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Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House about the Future of Faith in America
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Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House about the Future of Faith in America

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  455 ratings  ·  84 reviews
In this unvarnished account of faith inside the world's most powerful office, Michael Wear provides unprecedented insight into the highs and lows of working as a Christian in government. Reclaiming Hope is an insider's view of the most controversial episodes of the Obama administration, from the president's change of position on gay marriage and the transformation of relig ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Thomas Nelson
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Start your review of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House about the Future of Faith in America
Mark Wheeler
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
During President Obama’s first term in office, Michael Wear served in the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He later directed faith outreach for the president’s 2012 re election campaign. Wear has now written a book about his experiences in the halls of power.

The book is part memoir about the behind the scenes struggles surrounding some of the administration’s signature achievements, including the adoption tax credit and making human trafficking a presidential priority. The au
...more
Bob
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: Written by an Obama staffer in his Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and faith outreach director in his 2012 campaign, this is not only a narrative of that work, but also an exploration of controversial decisions made by this administration, and how Christians might think of the possibilities and practice of political involvement.

Michael Wear got involved in Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign after following his rise in politics following the 2004 Democratic co
...more
Andee
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I needed this book. I heard about Michael Wear's work before the election. Little did I know then the sinking feeling in my gut I'd have over 2 months later. I'm losing hope.

Wear's book shares what it was like to work in a faith office under President Obama. I appreciated his reports of the good and the bad during Obamas 8 years. There are matters I had forgotten; such as the meetings with evangelical leaders Obama held at the beginning of his first term. Hearing some evangelicals talk about Oba
...more
Jim
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-presidency
Religion had become polarized in our country, in part, because we were only hearing from polarizing religious leaders. - Page 183

This was one of the more interesting books I read this year. Reclaiming Hope is one of many books written by staffers at the Obama White House, but this one was written from the perspective of a Christian, working in the Faith-Based Initiatives office. It's interesting to see some of the big events from that era through his eyes, and it's even more interesting to see a
...more
Grant Everly
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most enjoyable reads I've had recently. I struggled to put it down! Wear is a great writer. Simple, clear, entertaining, insightful. This is not your average white house memoir. Wear is neither infatuated with Obama nor obsessed with White House drama. He entertains with presidential anecdotes for the first half of the book, and then gets serious in the second half, examining many dissapointments of the Obama era for religious people, while also laying out how the Obama White ...more
Jacob Vahle
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Michael Wear is a man I respect a lot after finishing this book. His thoughtful Christian engagement in politics transcends partisan politics and instead provides a model that I hope to emulate. He is alienated from both mainline parties by being guided by a consistent Biblical ethic rather than a spliced up politically expedient platform of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

If this type of Christian politician engagement sounds appealing, check out his organization The AND Campaign - d
...more
Jamie
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such an important book! Highly recommended.
Mitchell Atencio
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I could not recommend this book more. On policy where I agree with Michael, I find him challenging me to be more kind and empathetic, to be more rounded in my political engagement and to consider my neighbor. Where I disagree, I find Michael charitable and considerate. He shows no preference and is honest to a fault with those he supports and those he opposes.
Cindy Battles
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I started this book with a lot of...well, hope. There was the West Wing humor and the tongue in cheek comment regarding breaking the White House...but I ended with significantly less hope. For the book and politics. Michael and I differ on several issues but I didn't expect that to be an issue...however in the chapter focusing on marriage equality, it became very clear that Michael had taken some things personally. That when he discusses Obama's shift, he isn't just feeling upset that Obama "foo ...more
Jennifer Spiegel
I listened to this in the wave of resuscitating my political life, which I think is now dying again. Michael Wear was a staffer for Obama, pretty much the "Christian on Board" in the Obama Administration.

Well, he was very HOPEFUL, as you might expect. He sounded pretty young to me, so fresh, so enthusiastic. Poor guy. I hope he's okay post-election. The book just came out, so it would be interesting to hear him now.

The analysis was fairly lightweight, though the message was good.

