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The Faith of Barack Obama

By Stephen Mansfield (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 5.51" Width: 6.5" Height: 0.65"
Weight:   0.32 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   Sep 4, 2008
Publisher   SpringWater
ISBN  1598594966  
EAN  9781598594966  

Availability  0 units.

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Compact Disc $ 22.99 $ 19.54 262065
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Item Description...
Explores the religious background of Barack Obama, examines his relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and discusses how his beliefs shape his personal and political life.

Publishers Description
Get inside the mind and soul of Barack Obama. In this audio, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield takes listeners inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief. America faces looming inflation, climate change, a national credit crisis, war in the Middle East, threats to security and liberty at home, and skyrocketing oil and gas prices. With all of these threats to our security, prosperity and freedom on the horizon, it has never been more important to choose the right leader for America. If a man's faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life, writes Mansfield.

Community Description

The Faith of Barack Obama
By Stephen Mansfield

Binding: Audio CD - - Unabridged

You'd have to live in a cave to have avoided hearing about Barack Obama's woes as he deals with the crises arising from the close mentor relationship he had with the senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. How, people ask, could Sen. Obama represent as president people of all races, when he attended for 20 years a church permeated by a defining, if understandable, spirit of anger toward white America? There is, however, much more to the senator's faith than this one issue. As early as 2004, as he delivered a powerful speech to the Democratic National Convention in Boston, he was taking a stand for his faith: "We worship an awesome God in the Blue States." In The Faith of Barack Obama, Stephen Mansfield explores Obama's religious faith without political or ideological bias. Because if a man's faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life.

In The Faith of Barack Obama, Mansfield holds back nothing to share that vision and explain its roots, including:

* Obama's upbringing in a non-Christian home
* the influence on his life from his agnostic mother and Muslim father
* his remarkable turn to Christianity after working in the inner cities of Chicago
* his years at the controversial Trinity United Church of Christ
* his association to the radical teachings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright
* the source of Obama's relentless optimism and hope for America

Every American voter concerned to know more about Obama's beliefs, both religious and political, and how the two intertwine should read this book, as should every thinking person who continues to shape and evolve his or her religious beliefs.

Barack Obama, according to Mansfield, is "raising the banner of what he hopes will be the faith-based politics of a new generation . . . and he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow."


"You must read this perceptive and well written book. Then you will know why Barack Obama has such a passion for justice and equity, such a gift for filling people of different generations with a newfound hope that things can and will change for the better. His inspiration comes from his faith; he is an ardent believer. Yes, he is a Christian and proud of it."



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More About Stephen Mansfield

Stephen Mansfield Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times best-selling author of The Faith of George W. Bush, Benedict XVI: His Life and Mission, and Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill, among other works of history and biography. Founder of both The Mansfield Group, a consulting and communications firm, and Chartwell Literary Group, which creates and manages literary projects, Stephen is also in wide demand as a lecturer and speaker. For more information, log on to David A. Holland is an author, speaker, media consultant, and award-winning copywriter who writes the popular blog and the satirical He is the co-author of Paul Harvey s America, as well as numerous articles, essays, and opinion pieces.


Stephen Mansfield currently resides in Nashville, in the state of Tennessee. Stephen Mansfield was born in 1958.

Stephen Mansfield has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Leaders in Action

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Obama's short list of sins  Sep 23, 2008
I was listening to this author on CSPAN a few days ago and was fascinated to be informed that today's post-modern godworshippers (including Obama) have whittled down the short list of sins to no longer include infanticide and sodomy.
What's next to be excluded? Bestiality? Sex with children?
Civil unions between horses and humans?
Obama has successfully deceived some of God's elect.
Surprisingly Good! Definitely worth reading.  Sep 10, 2008
I was pleasantly surprised by The Faith of Barack Obama. I was expecting either a glowing report of his love for God and how it was evident in his politics or a point by point comparison of Obama's faith and that of conventional evangelical Christianity. Neither was the case. Instead, Stephen Mansfield first presented Obama's background including the faith and lack of faith exhibited by his parents and those who influenced him in his youth.

Then, the author did a very good job of explaining liberation theology in laymen's terms, which isn't an easy task. He went right to James Cone's book Black Theology and Black Power, which is the foundational work on the subject. He quotes from Cone, "This means that I read the Bible through the lens of a black tradition of struggle and not as the objective Word of God. The Bible therefore is one witness to God's empowering presence in human affairs, along with other important testimonies." (p. 42)The author then traces Cone's influence on Jeremiah Wright and on to Wright's influence on Obama including why Obama found Wright's preaching attractive and eventually the message he could incorporate into his worldview.

