Dr. John Farina is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at George Mason University where he has also previously worked as a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center. He specializes in the areas of Religion and Society, Law and Religion, and American Religious History. Dr. Farina holds degrees from Yale University (M.Div.), Columbia University (Ph.D.) and New York University School of Law (J.D.). He is currently working on The Intelligible Sphere: Religion in the Twenty-first Century, a book on religion and civil society.

” Here is a man, Fethullah Gülen, who had these deeply spiritual experiences, thinks about himself as a spiritual leader, primarily, but has developed this whole social network to go out and meet needs. Needs of children, in terms of education, in terms of health care, and other things. And to me, that is what is so fascinating. How do you get from belief to action?”

“… we all know how hard it is to get anything done and how hard it is especially to get other people to go along with us. And I tried to get this little, start a little program in Washington here, of offering some mentoring to some underprivileged students in high school. I got three people. Three people, to express interest. That’s it. So now, what does it take in me to persist, you know, and this is why I so admire somebody like Gülen who has built so much. I mean, obviously, the temptation is to just say, “forget it. These people aren’t interested, they’re not going to cooperate, maybe it’s a bad idea.” You know, we all have so many reasons to just be discouraged and give up. But what does it take to actually persist, and build something as significant as the Hizmet network? It takes extraordinary patience and commitment.”