David Kuo, the former deputy director of President Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, has released a new book, "Tempting Faith."
The book expresses frustration with the White House's alleged lack of enthusiasm for the program.
The Bush administration has denied accusations contained in the book that evangelical Christians were courted for votes but referred to dismissively behind closed doors.
The following excerpt details the effect Christianity had on Kuo's early life as he developed a love for politics.
Chapter One: God, Politics, and Fishing
I've never known life without God, politics, or fishing. Eventually I would fuse them all.
First came fishing. A mile down the road from our house just north of New York City was a little lake. Hot, humid summer days were spent on a bridge with my father, emaciated earthworms, and an old saltwater reel and pole. Those days were always fishless -- but full. A son loves fishing with his father.
Over time I ventured there alone, discovering holes under a fence that opened up a world that felt like home. To the objective eye it wasn't much: several hundred yards of rocky shoreline, tall weeds, and scrawny trees. For me, though, there was comfort behind the fence and in front of the water. The fence kept out the world and the water held fathomless possibilities.
Fishing was a repeated act of trust. I trusted that there were fish where I was throwing lures and I trusted that I would have the sense to tug at the right time when a fish took the offering. I trusted that the thing at the end of the line was a prized largemouth bass and not some stinky carp or catfish. My trust was rewarded often enough that I believed this cycle would never end. That, I suppose, is similar to faith, and may explain why Jesus loved fishermen so much.
Growing up, I knew Jesus was the Son of God. I just wasn't quite sure what that meant. A picture of him, blond and doe-eyed with long robes and holding a little lamb, hung in my parents' bedroom. I remember lying on their bed one afternoon when I was little, looking up at him. He seemed sweet. He was pretty. That's all I thought about him for the longest time. My mother, a liberal Baptist, talked about him some, but mostly she sang about him. She sang about him when preparing dinner or washing dishes or doing most anything else. She had a high, beautiful voice. The verses got lost in the singing but not the choruses. I still occasionally find myself doing dishes and humming "How great thou art."
My mother's voice was also slightly haunting and sad. She had good reasons -- the Great Depression, World War II, her father's early death. If I had gone through all of that, I might have ditched God altogether. But my mother chose God, again and again. And though there was great sadness to her faith, there was a great richness, too. She knew what suffering was like and knew God was refuge, fortress, sustainer, and comforter.