A weekly podcast at the intersection of faith, culture and public life.
People of faith, like the communities we inhabit and represent, are not easily defined. Most of us don’t fit the labels of convenience offered in conversation, cable newscasts and even sermons.
And while our perspective may get lost in the constant noise of political campaigns and social media, we remain steadfast in our desire to be a part of the dialogue.
What most of us have in common is a desire to live out our faith in a manner that represents what we believe, taking those beliefs and putting them into action to bring about change. Without exception, people of all faiths are called to engage in the public square and to work for the common good.
In the Square covers these ongoing movements weekly; with guest interviews, First Person reflections, Field Report segments reporting on efforts on the ground creating community and influencing public life and regular commentary connecting it all to an ongoing call to justice and peace.
The Public Square
Throughout our shared history in the United States, the public square has been an important destination. Whether a specific place in the center of a city or a hypothetical realm, it has been a place where communities of people have come to worship, engage in conversation, discover great literature and art, break bread together and do business. It is in the public square where protest movements have started, marching toward progress and organizing for change.
In the Square attempts to be representative of that space, where community is built, lives are nourished and faith is grounded.
Eric Fought has been interviewing people nearly all his life. As a child, he asked his parents for a Fisher-Price tape recorder for his birthday, and upon opening it, began asking questions. His curiosity continues, as he engages In Conversation with authors, faith leaders, creators, public servants and innovators.
An award winning broadcast journalist, Fought has interviewed vice presidents, television personalities, authors, reporters, bishops and governors among others over a career that has spanned more than two decades.
On In the Square, Fought has entered into conversation with Sr. Simone Campbell, Matthew Vines, Bishop Gene Robinson, Sr. Joan Chittister, Diana Butler Bass, Fr. James Martin, journalist Michael O’Loughlin, biblical scholar Peter Enns and many others. Each interview is different, focused on the work and lives of the guest, and offering fresh perspectives on enduring questions.
Each day, people of all faiths (and no faith at all) are engaging with each other on the ground, creating community and working for real change. The Field Report segment is designed as a news package focused on covering those projects and initiatives, highlighting the people and organizations making it happen and engaging in the work. A specific focus of this Field Report segment is to tell the story of movements that create community and change, especially those engaging Millennials, people of color and LGBTQ individuals.
Storytelling and personal narrative have always been an important element of each of the world’s faith traditions. Sacred texts tell the story, not only of a group of a people, but of the experiences of individuals relating to each other in the midst of community and how those individuals and communities interact with God.
Podcasting and other digital platforms have raised the voices of diverse individuals with varying life experiences. These initiatives have engaged audiences in new ways and have encouraged an intentional practice of storytelling.
The First Person project is designed to tap into this energy and work while intentionally connecting first person narratives with sacred texts and spiritual themes. Those themes include generosity, love, forgiveness, sense of vocation/call, community, discipleship, conversion, and authenticity, among others.
Preaching in the context of a congregation is an important element of the practice of faith. However, often congregational preaching by design limits a diversity of perspectives. The First Person project focuses on raising voices and perspectives that aren’t often heard, particularly personal narratives from women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals and young adults.
The call to offer prophetic witness is not limited to ordained preachers and many pulpits do not welcome preaching that focuses on social justice themes or narratives that are shaped by authentic personal experience. Through the project, we hope to offer a place where such narratives can be raised, and where a wide-array of compelling voices can be heard.
The show is hosted by Eric Fought, a lifelong advocate for change and justice.
An award-winning broadcast journalist, former Democratic party operative and former Franciscan friar, Eric has a unique and engaging perspective on faith and current events happening in the public square.
A nationally recognized political and communications strategist, he has over 20 years of experience working in electoral politics, issue advocacy, nonprofit management and public affairs. In 2006, he joined the staff of the Democratic National Committee, part of the 50 State Strategy of former DNC chair Governor Howard Dean. In his role with the DNC, Fought assisted state Democratic parties with their communications strategy and served as communications director of both the Minnesota and Nebraska state parties. He has also served as campaign manager of a targeted statewide U.S. Senate campaign, and as advisor to members of Congress throughout the country.
In 2012, Fought served as communications director for Our Vote Our Future, the official statewide campaign to defeat the Voter ID amendment in Minnesota. He also recently served as communications director of Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, a coalition of labor, community and faith-based organizations working to bring about racial and economic justice in the state.
He attended the University of Minnesota, where his undergraduate major was in Religious Studies, with the specific interest areas of pluralism, American Indian spiritual practice and the intersection between faith and politics.
Fought currently is a Master of Divinity candidate at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota.
Because of his unique professional background and extensive theological education, Fought is a regular commentator on issues related to the convergence of politics and faith in American culture and travels extensively as a retreat facilitator, workshop presenter and keynote speaker.