Inspired to Serve

Inspired to Serve

Today's Faith Activists
Mark H. Massé
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/12/2004
ISBN: 978-0-253-11116-6
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AAUP 2005 Public & Secondary School Library Selection

‘Never underestimate the good you can do,’ Rabbi Steve Foster tells his Denver congregation in Mark H. Massé’s Inspired to Serve, and it is the book’s message, as well." —Melissa Fay Greene, author of Praying for Sheetrock,The Temple Bombing, and Last Man Out

Anyone who wants to know more about how diverse religious organizations perform civic good works should read this excellent account." —John J. DiIulio, Jr., University of Pennsylvania

Powerful, real-life stories of people of faith serving and empowering the poor." —Ronald J. Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action

Curious about what had happened to the social activism of the 1960s, and in response to the recent interest in "faith-based initiatives," Mark H. Massé set out to identify people who had continued their social activism in the context of a religious commitment to work in aid of the poor and the disenfranchised. The profiled activists include clergy, lay workers, and others, representing a mix of faiths, social issues, and geographic regions. They include a Jesuit priest working in a poor neighborhood in Portland, a Muslim "messenger of good news" to an Islamic community in Texas, an Irish American nun working with migrants and others in central Florida, a black Episcopalian minister on Chicago’s Southside, and a "Dharma activist" in California. What sets these and other activists apart is the depth and breadth of their service, vision, and sacrifice. Many risk their reputations and careers, their health, even their lives in pursuit of social change. Massé discovers that these individuals share an unbending belief in the power, potential, and rewards of service to others, as they try to balance their secular and spiritual lives in the face of challenging work.

Author Bio

Mark H. Massé is Associate Professor of Journalism at Ball State University. As a freelance writer for more than twenty-five years, he has authored articles, essays, and stories in international, national, and regional publications.


“Profiles of social activists of the1960s who continued their activism in the context of a religious commitment to help the poor and the disenfranchised. Massé explores a social movement and an era in American life, examining how these individuals try to balance their secular and spiritual lives in the face of challenging work. —— 10 word description for Foreword: Profiles '60s activists now working for social justice as clergy.”

“Masse's strengths as a journalist will make this book valuable to those who want information about movers and shakers who embody the better angels of our nature. The lives of those he profiles challenge modern—day cynicism that individuals are powerless against the daunting web of complex problems and injustices within our communities”
 — Net

“. . . Masse's effort is an inspiring work on faith-driven activism.”
 — Religious Studies Review

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Table of Contents

1. Father Gary Smith: "Angel of the Streets"
2. Reverend Israel Suarez: "Fighting the Good Fight"
3. Sister Ann Kendrick: "La Monjita of the Fields"
4. Reverend Richard L. Tolliver: "You Can Do It, Richard"
5. Doug and Judy Hall: "Boston's Servant Leaders"
6. Father Roy Bourgeois: "The Courage of Convictions"
7. Marion Malcolm: "Justice for All Seasons"
8. Mary Nelson: "Rebuilding with Hope"
9. Reverend Skip Long: "Whatever It Takes"
10. Rabbi Steve Foster: "Never in Doubt"
11. Dr. M. Basheer Ahmed: "Messenger of Good News"
12. Mark Gonnerman: "Dharma Activist"