Political Discourse from the Perspective of Faith
The Calvin Alumni Association and the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship began to supply funding, as of fall 2011, to gather a group of Calvin faculty and alumni to discuss political discourse from the perspective of faith.
The group met on three occasions in October, February and May to discuss shared readings on the topic and work toward providing some resources to the Calvin community, and to larger communities, that resulted from the benefits of our work.
What we read
- Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Unchristian World by Richard Mouw
- Republic.com 2.0 by Cass Sunstein
- 12 Steps to a More Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
- A Public Faith by Miroslav Volf
- When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation by James Fishkin
- Revolution 2.0 by Wael Ghonim
In addition to these books, we read a few articles and brought insights from our different experiences as Christians and professionals in a variety of fields. Our discussions led to several resources available now.
- "10 Commandments" for civil political engagement
- Speak your mind without losing friends
- Tips for "friending" an elected official
- Video reflections
- Written resources for adult education
These documents offer different presentations of what we consider important concepts, takeaways and applications of the ideas we read and discussions we had about them. Our discussions also led to a proposal that Calvin and some other institutions could collaborate to administer a deliberative poll on the topic of Kent County government unification. The details of that project are available in another document.
It is our hope that some or all of these resources might be useful in other contacts, [such as magazine or Web publications] or use in churches or other Christian communities. We encourage other groups of Christians who believe political engagement matters to have similar discussions about how we might promote unity in Christ and still disagree about political questions.