I think listenin
...more
Greg Bailey
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book when read as an insider's take on the Obama White House and some of the hot-button social issues that played out during that administration. But for me, it was also an uncomfortable book when read (as I had to read it) as a fellow Christian presenting a picture of Barack Obama that is dramatically different than my own. So while it was not easy, it was good for me to read this book and consider the perspective of a believer who is outside my insular little faith worl ...more
Allison
I appreciated a new perspective on Obama's White House. I didn't follow politics closely in 2008 (or 2012, really), and so a lot of the details/controversies passed me by. While I didn't fully align with the vehement opposition, my conservative roots didn't allow me to side with him either. I appreciated learning more about his positions and actions during Wear's tenure. Although Wear obviously supported the President enough to campaign for him (twice), I thought this was a pretty even handed ap ...more
Jenna Candido
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
The majority of this book is about the authors time working for the Obama administration. I expected to be more interested in this part than I was. The last few chapters are gold though and would be helpful to any person of faith struggling to find their voice in the political landscape. A favorite quote from the book:
“For Christians, one inescapable conclusion of this extraordinary command is that we are obliged to work for the benefit and the flourishing of all people, whether or not they see
...more
Andrew Figueiredo
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great look at faith in the Obama administration. Wear recounts both the highs and lows of the Obama White House's dealings with faith, providing a nuanced perspective about where American Christians stand today in relation to government. He possesses a skilled writing style that's enjoyable to read and leaves you thinking long after you've finished reading. ...more
Hannah Edwards
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting perspective for anyone interested in the intersection of faith and politics and how it actually bears out in the modern day. Wear answers a lot of questions I often got as a Christian working in Democratic politics. Obviously I don’t agree with all his takes but appreciated his candor on tough subjects.
Amanda Himes
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Read this book as part of a JBU book club (thanks Dan Bennett!) two weeks before a campus visit from author Michael Wear. Really informative look about the politics of faith (for Democrats in particular) from someone with the credentials to talk seriously about such things. Wear's honesty about the tough times in the Obama White House, as well as the victories gleaned, made it a worthwhile read. ...more
Mark Vanderwerf
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very important read - regardless of which side of the aisle one is on. An inside look into the role faith played in the Obama administration - both the contributions and the mistakes along the way. There are lots of lessons to be learned from this book for how Christians - and all people of faith - can and should engage politics as a concrete way to "love our neighbor." ...more
Jen Mayes
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this and really appreciated his candor.
Nancy
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at religion in the White House. I don't agree with everything he says, but it's worth the read. ...more
Rebekah
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This made me feel a lot of feels about faith and politics.
Barry
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
He seems reluctant to come out and say it, but I think that he believes he was snookered into working for a guy who claimed to be a Christian and often said all the right things, but when it came down to it, his actions invariably aligned with the Marxist (and frankly, anti-Christian) ideologues that now dominate his party. It is nevertheless a thoughtful and interesting read, as he reflects on how we can work together for good even with people with whom we may disagree.
Terence
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
To some extent, people may read this book and take from it only what is consistent with what they believe. That would be too bad.

The essence of this book is that only hope rooted in Christ is trustworthy. This doesn't mean Christian's shouldn't participate in the political forum, actually, Mr. Wear states the opposite point, but that our hope should not be put into politics, the president or anything else.

Although I don't share Michael Wear's political party, there isn't much in this book that I
...more
Luke Harrington
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
While there's much to appreciate about Reclaiming Hope, I found the timing unfortunate. The book was released too early to comment on Trump's cataclysmic election, and too late to do anything about it. That said, Wear's vision of a world in which Christians would work for the good of all is an admirable one; unfortunately, I can't see the people who really need to hear the message ever reading the book. ...more
Elliott
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For years I considered myself apolitical. Yet I have found, as I have gotten older, that to not be political is to be political. It's difficult to be part of either political party when neither holds firmly to the beliefs that I do. In many ways, I'm conservative and, in others, I am liberal (particularly in regards to social justice). I have never voted straight party ticket but have thoroughly investigated and checked the stances on specific issues for each candidate and then voted according t ...more
Pete Williamson
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, politics
A refreshing book from a Christian who worked in the Obama White House.
Justin
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Michael Wear's excellent book, exploring faith and politics, as a faithful Christian who served in the Obama White House. Wear provides helpful insight into the political quagmire in DC, giving both appropriate affirmation and critique of the priorities of the Obama Administration and how political calculations on both sides have contributed to the current climate. Grounding his work in a deep faith in Christ as our true hope, he reminds us of the good that political engagement can be.

Personally
...more
Cole Brown
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author, who worked as a faith advisor in the Obama administration, is divided into several sections. It begins by covering portions of the author's biography and addresses Obama's faith before and during his time in the White House. Both sections are interesting, but the greatest strengths of the book are, first, the author's examination of five key and potentially divisive issues that faced Obama's administration and continue to face us (in each chapter he evaluates how well each was handle ...more
Mike
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A timely book that will encourage and challenge Christians of various political persuasions. Wear doesn't shy away from either his Christian or Democratic convictions and retells his story with a hopeful and critical eye. This intellectual honesty and integrity is welcomed and strengthens the final chapters of the book where he discusses his ultimate source for hope. It's a well written, easy read, that is worth your time. ...more
Jake Willems
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!
Genni
Aug 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
I loved this and thought the subject material was interesting, but it wasn't a life-changing book, by any means, and the writing was pretty basic. It is worth reading to hear Wear's perspective on Obama's religious initiatives, as well as his emphasis at the end on a Christian's hope not residing in any political party or leader. A good reminder. ...more
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What was the most surprising thing you read in Reclaiming Hope? 1 2 Mar 18, 2017 12:31PM  

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from http://michaelwear.com/bio

Michael Wear is the founder of Public Square Strategies LLC, and a leading expert and strategist at the intersection of faith, politics and American public life. As one of President Obama's "ambassadors to America's believers" (Buzzfeed), Michael directed faith outreach for President Obama’s historic 2012 re-election campaign. Michael was also one of the youngest Whi
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