Book discusses faith in Obama White House

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A new book provides a fascinating insight into the world of former President Obama's outreach to faith-based communities.

Michael Wear is an evangelical Christian who served in Obama's Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the White House during the president's first term. Wear directed faith outreach during the 2012 re-election as well.

Wear also is founder of Public Square Strategies LLC, a consulting firm aiming to build bridges between secular and religious institutions with shared goals.

The story of how a young college student became a White House staffer is told in "Reclaiming Hope," published by Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson. The subtitle is "Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America."

Wear writes about how through a series of coincidences he basically walked up to then-Sen. Obama in a hotel and asked for a job with the future presidential campaign. Wear, a college student at the time, persistently stayed in touch with Obama's staff throughout the 2008 campaign.

He told me his contributions to the administration included bringing people together "who wouldn't have been in the same room" talking about feeding the hungry and how the church can help the unemployed. The Faith Based Office put him in touch with "people on the ground" who were doing good things.

Wear talks about how the 2008 and 2016 Republican campaigns missed the boat by not reaching out to faith communities and how President Trump did.

He also talks about hope at the intersection of faith and politics and poses some challenging thoughts for Christians.

-- Jason M. Reynolds is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette. His email is jreynolds@t-g.com.