Clearly, the high point of the book was the chapter on the four faces of faith in America. Mansfield chose McCain as the representative of the faith exhibited by those who lived through World War II, a strong silent sort of faith. Hillary Clinton was his representative for the social gospel faith. George W. Bush was the one he selected as representative of evangelical faith and Obama as the person who represents the post-modern, liberal, social justice type of faith. What impressed me was the way the author portrayed each of these faiths in a positive manner.

By the completion of the book, I felt that I had a reasonably good understanding of the type of faith Obama has and what part it plays in the decisions he makes, which was exactly what I hoped for when I began the book.
Bishops, Baptists and Barack  Sep 8, 2008
America being America, faith will always work it's way into politics. So when a book comes along that seriously examines this facet of a candidate, it deserves attention. The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield (Thomas Nelson 2008) does just this.

To write this review, I am happy to introduce my brother, John Waddell, as a guest reviewer. John has a Masters Degree from NYU and he is currently a teacher in the greater Boston area.

"The Faith of Barack Obama" by Stephen Mansfield

Though the author's tone is clearly conservative in nature, such as in his discussion of America's divine destiny, it is to his credit that he makes it clear that the Religious Right does not have exclusive corner on the market of religious rhetoric or ideals. In fact, he seems, from the start, to laud Obama and his campaign as authentically religious, even if he is careful to distinguish it from the American religious tradition. In this sense, the author seems to want to hedge his bets and be on relatively solid footing with both the right and the left as it relates to the question of Obama's faith. This apparently did not entirely work. Interestingly, the book has to this point been heavily criticized by the right-wing media (Sean Hannity of Fox is the latest to take him on) as being far too kind to Obama. He is being criticized, it seems, for taking the man at his word, which is precisely what he did when he wrote a similar book on George W. Bush. In this sense, Mansfield has taken an expedient approach to his subject, and one that does not merely seek to stoke controversy, but perhaps to add to the national political dialogue in a positive way.

While the author reportedly did not interview his subject for the book, he does quote heavily from Obama's interviews, memoirs and writings. As he evaluates Obama's family background and its religious preference, the author's conservative point of view is fairly clear. I mean here that he uses many of the same old characterizations in this section: Obama's mother Ann is "secular" and "lonely". He later discusses her religious life as being a somewhat simplistic "optimistic atheism". Again to his credit, however, the author does discuss the strong ethics Obama's Mother would instill in her young son. This includes an appreciation for hard work, intelligence, and understanding. It also includes an admonition that Obama's Mother passed on that the author sees as invaluable to Obama's making it out of Indonesia intact: a "suitable detachment". To this he adds, "only through a determined detachment could a child of Barak's age be exposed to so much incongruous religious influence and emerge undamaged. Perhaps, though, the damage was in the detachment itself". The damage caused by this detachment becomes clearer a bit later, when he says that Obama is admittedly "trapped between two worlds".

Perhaps the section many within the Religious Right were most anxious to read is that of Obama's time in Indonesia, followed by his history with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. This section on his childhood includes an enlightening summary of the political turmoil of the period and the region. It also includes an acknowledgment of the myriad cultural and religious influences on the young Obama's life. These include the influence of the Catholic school he attended there, as well as the Public school and its somewhat more Islamic-based teachings, and finally the influence of his step-father, whom the author describes as a proponent of "Folk Islam", an "a superstitious, occult fringe faith" with "animistic" leanings. He is careful to say that the man was not a faithful adherent to the tenets of the Muslim faith. The author then proceeds to evaluate whether Obama might be guilty of "murtadd", the traditional Islamic belief in apostasy. While I appreciate that he does not ask whether Obama is a Muslim, but whether he was at one time a Muslim, the question of whether he would be considered an apostate by those within the Islamic faith seems a bit out of his purview. One additional note on this chapter: the author asks a series of questions about whether Obama became the "angry black man" or whether he was "upwardly mobile." While he doesn't seem to have a lot of basis for the questions and they do seem rather speculative, he does make perfectly clear that Obama's conversion was an authentic experience of an earnest individual searching for meaning and searching for a community with whom he could connect.

