November 2, 2007
For Immediate Release
NATIONALLY ACCLAIMED POLICY LEADER AUTHORS NEW BOOK ON FAITH
These days it seems easy to become disillusioned with faith. Divisiveness, hostility, intolerance, even death, are laid at faith’s door. But while some recent books have blamed religion for society’s woes, this author shows that faith can still bring out the goodness of people—especially when they heed its call to act on behalf of others.
On November 6, Bartleby Press will release Hope Matters: The Untold Story of How Faith Works in America by John A. Calhoun, who served as the founding president of the National Crime Prevention Council for twenty years.
Like many people, Calhoun became caught up during his years of service in the endless parade of committee meetings, speaking engagements, and policy program initiatives. He didn’t realize he had lost touch with the bedrock of his vocation—until an unusually clear-sighted volunteer helped him reconnect his daily work to his faith in God.
Reinvigorated, Calhoun embarked on a two-year cross-country quest to discover how faith motivates some of America’s hardest-working public servants. The result? He selected twenty-four amazing people who pursue a range of innovative and ambitious plans to help their communities. Their accomplishments are impressive, deeply moving, and often surprising. The interviewees include Christians of every denomination, Muslims, Jews, and others, some of whom pray five times a day and some who are, frankly, “not that religious.”
The book comprises stories from public figures like Richard Paul Evans, author of The Christmas Box, Joe Hynes, Brooklyn’s District Attorney, and Tibby Milne, Executive Director of the Utah Council for Crime Prevention. There are also individuals like Mary Gonzales, who simply takes time to feed and care for children in her impoverished Chicago neighborhood, and Alexie Torres-Fleming, the daughter of a custodian from the Bronx who
“escaped” to Madison Avenue’s fast track only to double back to work with youth.
Through the stories, Calhoun reveals how people sustain their pubic work by privately calling upon their spiritual beliefs. Readers will discover how they overcome doubt, fear and burnout. They will learn about finding a calling, about concepts that most faith traditions share, such as tikkun olam, the Jewish belief that we all have a part in healing the world, and imago Dei, the Christian idea that we are all made in the image of God—and so much more.
A lifelong public servant himself, John Calhoun was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the U.S. Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families, and held other significant public-policy positions. He has written several major policy papers such as Faith in Action and National Service and Public Safety. His editorials have appeared in many newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Calhoun wrote Hope Matters “to give a worried, tense public the other side of the faith story—an affirming, joyous side.” He says, “I want these stories to inspire people to ask, ‘How can I be there for my neighbor?’ Is there a more important question as we go through life together?”