It's common to hear conservative Christians, perhaps especially those in Washington, D.C., explain that politics is downstream from culture. But Mark Rodgers is one of the rare few who decided to move upstream.

Even when he was staff director of the Senate Republican Conference, a position he held after serving as chief of staff to Sen. Rick Santorum, Rodgers was fond of quoting Damon of Athens: "Give me the songs of a nation, and it does not matter who writes its laws." While it may seem an odd sentiment from one of Capitol Hill's top staffers, it didn't mean that Rodgers didn't see meaning in his work. But reading books by the likes of sociologist James Davison Hunter, John Stott, and Francis Schaeffer made him and others in the group eager to "make a difference"—which meant developing better ties with the entertainment industry.

"As we expanded our outreach to artists, we kept hearing, 'I have a great idea for a project, but I need capital,' " Rodgers said.

When the Democrats won control of Congress in 2006 and his boss lost his reelection bid, Rodgers found his boat upstream. He's still in the Washington area, but now he's director of the Wedgwood Circle, an angel investment network.

"Angel investing" was originally an entertainment term used to describe the investors in Broadway's unpredictable shows. Today, nearly all of the 300 or so angel investing groups focus on new technologies like software and biotech. They occupy the spaces between creators' seed funds from friends and family and venture capital firms, facilitating deals between entrepreneurial investors and investment opportunities. In the case of Wedgwood Circle, potential members must have a net worth of $1 million and pay an annual fee of $6,500. Since ...

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