper, leading to joy, peace and understanding for self and in selflessness with others.
The spirit and leadership qualities that President Obama has demonstrated from the onset are the hallmarks of character we as educators try to instill daily in and out of the classrooms and more importantly, as exemplary in our lives. I would ask Mr. DuBois and the President's Interfaith planning to emphasize those universals, those absolutes that deal with integrity, character, ethical decision-making, empathy, Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence and Spiritual Intelligence as well. These are the values we must cultivate in ourselves and our children for a better world.

I enjoyed your discussion today with Joshua DuBois very much. I believe the intelligent and civil discussion of religion in America is critical to moving us forward on so many issue of human dignity. However, as a person whose views no longer incorporate those of formal religion, I am disappointed to hear those of faith speak of the rest of us as having no values or as not having values-based lives. Many of the most moral, generous, and humanistic people I know do not attend a church or affiliate themselves with a particular religion. (Think of Einstein, Schweitzer, etc.) Their values I hold in the utmost respect, as do many others. The words used to describe others and groups DO matter, most basically in how we openly we can interact with one another.

Respectfully,
Ms. Cris Winters

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Voices on the Radio

Joshua DuBois

is the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

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