Completing The Arc, Building The Exchange : Tell Me More I have to confess, it was always a dream of mine to have a segment, or a program, where we would talk about matters of faith and spirituality as part of our normal conversation.
NPR logo Completing The Arc, Building The Exchange

Completing The Arc, Building The Exchange

A worker at Jayco, Inc., the country's third largest RV maker, does the final inspection on a travel trailer on Feb. 10 in Elkhart County, Ind. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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So we end the week where we started off ...

We talked to Mark Souder, a Republican Congressman from Indiana who represents an area that borders Elkhart, Ind., where President Obama visited at the beginning of the week to tout his stimulus plan. The unemployment rate there is twice the national average, about 15 percent. And Elkhart is known as the recreational vehicle (RV) capital of the world, and is very much a manufacturing area.

In full disclosure, Souder's district line is about three blocks from the actual site of the President's visit. (Rep. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, represents the actual dirt where the President stood.) But you get my drift.

Elkhart is in a world of hurt, and Souder's district is all about making things that many folk cannot afford to buy right now -- RV's, pickup trucks ... the works.

Earlier this week, we had an Elkhart resident, Damond Smart, share his fears about the economy and his hopes that Obama will help turn things around.

Given all that, how could Souder and other Republicans, but especially him, vote against the economic stimulus bill, you ask?

Well, you can hear from him yourself. Marc Souder was our lead segment, today's political chat.

But now, I want to say a word about Faith Matters ...

Some people may wonder why we have this segment. I have to confess, it was always a dream of mine to have a segment, or a program, where we would talk about matters of faith and spirituality as part of our normal conversation. You don't have to be religious to understand that religion is an animating force in American life. For many people it is life, and for others, it is as important as work or politics, or sports?

Today, we decided to talk with two clergy members who are actively taking on sex. And not just what not to do, or who not to do it with ... but what to do.

We deliberately chose two men who come from very different worlds -- theologically and socially. One is white and gay, and ministers primarily to a GLBT congregation. The other is African-American and theologically more of a traditionalist. He believes strongly that sex is to be experienced within the confines of marriage.

But each man believes in trying to help his congregation achieve a more fulfilling intimate life.

One reason we really appreciate Faith Matters (browse the archive of topics) is that we find that our guests, perhaps more than any other, really strive for the kind of authentic civility that is so often lacking in our daily lives and conversations. Often we have guests who disagree passionately about some core issues, and yet they almost always listen to each other with great respect and concern. They are able to express their most deeply held beliefs, respectfully. Often, they end the conversation by offering blessings to each other.

Now, I realize this is not everyone's cup of tea, but we do hope that many of you see in it what we do: a model of deep conversation that respects differences and bridges others.

Have a great weekend.

And Happy Valentine's Day.

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