Deeper Love: Faithful Rhetoric for Progressive Social Change

Deeper Love

Click Here to Listen to the Deeper Love hymn – the “theme song” for the book

Deeper Love is a short, practical guide to the use of religious and spiritual language in progressive social activism. It began as a web resource at, offering faith-rooted language for progressive political and social action. It provides activists, lay and clergy people, politicians, campaigners, and organizers with inspiring rhetoric to advance progressive social change, and insight about how to use it. PCU board member, Rev. Jim Burklo, organized the project, with inspiration from our former executive director, Rev. Peter Laarman, and much editorial help from our current executive director, Rev. Dr. Timothy Murphy, and our former associate director, Sean Patrick Coady. Its premise: We can and we must craft a fresh political rhetoric that flows from our shared spiritual experience of compassion, giving life and purpose to our democracy.

The book begins with an historical analysis of the problems and prospects of faith rhetoric in public life in the United States. It explains the origin of the “civil religion” underpinning political discourse in America, and how it was eclipsed by the fundamentalist language of the ascendant political right-wing. It is a rousing call to reform and revive the “civil religion” with fresh language that unites rather than divides, inspires rather than condemns.

It then offers a short set of principles for the use of faith language in politics, with examples from American historical figures. This is followed by rhetoric on issues from climate change to reproductive rights, broken down into “seeds” – pithy, short statements, “leaves” – somewhat longer statements, and “roots” – in-depth, faith-centered background pieces.

Deeper Love includes rituals that bring a sense of the sacred to civic engagement: ceremonies for the blessing of taxes and prayers for their wise use, and a ritual for blessing voters.

The book ends with a useful appendix including biblical references, a list of statements that aren’t in the Bible but are often invoked as if they were, and lists of “code terms” that appeal to specific faith-focused audiences.
Website: JIMBURKLO.COM Weblog: MUSINGS Follow me on twitter: @jtburklo
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Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California

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