By almost any measure, this has been an incredibly gratifying, if not extraordinary, year for Mark Silk, director of the Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity and professor of religion.

It was only about a few months ago that Silk, who has been at the College since 1996, was dubbed “one of the smartest commentators on American politics and religion [that] you’ve probably never heard of,” by a reporter with The Washington Post. She went on to say, “His wry and careful handling of flammable subjects is always admirable. But a recent blog post, which brought together three culture-wars figureheads…in a virtual sparring match was so ingenious that it merits a column of its own.”

And so, Lisa Miller devoted a column to the so-called sparring match. Silk’s blog, which he has been writing since 2007, is so widely respected that earlier this year he was invited to permanently locate the blog, Spiritual Politics, on the Web site of the Religion News Service (RNS), which claims to be the largest single source of news about religion, spirituality and ideas.

All of the attendant publicity that Silk has received resulted in his being one of 90 scholars invited to the annual White House Religion Scholars Briefing in May, which was off-limits to the news media. However, among the issues discussed were economic policy and the federal budget, domestic policy priorities and global peace building, and human-rights efforts, as well as an update from the staff of the Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Read more here.