Saguaro seminar stays with Obama

Religion News Service posted today on its homepage a story by reporter Daniel Burke that describes the long-lasting effect of a little-known chapter in the early career of President Barack Obama. A 1997 series of Harvard lectures on social capital, known as the Saguro Seminar, was attended by political and media luminaries of the day — and an obscure community organizer and first-term state senator from Illinois. The lectures had a profound impact. Much of what the young politician learned there has ended up framing the president’s public policy goals, and many of his fellow Saguro alumni have signed on as advisers in the Obama administration, Burke says, in his piece “Saguro seminar stays with Obama.”

‘American Idol’: Launch pad for Christian singers

The TV show “American Idol” may have the glitzy trappings of the Las Vegas strip, but David Wang of the The Catholic Register of Toronto has noticed that a high percentage of successful contestants have launched their careers in Christian music.

“Previous contestants who have released successful Christian albums have included Mandisa, Ruben Studdard and Chris Sligh.  

“Melinda Doolittle was a background vocalist on several notable Christian albums prior to her run at the title and some of (Chris) Daughtry’s initial demos before idol were Christian worship. This year’s contestants were no exception with Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds and the eventual winner Kris Allen all leading worship at their churches. “

Wang goes on to review Mandisa’s new album as well as an assortment of other recent contemporary Christian releases.