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Reclaiming Hope: Week of October 24th, 2016

Can Trump Help Us Bridge the 'God Gulf'?

Nicolas Kristof notes that while there is plenty of evangelical support of Trump, we shouldn't ignore the fact that there is a striking number of prominent evangelicals who are denouncing Trump. He is hopeful that "the crisis among evangelicals this election year creates an opportunity to build bridges across America's 'God Gulf.'"

2. Joe Biden wants to make sure Democrats don’t give up on Trump voters

The Democratic Party is slowly drifting away from white working class voters and towards pedigreed elites, a movement that Biden is actively trying to combat. 

3. From Burma to Buffalo

The Buffalo News reports on how an influx of Burmese refugees has affected the city. This extensive reporting provides a window onto what is occurring in communities all over the United States, and a moving portrait of individuals and families striving to make it in America.

4. A Reading Guide for Those in Despair About American Politics

Regardless of who wins come November, America has a lot to grapple with -- police shootings, hate crimes, and fraying political coalitions. Emma Green has compiled a list of recommendations from academics, activists, comedians and more on books that provide a deeper look into our issues. 

5. What Does the 'Enneagram' Have to Offer Christians?

The Enneagram is an increasingly popular personality model in many contexts, including churches. Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile are interviewed in a Christianity Today podcast about the connections between the wisdom of this ancient personality typology and the church's rich spiritual tradition. 

Michael has several upcoming speaking engagements. This week, he will be speaking at Skyline Church in Oklahoma City and in a MyFaithVotes tele-townhall with Dr. Alan Noble. OnNovember 6, Michael will speak in Nashville at Christ Presbyterian Church with Pastor Scott Sauls, Governor Bill Haslem and journalist Samantha Fisher. To inquire about these events, or invite Michael to speak, email


Reclaiming Hope: Inaugural Edition

Most Evangelicals Are Not Voting for Trump
“Evangelicals” tend to be described as a monolithic voting bloc. But while Trump does have a slight edge over Clinton among evangelicals at large (45% to 31%), the opposite is true among evangelicals of color who make up 40% of all evangelicals and who favor Clinton (62%) over Trump (15%). 

Even if Trump loses big, the anger will remain. Here’s how the left can address it.
EJ Dionne Jr. asks all the right questions that we should be asking after November's election and provides at least some of the answers. 

How long can evangelical women stay behind Donald Trump?
Laura Turner profiles several evangelical women's mixed reactions to recent revelations about Donald Trump's sexually aggressive comments. Michael is quoted in this piece about the growing dividing lines among evangelicals. 

The Politics of Posting: How social media shapes our political culture
Phillip Kline, a student at Wheaton College, analyzes how social media platforms biases us towards receiving positive feedback, creating an echo chamber that feeds into our national political discourse. "When the litmus test of our online reputation becomes how forceful of a stance we take, truth and understanding get lost in the cracks," he writes. 

A Future Pro-Life Movement
Janet Kelly, one of the founding members of Public Faith, asks some hard questions for the pro-life movement: “Have we made our justified revulsion of abortion an idol at the expense of a consistent pro-life worldview?” The future of the pro-life movement may not be rooted in any political party, she writes. 

Last Week, Today: Speak truth to Trump

Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture

Update: For those of you in Atlanta, Michael will be speaking tomorrow night in Emory University on "The Politics We Need: Faith, the Presidential Election and the Choices Ahead," as part of Emory's lecture series on faith and politics.

Speak truth to Trump

Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today, lays out in stark terms why the choice to vote for Trump out of "reluctant strategic calculation" is an idolatrous act. "Strategy becomes idolatry when we betray our deepest values in pursuit of earthly influence," he writes.

Evangelical exiles: How Trump is driving some believers away from the GOP

Jon Ward profiles two examples of a new generation of evangelicals: Jim Daly, the new president of Focus on the Family, and Michelle Higgins, an Urbana evangelical speaker and Black Lives Matter activist.

Standing by Donald Trump, Pat Robertson calls lewd video ‘macho talk’

Although some evangelical leaders and theologians, such as Wayne Grudem, pulled back their support of Trump after the leaked recording, several leaders -- James Dobson, Jerry Fallwell Jr. and Pat Robertson -- are justifying Trump's behavior.

