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Dear Krista,

First, thanks for your wonderful show. I listened to your Parker Palmer podcast earlier today--I happen to be currently reading his "The Courage to Teach"--and then listened to the radio broadcast this afternoon (on Chicago's WBEZ) of your Charles Darwin show.

To take your questions in order, I do think we are experiencing a spiritual and moral crisis, one that from a sociological perspective, and using some "sociological imagination," can be a godsend for our country and the world. I say "the world" because the world will depend heavily on our nation's becoming less militant and more caring.

A few years ago, 2006, when my younger son graduated from high school and went off to college, I moved from a house to an apartment, gave up owning a car--my new apartment is on a bus line--and thus have significantly reduced my "carbon footprint" and cost of living. A happy result is that I now can devote myself to writing, community service and, to some extent, politics. I campaigned hard for President Obama in the Indiana primary and in the general election.

By living frugally, I don't need to earn a living and have returned to college myself to gain an education degree. I plan to be a middle school substitute teacher. Having done a lot of acting in community theater in the last 15 years, I am comfortable around young people and find middle-school children to be delightful and interesting and not at all frightening. I think my services will be in great demand!

My life so far has been far more varied and fascinating than I'll attempt to relate here in detail But here's a "for instance"--as an ad agency creative director (Chicago, New York, Philadelphia,) I once helped create and produce a TV campaign for McDonld's. In 2006, going through tough times during my son Fred's senior year of high school, I cleaned restrooms, washed pots and pans and took out the trash at a local McDonald's. Talk about "I've seen both sides now!"

Thanks to "Speaking of Faith," NPR, the BBC, the CBC, the Internet and a vast personal library, not to mention my college classes, I'm getting an adequate supply of wisdom and leadership. At the age of 64, I hope to provide a little wisdom and leadership for others!

Yours, R. E. Roderick