Rob Marus is associate vice president for communications at the Association of American Universities in Washington, D.C. He serves on the Good Faith Media governing board and is an active member of The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington.

  1. What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?

Micah 6:8 in the New Revised Standard Version reads: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

After having grown up in a church and a youth group that often emphasized the purely spiritual aspects of salvation — assurance of a heavenly home and escape from eternal torment — I began to study this passage in a new context in college.

Seeing that God cared about justice and referred to it repeatedly in both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian scriptures made me understand the truth of one of my grandfather’s favorite phrases to use about the overly pious: “He’s so heavenly-minded that he’s no earthly good.”

I try to examine everything I do and support in the realm of public policy in light of this passage and the broader witness of the Gospels and the prophets.

  1. Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?

There are too many examples to name, but they almost always have boiled down to teachers and preachers.

Teachers like my 11th grade AP American history teacher, Sarah Gadberry, who insisted on teaching a classful of largely white, largely privileged Southern kids about the true horrors of slavery, Jim Crow and the Holocaust.

Teacher/preachers like Stephen Haynes, who taught me undergraduate courses in religion and racism and made very clear to me how thin the line is between Christian devotion and dangerous fanaticism.

And preachers like the Martin Luther King, Jr., who so eloquently called Americans in general – and white Christians, in particular – to live up to the best of the principles contained in our sacred texts.

  1. List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.

Book: William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses

Movie: Any of the Jim Henson Muppet movies

TV show: “Schitt’s Creek”

  1. What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?

The lack of any agreed-upon sources of truth and reality – driven, in large part, by the decline of the institutions that bring us together to coexist with, and even cooperate with, each other across deep differences – is tearing society apart. This has become painfully obvious in the United States in the last four-plus years.

  1. What are a few of your hobbies?

I love food and wine, and particularly enjoy cooking and entertaining.

I love to travel and not only enjoy new places but also connect with friends from various parts of my life who are now scattered across the nation and the globe.

And I love to sing and have sung in choirs my entire life. That’s made 2020 a particularly difficult year (but at least it’s given me more time to cook, if only mostly for myself).

  1. If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?

I don’t really know if I could narrow it down, but those 10 seconds would almost certainly be around a dinner table with good friends, good food and good wine, laughing uproariously at something someone said.

  1. Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?

That God isn’t done with me – or with us – yet. Just when I think I have things all figured out, God always finds a way to surprise me. God’s like that.

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