As for the association with the Trinity Church in Chicago and the Reverend Wright, the descriptions of the church tend to focus on difference from the Evangelical white community rather than any commonality; they don't, however, focus exclusively on Jeremiah Wright with any sort of cult of personality reading of the place. He does clearly describe Wright's "Black Theology" as based on flawed biblical interpretations, but he is relatively careful to portray Wright himself as a complex man, driven by the principle of liberation and his compassion for his people. While the author does tend to focus on difference when discussing Trinity Church and what he describes as a liberal agenda, he does not discount the church's obvious contribution to the people of Chicago. In this way, the author understands the positive role the church might have played in Obama's spiritual development. In particular, he makes a clear and essentially positive connection between Obama and the church; he describes the way in which the church seemed to provide a community to connect Obama with the people of Chicago and likewise provide an outlet for his political activism.

The other chapter that stands out in the book is his discussion of four of the major figures in contemporary politics, Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and George W. Bush. The chapter is entitled "Four Faces of Faith" and, while it is an interesting idea, it is also perhaps a bit too broad to contribute to the discourse in a significant way. Also, this chapter seems to draw attention to the author's reluctance to critique any of the candidates or their values. With his analysis of President Bush, he seems to still feel that Bush has been guided by principles, while also acknowledging subtly that the President has not helped the nation progress or prosper in the least. When discussing Senator Clinton he is reluctant to discuss her political ambition or to find the tensions in her candidacy that might make analysis of her values more interesting. Similarly, when discussing McCain he revisits the nominee's POW experiences, but avoids tensions in his values or even his past decisions, such as leaving his disabled wife for a younger, wealthier woman. In this sense, while it is an interesting idea to parallel the "Faces of Faith" in a chapter, the result is somewhat innocuous and lacks some punch, as it were.

I would like to emphasize a great strength of Mansfield's book: he does the political dialogue in this country a great service by taking all the candidates and their values seriously. Too many voices in the media, particularly those voices on the far right, seem to thrive off anger and division. Mansfield's approach to his subject encourages his readers, be they on the right or on the left, to take the candidate's statements of faith as true for them. Beyond that, his rather earnest take seems to encourage a sound and necessary idea: that people need to vote on issues rather than personality. Mansfield should be commended for this, especially inasmuch as he takes the values of Senator Obama seriously, and assumes that his readers will do likewise. Moreover, at no point does Mansfield imply that every conservative evangelical will vote for the Republican candidate over any democrat. Too long this has been taken for granted and it is subtly insulting to the evangelical faith community to do so. Mansfield does not take this for granted, and while this may not be the most critical or scholarly way of looking at the candidacy, it nonetheless respects the democratic process and fosters amicable dialogue, which is much to his credit.

-John Waddell

Thanks John for your insightful review. Let me/him know what you think.

Michael E. Waddell

co-author of Toy Box Leadership: Leadership Lessons from the Toys You Loved as a Child
A fair study of the religion of Barack Obama  Sep 6, 2008
It's campaign season here in the US and the books about the men vying for the presidency are flooding bookstores. I think everyone who plans to vote come November owes it to their country to learn about the candidates and make an informed decision. But so many of the books on the market are laced with erroneous information that it's hard to know what to pick!

The way I figure it, books by the candidates are the best way to go. You can get a real feel for their personality and their background: Barack Obama has Dreams From My Father and with the aid of Mark Salter, John McCain penned Faith of My Fathers. If you want books more about their politics there's The Audacity of Hope and Worth the Fighting For. But there are scores of other books praising their virtues or demonizing them. I can't hope to review all of them - and frankly, I don't want to - but I did come across one earlier this month that I think is worth the time to investigate.

The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield appealed to me because as a Christian, my faith is part of my everyday life and influences every decision I make. It became very clear during the current administration just how the President's faith can influence the office, so I now consider it quite vital to know what the next man's faith, and how it affects his judgment. At less than two hundred pages, this book remains neutral, examining Obama's relationship with God without endorsing or condemning him as a presidential candidate.

