Obamas' Church Hunt Stirs Bloggers

A recent conversation about the First Family's hunt for a house of worship in Washington, D.C., prompted one blogger to share details of her own intense search for a church home. Also, a Tell Me More listener weighs in on the debate about inappropriate workplace conversation directed at mixed-raced colleagues. And, hear one mom's discovery of how to plan a "green" birthday party.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here with me as always. Hey, Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, late last week, as part of our weekly Faith Matters conversation, we talked about the focus placed on the first family's search for a place to regularly worship in Washington, D.C.

Now, we later heard from Moji(ph), who says she can relate. Moji spent almost two years doing what some people call church-hopping, visiting different churches from week to week until she found the right fit.

MOJI (Blogger): I checked out the preacher. Do I like the music, or am I going to be bored to death? How's the demographics? The 18-34 group needs to be thriving or at least be a good mix of everyone. I went to one before my church, and I felt like I was in the presence of my parents all the time. All the people just acted older. And yes, diversity matters.

HILL: And, Michel, Moji seems quite satisfied at the Community Christian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She's been a member there since last February.

MARTIN: Thank you, Moji, it's good to hear from you. Moving on, Lee, DiversityInc Magazine has been running a series of articles about things you just should not say to workers of diverse backgrounds. This week, we talked about what not to say to mixed-race colleagues. And one of our guests, DiversityInc co-founder Luke Visconti, talked about how where you're from can be a loaded question.

Mr. LUKE VISCONTI (Co-founder, DiversityInc Magazine): If you go, for example, to horse country here in New Jersey, very affluent area, you'll be asked, so where are your people from? And you'll get that question, and the question, and I'll translate it for you, is, you don't look like you belong here, I don't like that you're here, and would you please explain how you got into this party?

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Well, Luke's scenario prompted blogger Howard(ph) to post this note to our online discussion forum. I'll read it. He writes, I'm black and white, and I have no problem with people me asking me, where are you from? Some people are way too sensitive to answer simple questions that may be nothing more than a launching point for a conversation. This is a chance to let your actions speak for you and hopefully change the world a little bit for the better.

HILL: Thanks, Howard. And Michel, there was one more story that really got the blog going this week. Well Wednesday, as we all know, was Earth Day. And in this week's parenting segment, we talked to moms who shared tips on how to think more green when it comes to planning kids' parties. Here's regular contributor Jolene Ivey.

JOLENE IVEY: At one party, we did a dig. I had all of these arrowheads I'd gotten from a museum shop and put them in the sandbox. And so they had to dig through the sandbox to get the arrowheads. Well, that's your goodie bag. You know, whatever you found during the party, as part of the party, that's your bag. Don't ask me for nothing else.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HILL: Well, that inspired blogger Maria(ph) to tell us a little bit about her own creative party planning. I'll read her note. She writes, for my step-daughter's eighth birthday party, we decided to have a pizza party. But instead of ordering pizza, each kid made their own pizza. As an art activity, I got some inexpensive blank canvas aprons from a crafts store, and the kids decorated them, and those were their favors to take home. We used our own plates and cups, and there were no pizza boxes, no plastic favors, either. The kids loved it.

MARTIN: Well, Maria, you are invited any time to come over to my house and make pizza. Lee, any updates?

HILL: Yes. Well, recently we talked about the case of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, who was being detained in Iran on charges of espionage. Well, this week we learned the Iranian has sentenced Saberi to eight years in prison. Media organizations around the world are protesting, and her parents are in Iran, seeking an appeal on her behalf.

Now, you can read a statement about Saberi from NPR president and CEO Vivian Schiller on npr.org.

MARTIN: Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And remember with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more about what you think, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. That number again, 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log onto our Web page, where you'll find even more feedback to our segments. Go to npr.org. Click on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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