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Obama Receives Religious Devotionals by Blackberry

President Obama doesn't need to step foot in a church to find spiritual inspiration -- it comes directly to his BlackBerry

Every day, the president receives "devotionals," or passages meant to bring one closer to God, from Joshua DuBois, the head of his Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

"Whether it's a passage of scripture or a piece out of a book that I think he might be interested in or a prayer, it's something to start his day off on the right note," DuBois told Fox News.

When he took office, Obama fought vehemently with his security staff to keep that BlackBerry, a highly-secure version of the standard store-bought phone and messaging device that has now become something of a spiritual lifeline.

In the past year, the president and his advisers have faced occasional but persistent questions about one of the most visible expressions of one's faith: picking a church. The Obamas have yet to pick one after separating from their longtime church in Chicago in 2008. At the time, Obama publicly split from the church's now retired pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, following a controversy over videos capturing Wright's incendiary sermons that nearly derailed Obama's presidential campaign. 

The search for a new church was never officially disbanded, but the first family rarely attends local services. His advisors say the president frequently attends private services at the chapel at the presidential retreat Camp David, but he has only been to public services in Washington a handful of times.

That's not to say the president doesn't pray; he says he does so every day.

"I think obviously he shares the strong belief that there's a very personal nature to one's spirituality," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters last June. "And for it to be -- for his presence to be disruptive [at a public church], I think he believes that takes away from the experience that others might get and he certainly doesn't want to do that."

So what's less disruptive than getting a personal e-mail?

Obama is Christian, thought the passages he receives from DuBois comes from many sources. It's just one way of staying connected to his spirituality, advisers said.

Former President George W. Bush never officially joined a church while in office, though he frequently attended services at St. John's Church, an Episcopal church located across the street from the White House. Obama has attended there, as well.

Obama's spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jim Wallis, can't understand with the "preoccupation" with if and when the Obamas will decide on a formal place in which to worship.

"(It's) really a kind of a side-light and a distraction. I'm more concerned about someone's daily practice of faith than where they go to church," he told Fox News.

"And so Barack Obama has a daily practice of faith that shapes his personal life, his family and of course his public responsibility," he said. "So I'm grateful to see that."

Obama has not been shy in talking about that faith in public, either. 

"While prayer can buck us up when we are down, keep us calm in a storm; while prayer can stiffen our spines to surmount an obstacle -- and I assure you I'm praying a lot these days," he said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast meeting Thursday, drawing laughter. 

"Prayer can also do something else," he said. "It can touch our hearts with humility. It can fill us with a spirit of brotherhood. It can remind us that each of us are children of a awesome and loving God."

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