Mansfield begins by painting a portrait of Obama's multi-religion childhood, when he lived with a Muslim stepfather and atheist mother and attended a Catholic school. Later, he lived with his grandparents who attended a Unitarian church. As he grew up his constant moving left him without a strong sense of community and his life lacked a driving, central force until he found both at Trinity United Church of Christ. Controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright is introduced and Mansfield explains his version of a "black" church and the mix of social commentary and revisionist Bible-reading that characterizes his ministry. Wright isn't demonized; many times Mansfield emphasizes the pastor's kindness and love of his flock. But he also stays true to the facts, and does a fair job of balancing the good and bad in Obama's record with a minimum of spin. He also touches on how faith and religion have influenced the policies and careers of John McCain, Hilary Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Much of the research for the book is directly taken from Obama's own books, speeches and interviews so if you've read Obama's works this may, at times, seem repetitive. But regardless of which man you plan to vote for, you can only help your decision by reading this book.
Obama's Faith - The Prequel?  Aug 31, 2008
One measure of the usefulness of any book lies in its power to provoke a reader to mindfulness of alarming conditions in one's community, one's universe, or one's own spirit. As I read and pondered Stephen Mansfield's The Faith of Barack Obama, I became increasingly mindful of certain alarming paradoxes in American political life in 2008:

* How bizarre it is that personal character is usually kept off the table in political discourse while a candidate's religion is now considered fair game. When a scandal occurs, as it so often does nowadays with Democrats, Republicans, and preachers, it is always a scandal of character, not of one's stated religion.

* The central organizing principle that underlies the uses of religion and spirituality in American political life is bold hypocrisy and outright deceit. This has been true for decades, or perhaps as long as religion has been so used, but it seems especially clear today.

* Despite abundant evidence - not least in Obama's presence itself - that we live in a post-homogeneous America, our politics are relentlessly constrained by homogenizing talking heads who are always willing to stoop low to achieve the populist posture of a "gotcha" moment in which they use association or innuendo to say, of Obama or anyone else, "See, he's not like us!"

The aforementioned condition of rampant hypocrisy is not limited to one political party or one religious denomination. It is widespread. It is not my intention to cast stones here, but simply to state what should be obvious.

Religious self-presentation has become a routine element of political campaigns, often with no more rigor than might be involved in a candidate's assertion, for instance, that she had "always been a Yankees fan." No wonder, then, how often such calculations backfire with the drawing back of the curtains and the attendant protestations that we should "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

I recall a long period in my own adult life when I might have argued that Stephen Mansfield's inquiry into the spiritual journey of Barack Obama, however elegant in its composition and thorough in its supporting research, was insignificant almost by definition. Like millions of others who were inspired by John F. Kennedy's public persona, I grew up believing that religion should have no role in politics. Even if America's mid-century notions of pluralism and tolerance operated within the boundaries of a seemingly homogeneous culture, they appealed both to our basic sense of decency and to our fuzzy notions of a living constitution that worked.

Those notions have come under relentless attack for decades, so that we are less likely to recoil reflexively from the very idea of a book such as Mansfield's, as I and many others once did at titles such as Senator Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative or William F. Buckley's God and Man at Yale.

I wonder if Mansfield's book would have the same bookshelf appeal that it has today if it had been published under the title The Character of Barack Obama. That seems a bland alternative. But when I finished reading Mansfield's book and put it down, what impressed me most was that I felt that I had just read a book of considerable rigor and thoughtfulness about Obama's character and its origins, rather than anything so specific as a book about his religious faith.

I cannot fault Obama for fronting his "faith" as he has done, or Mansfield for writing about it. Without falling into a potentially dull recitation of second-hand news, Mansfield's narrative manages to do justice to the extremely damaging - and, of course, deceitful -- smear campaigns of guilt-by-innuendo and guilt-by-association that have tarred Obama as a Muslim extremist and, by selective use of the quotations of former Pastor Jeremiah Wright, as a bitter and unpatriotic black man. Under such stress, I don't know if there is any other way for Obama to fight back, and I appreciate Mansfield's chronicle.

But I admit that I will be somewhat more interested, if Obama is elected (as I hope that he will be), in an updated chronicle of the testing of his faith during his tenure as president. Whatever the ability of any campaigner to dance righteously across the religious dance floor of contemporary presidential politics, it is when a candidate becomes president that he (or, in the event of two very plausible circumstances, she) embarks upon a season of relentless preaching from America's most powerful pulpit.

Should such a book become appropriate, I hope that Stephen Mansfield will write it.

  Nov 30, -0001
Get inside the mind and soul of Barack Obama. In this audio, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield takes listeners inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief. America faces looming inflation, climate change, a national credit crisis, war in the Middle East, threats to security and liberty at home, and skyrocketing oil and gas prices. With all of these threats to our security, prosperity and freedom on the horizon, it has never been more important to choose the right leader for America. If a man's faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life, writes Mansfield.

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