The deep disgust for Hillary Clinton that drives so many evangelicals to support Trump

Sarah Pulliam Bailey digs into the archives of the '90s to explain why many evangelicals have a long-bred, visceral aversion to Hillary Clinton. Michael is quoted in this article.

Turning 40 while single and childless

Bethany Jenkins pens a poignant reflection on what it feels like to desire children as a single, childless woman, as well as the spiritual family that a church can provide.

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Michael’s book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America is available for pre-order now on Amazon, IndieBound, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.

Last Week, Today: America's first post-Christian debate

Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture

Update... Michael is interviewed by Christian Today, a UK publication, on his thoughts on Trump: "He does not contain an ounce of the grace or thoughtfulness of the man he wants to succeed, the understanding of the job and the aspirations to service of the woman he is running against, or the character and commitment to conservatism of the Republican Party's previous nominees.'

America's first post-Christian debate

Presidential candidates in debates have always appealed, if not directly to religion, then at least to America's "civil religion," defined by sociologist Robert Bellah, which drew heavily from Judeo-Christian values. This past debate was unique, Yoni Applebaum argues, in that both candidates largely abandoned the rhetoric of America's religion.

How decades of divorce helped erode religion

A new study from Pew reports that divorce may be a predictor of whether children become religious or nonreligious as adults. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents say that they are nonreligious, compared with 23 percent of people whose parents were married when they were children.

Torn over Donald Trump and cut off by culture wars, evangelicals despair

The NYT provides a nuanced portrait of the internal conflicts that conservative evangelicals, particularly those who care about religious liberty, face when it comes to Trump.

How the Iraq war warped Obama's worldview

President Obama was right about the Iraq war. Shadi Hami asks: But does that necessarily make him right about Syria?

Our two political options in a post-Christian nation

Ross Douthat, in a talk at Messiah college, framed the two political options that Christians now face. They can either rely on political strong men to protect them from the forces of secularization. Or they can rejigger the two-party system and promote a political approach that is decidedly Christian in orientation. John Fea, professor at Messiah College, narrates the story.

Thank you for reading!

If you haven't already, sign up for this weekly newsletter.

Michael’s book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America is available for pre-order now on AmazonIndieBoundBooks-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.

Last Week, Today: ​The Ultimate Exit Interview

Essential Reads on Faith, Politics & Culture

Last week, Michael launched a new website, as well as a new resource he created: “5 Questions Christians Should Ask Before Voting.” You can receive the resource by visiting and signing up for it, or because you are already receiving this newsletter, just reply to this email and Michael will send you the pdf of the document. Finally, Michael was able to speak about "Christian Faithfulness and Modern American Politics” last night at Door Creek Church in Madison, WI. A picture from the event is at the end of this newsletter. More updates from Michael on the election and Reclaiming Hope to come soon!

The Ultimate Exit Interview

Doris Kearns Goodwin, a biographer of several US presidents, and Barack Obama met to talk about "peculiar ambitions," haunting decisions, and how Obama thinks of himself in the context of those who have gone before him.

When It comes to Baskets, We're all Deplorable

JD Vance responds in The New York Times to Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment. "Those with morally objectionable viewpoints can still be good people," Vance writes. "Most of us fall into another basket altogether: One where prejudice — even implicit — coexists with incredible compassion and decency."

How Civil Society in the EU & US is “Countering Violent Extremism”

Melissa writes about a recent report published by the British Council, along with Georgia State University and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, that explores the ways in which civil society organizations are working towards countering violent extremism.

The Best News You Don't Know

Most Americans, regardless of political views, believe that global poverty has worsened or remained steady in the past 20 years. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. Nicholas Kristof reports.

The Definitive Story of How the National Museum of African American History and Culture Came to Be

In 1915, a group of African-American veterans of the Civil War proposed a museum to commemorate African-American history in Washington. That idea has finally come to fruition. The director of the museum, Lonnie Bunch, narrates how the museum came to be and how it tells the story of America's identity.

Thank you for reading!

If you haven't already, sign up for this weekly newsletter.

Michael’s book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America is available for pre-order now on AmazonIndieBoundBooks-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.

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