How does an “Authentic Self” vote?

The past few Sundays I’ve been teaching a Sunday School Class at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church here in Waco on the topic of “Monday through Saturday Spirituality.”  Key concepts I’ve worked from:

  1. God created us to be peaceful “Authentic” Selves that participate God’s redemption of a broken world by living lives of sacrificial love.
  2. Anxiety often drives us to a “small” self existence, where life becomes a self-protective game.
  3. It takes courage and discipline to overcome small self anxiety and actually live out our Authentic Self commitments.

So far we’ve looked at marriage and parenting as two arenas in which we are called upon to exercise our Authentic Self muscles, but are constantly bombarded with small self anxieties.

This Sunday (Oct 5, 2008) I will be discussing how the tension between AS and ss gets played out in our politics.  The fundamental question I’ll be asking is: How, if at all, should one’s Christian faith impact how he or she votes? To this end, I’m asking the participants in the class to read this article: Voting and Christian Citizenship by Byron Barlowe.

I’m curious to know how you respond to the question, and the points of view expressed in the article.  (And I wish it had dawned on me to offer the previous lessons here as well.  The good people of St. A’s and I would have benefited from your thoughts!)

Let me predict something from the outset.  This author comes from an “evangelical” point of view that many a small self will be tempted to dismiss (small self is always more interested in evaluating than listening).  So, I simply want to encourage everyone who looks at this article to listen from an Authentic Self stance which asks, “How does this guy challenge me to take seriously what it means to be a Christian who gets to vote?”

I’ll appreciate your comments…


About Wes Eades

I've been a pastoral counselor, marital therapist, and overall listening ear since about 1989 or so.
This entry was posted in Spiritual Formation, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How does an “Authentic Self” vote?

  1. Chris Millette says:

    Religion and politics have no place together. Separation of church and state was meant to keep law neutral to ones faith, and therefore equal to all Americans, regardless of faith.

  2. Patrick Adair says:

    I realize I’m a little late to this party, but I think the two most relevant quotes from the article to your question are:

    “Many issues are disputable matters, as the Apostle Paul put it. Avoid the temptation to unreflectively limit your view to a few pet issues.”


    “Voters should be free of regionalism and other types of ‘group-think’…. Vocations, unions, ethnic groups and age groups that vote in lockstep are not behaving as free people. Citizens whose consciences are ruled by others should not govern a free nation… Voters should value their vote, but not sell it.”

    I think it is pretty clear that our current political system, and both political parties rely very heavily on grouping people according to pet issues, and seeking to influence them accordingly. In your terms, political-speak and advertising counts on us voting in small self terms.

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