Though he worked in a White House often characterized by seniority and confidentiality, Joshua DuBois, President Barack Obama’s former advisor on faith-related topics, provided a contrast.

DuBois spoke a before a packed auditorium at the Ford School of Public Policy with an air of sincerity and venerable confidence.

In 2008, DuBois was 26 years old and working for the Obama campaign as a commonplace legislative correspondent when he sent the president an inspirational e-mail with a spiritual quote from Psalms and a poem from Wendell Berry.

“I wondered who was thinking about his soul,” DuBois said. “You know, who was helping him cultivate that aspect of himself separate from his formal work running for president.”

Obama enjoyed the devotional so much that he asked DuBois to send one every day. He later chose DuBois to head the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009, making the 27 year old the youngest head of a White House office in history.

Fast-forward six years and more than 1,000 emails, DuBois has authored The President’s Devotional, a collection of his favorite 365 e-mails interspersed with lessons he learned while at the White House.

During a question-and-answer session, DuBois explained how careful he was not to politicize the meditations based on any national or international circumstance. Instead, he presented quotations he hoped would connect Obama to personal prayer, allow him to see compassion for enemies abroad and in Washington, and lighten the seriousness of his post.

Recently, DuBois left his post at the White House with the support of the president to write and promote his book. He also founded a consulting firm, Values Partnerships, which assists private and nonprofit partners in the religious community in solving problems.

Regardless of their standing in society, DuBois encouraged audience members to make their presence known.

“Just be bold; that’s the main thing,” DuBois said. “There’s no minimum age requirement for boldness.”

Deva Madhava Das, a spiritual leader of the Bhakti Yoga Society, said after the event he enjoyed DuBois’ perspectives on divine topics.

“I’m appreciative of it because in my spiritual practice I’m very immersed, so I don’t get out-and-about in terms of ideas as often as I used to,” Madhava Das said. “So, it’s refreshing to hear the perspective of faith and God’s relationship in people’s lives who aren’t immersed daily in cultivating their relationship.”

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