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middle who might not fit the stereotypical “conservative” or “liberal” label but desire honest dialogue about faith in the public square. “Hopefully we’re providing information but also inspiration to get people engaged,” Fought explains. “How are people of faith who are elected officials or spiritual leaders driven by their faith?” That isn’t just a hypothetical question. Fought uses his longstanding connections to land some of the hottest names in Christian and political circles (see sidebar). “When James Martin, SJ, was finalized for the seventh episode, it was clear something big was happening,” he says.

PODCAST PREP Each show takes hours of preparation, from researching and booking guests to reading their books and developing a Scripture reflection. Along with content, Fought also produces the show, meaning he’s responsible for all of the recording, editing and final production of each episode. How does a graduate student taking four classes and working have the time? “Late nights and lots of coffee!” Fought says with a laugh. He also has help from colleagues at the School of Theology. Every other week, Fought gathers a group of “preaching partners” to offer feedback for the Scripture reflection portion of the show. The group prays through the lectionary readings and offers insights and challenges for Fought’s consideration. “There are women and men, people of color, seminarians, laypeople and Christians of different denominations in the group. All of these different perspectives represent different aspects of the church. Their feedback has been a real helpful part of the process for me,” says Fought.

NEW WAYS TO REACH OUT It’s fitting such a pivotal conversation is happening here. Collegeville has long been a place of forward-thinking engagement—from the abbey’s leadership in liturgical renewal of the early 20th century to the ecumenical work being done at the Collegeville Institute today. The College of Arts and Sciences educated two U.S. senators and the current White House Chief of Staff. “When I think about Collegeville, this has historically been a place where people came together and found common ground,” says Fought. “The spirit of Collegeville is very catholic—I mean, it is focused on dialogue and finding common ground. It’s a small “c” catholic understanding of faith and public life.” Fought’s work with In the Square fits this spirit. “We have to reach people in new ways,” he says. “Using innovative communication—from podcasts to other digital platforms and ways to engage—will attract people back to the church. We need that entrepreneurial spirit. The conversations about social justice, faith and politics, like those we’re having on In the Square, are so vital to the life of the church and the life of our communities.” Jessie Bazan is a Master of Divinity candidate at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary.

IN THE SQUARE GUESTS Diana Butler Bass Author Erica Brown Educator and Author S. Simone Campbell Executive Director of NETWORK and Founder of the Nuns on the Bus Movement S. Joan Chittister Benedictine Scholar, Author Eric Elnes Pastor, Author Peter Enns Biblical Scholar Christopher J. Hale Executive Director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good Aaron Ledesma Catholic Blogger Deborah Jian Lee Journalist, Author Michael O’Loughlin National Reporter for Crux, Author Fr. James Martin, SJ Author William C. Moyers Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Vice President of Public Affairs and Community Relations Jon M. Sweeney Franciscan Scholar, Author John Thavis ’73 Author Matthew Vines Founder and President of the Reformation Project, Author Michael Wear Former White House Staffer Lauren Winner Historian, Author and Lecturer

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Profile for CSB & SJU

Saint John's Magazine Winter/Spring 2016  

Saint John's Magazine is published in the fall and winter for alumni, parents, friends and the Saint John's University campus community.

Saint John's Magazine Winter/Spring 2016  

Saint John's Magazine is published in the fall and winter for alumni, parents, friends and the Saint John's University campus community.

Profile for csbsju
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